This is misleading. No, graduate programs in the United States are not “free.” Someone has to pay the professors and staff after all. Sure, some programs that require research or teaching assistantships offer tuition reimbursement (at different rates), but not all programs have these benefits. Scholarships exist, tuition-reimbursement programs exist, but these programs are not thoroughly advertised or scholarships easily allotted, so a lot of people still dig themselves into massive debt obtaining advanced degrees (sometimes in obscure fields of study).carnap wrote: ↑Mon May 21, 2018 12:45 amIn the United States obtaining an advanced degree for non-trade specific fields (e.g., science, math, philosophy, art, etc) are not only free but you typically get paid. For example the typical ph.d program will offer a tuition fellowship that completely covers your tuition and then provide a $16,000~$25,000 stipend for living costs. Though you typically have to work as a student instructor or researcher for the stipend.
If you’re being offered a decent stipend or a high paying job, then there’s obvious utility in that program. What I mean is, there’s clearly an important skill some employer deems necessary for his employees to have. This doesn’t disprove anything I said about the importance of choosing studies that with useful skills that can be easily applied to real-world scenarios.
Given that rather somber article you cited, I assume you're motivation was not to improve your critical thinking skills
It goes without saying; if you can afford to attend a 4-year university program (or any program) solely “for the sake of learning” then that’s awesome. For most of us (Americans) however, there’s an amalgam of reasons; and acquiring the knowledge to enter highly-skilled professions is typically a STRONG motivation.
Is there any empirical data showing that completing at least 20 pages of writing and 40 pages of reading per semester improve complex reasoning skills? And why would this improve scores in specialized fields that employ little of either particular skill?carnap wrote: ↑Mon May 21, 2018 12:45 amIs there evidence that work yields better results? Yes....obviously there is. You learn skills by practicing them. If college studies aren't reading much or aren't writing much then one shouldn't expect them to be good at these activities. But you'd measure outcomes as well and they don't do well on outcomes.
Does the Collegiate Learning Assessment accurately test in more specialized fields of study? I imagine that art therapy students don’t enroll in too many math classes. Likewise, bio/perfusion majors spend little time writing 20 page synthesis essays. Sure, students who are enrolled in highly specialized programs (like art therapy) may have poorer writing or math skills, but it doesn't mean he's not learning anything useful in his program. Perhaps we should measure student learning at the department level?Study: College Students Not Learning Much wrote: -Students who studied alone, read and wrote more, attended more selective schools and majored in traditional arts and sciences majors posted greater learning gains.
The overall drop in scores is probably a result of students moving away from generalized liberal arts programs (they're a huge waste of money).