The Hollow Core

Failure of the General Education Curriculum
April 1, 2004 by ACTA Download PDF Press Release

Despite widespread lip service to the importance of a general education, a new survey by ACTA finds that a solid core curriculum in higher education has gone the way of the dodo. At a time when most colleges endorse the importance of a general education—a set of courses required of all students—in fact, colleges have virtually abandoned a solid core curriculum in favor of a loose set of distribution requirements. As a consequence, college students are graduating without the basic knowledge that was once considered the hallmark of a liberal education. ACTA’s report surveys 50 colleges and universities, including all of the Big Eight and Big Ten universities, the Ivy League, and the Seven Sisters Colleges, plus an additional grouping of 13 colleges to provide institutional and geographical breadth. Each school was given a grade from A to F, depending on the number of core subjects it required.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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