ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.

What Will They Learn? 2017-18

A Survey of Core Requirements at Our Nation's Colleges and Universities

October 2017 by ACTA

The idealism of the information age has given way to serious concerns about the proliferation of misinformation, which travels faster than you can say “retweet.” Americans rely on their institutions of higher education to provide students with the knowledge they need to question prevailing orthodoxies and think critically about important issues facing the nation. Many colleges promise their students a liberal arts education that will prepare them for demands of living in a pluralistic society and set them up for life-long success. But do they fulfill that promise or leave educational quality up to chance? What Will They Learn? is the only college ratings guide that evaluates the quality of general education programs—the courses that every student must take in order to complete their degree. The findings are sobering: Of over 1,100 colleges and universities surveyed, over half have significant gaps in their curricula, leaving students at a disadvantage come graduation. Lackluster educational quality contributes to widespread doubt about the value of a college degree, especially as tuition climbs and graduates struggle to make payments on their student loans. What Will They Learn? 2017-18 and its interactive companion website WhatWillTheyLearn.com, can help orient students, parents, and trustees as they consider what educational quality looks like in 21st century America. See if your college makes the grade!


Selected Findings

Executive Summary

It would be hard to imagine a time when ignorance could be more dangerous. Misinformation can travel across the nation in nanoseconds. Our only defense rests on our capacity to educate citizens to make discerning, thoughtful judgments. That ability comes from the practice of reading closely and analytically and parsing arguments, using the tools of logic and reason that for generations the study of the liberal arts has fostered. It is not accidental that the very term “liberal arts” derives from the recognition that they represent the education suited for a free people.

A great nation has an informed citizenry that is ready for the complex political choices that confront us. A great nation also needs a citizenry with the intellectual preparation to prevail in the relentless competition of global markets. And higher education needs a reset to meet both of these urgent needs. Continue Reading>>

Press

Does liberal arts education have an image problem?

Times Higher Education
October 19, 2017 by Ellie Bothwell |

"The level of academic integrity is superb. [It is] constantly challenging and forcing you to think outside of the box.”

“The professors really care about teaching me to think critically.”

“It...

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Are American institutions advancing the core curriculum?

Education Dive
October 18, 2017 by Pat Donachie |

The overwhelming majority of American colleges and universities do not require students in their freshmen year to take general core classes prior to selecting a major, according to a new report from...

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Survey: Colleges Failing To Require Core Requirements

On Campus, WGBH
November 14, 2017 by Kirk Carapezza |

A new report released Tuesday criticizes New England colleges for being lax on core requirements like history and foreign languages.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni's latest survey calls...

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