If your kids are college bound…

Here’s a site that you must check out.
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In a prior post, we questioned: “Are colleges watering down their curriculums?” … and reported on  a survey conducted by American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

The ACTA criteria and methodology  specifically  assesses whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

The results: Only 2% of the surveyed schools earned an A grade from ACTA.

For details, see “Have colleges watered down their curriculums?”

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The overall statistics are interesting (and disappointing), but what’s more meaningful is how specific schools are doing.

Here’s how to find out…

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The ACTA maintains a web site – aptly called “What will they learn?” – that provides access to the school-by-school data.

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It’s easy to navigate to a specific school; simply click the “Compare Schools” tab … then find your school of interest.

Here’s what I found for my beloved Georgetown University:

First, there is some general information.

No new news there.

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Then, the “meat” of the ACTA survey: whether or not the school requires student to take core courses (or AP out of them) in 7 specific areas of study: Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Science.

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Georgetown got credit for requiring proficiency in 3 subject areas (composition, foreign language … and 1/2 credit for math and science).

Based on the ACTA grading scheme, that earned Georgetown a “C” grade.

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In addition, the ACTA rates schools along 2 additional dimensions: freedom of speech and “intellectual diversity and dissent.”

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Specifically, with respect to freedom of speech, the ACTA posts the evaluation Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE):

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is dedicated to defending “individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.” These rights include “freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.”

A “Green Light” indicates that a school’s policies do not seriously imperil free speech. A “Yellow Light” indicates a school maintains policies that restrict a limited amount of protected expression or could too easily be used to restrict protected expression. Finally, a “Red Light” indicates that a school has at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.

FIRE gives Georgetown a “RED Light” rating on Freedom of Speech.
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Finally, the ACTA posts scores from the Heterodox Academy that rate schools on whether the do or do not welcome “welcome intellectual diversity and dissent.”

Heterodox Academy is a group of over 1,200 politically diverse professors and Ph.D. graduate students committed to “enhancing viewpoint diversity and the conditions that encourage free inquiry” in American higher education.

Scores in the “Guide to Colleges” range from 0 to 100. Schools with higher scores are more likely to welcome “intellectual diversity and dissent.”

Georgetown scores a 34 on the Heterodox Academy scale.

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I expected Georgetown to score higher, but those are the numbers.

Oh well.

My bigger point: “What will they learn?” may be a valuable supplementary information source for students (and their parents) in the college selection process.

More information beats less information every day of the week.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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One Response to “If your kids are college bound…”

  1. Teachers with conservative views don’t make the cut. | The Homa Files Says:

    […] See Have colleges watered down their curriculums? and If your kids are college bound… […]

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