- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2009

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) says students and parents are often shortchanged because college rankings fail to factor in a key question: What will students learn?

ACTA has released its own report, based on its own survey.

“Employers are increasingly dissatisfied with college graduates who lack the basic knowledge and skills expected of any educated person,” said ACTA President Anne D. Neal. “If our students are to compete successfully in the global marketplace, we simply can’t leave their learning up to chance. As it is, thousands are paying dearly for a thin and patchy education.”

These and other questions and answers can be found at WhatWillTheyLearn.com.

How do the 100 colleges and universities fare?

• Forty-two institutions receive a D or an F for requiring two or fewer subjects.

• Five institutions receive an A for requiring six subjects: Brooklyn College, Texas A&M, University of Texas at Austin, University of Arkansas and West Point. No institution requires all seven.

• Paying a lot doesn’t necessarily get you a lot: Average tuition at the 11 schools that require no core subjects is $37,700. At the five schools that got an A, it’s $5,400.

• “Flagship” state universities do a markedly better job with general education (average grade of C) than the top liberal arts colleges and national universities (with an F average) while charging lower tuition and fees.

Which important subjects are not being required?

• Just two out of 100 require economics: the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and West Point.

• Only 11 out of 100 require American government or history.

• Barely half - 53 out of 100 - require mathematics.

Source: American Council of Trustees and Alumni

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