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Yet federal efforts over the last several years have focused much more on increasing the number of Americans who go to college than on improving the education they receive once they get there. By concentrating so heavily on graduation rates and attainment levels, policy makers are ignoring danger signs that the amount that students learn in college may have declined over the past few decades and could well continue to do so in the years to come.
The reasons for concern include: College students today seem to be spending much less time on their course work than their predecessors did 50 years ago, and evidence of their abilities suggests that they are probably learning less than students once did and quite possibly less than their counterparts in many other advanced industrial countries.
Employers complain that many graduates they hire Justification for higher education essay deficient in basic skills such as writing, problem solving and critical thinking that college leaders and their faculties consistently rank among the most important goals of an undergraduate education.
Most of the millions of additional students needed to increase educational attainment levels will come to campus poorly prepared for college work, creating a danger that higher graduation rates will be achievable only by lowering academic standards. More than two-thirds of college instructors today are not on the tenure track but are lecturers serving on year-to-year contracts.
Many of them are hired without undergoing the vetting commonly used in appointing tenure-track professors. Studies indicate that extensive use of such instructors may contribute to higher dropout rates and to Justification for higher education essay inflation.
States have made substantial cuts in support per student over the past 30 years for public colleges and community colleges. Research suggests that failing to increase appropriations to keep pace with enrollment growth tends to reduce learning and even lower graduation rates.
While some college leaders are making serious efforts to improve the quality of teaching, many others seem content with their existing programs. Although they recognize the existence of problems affecting higher education as a whole, such as grade inflation or a decline in the rigor of academic standards, few seem to believe that these difficulties exist on their own campus, or they tend to attribute most of the difficulty to the poor preparation of students before they enroll.
Some Immediate Improvements Many colleges provide a formidable array of courses, majors and extracurricular opportunities, but firsthand accounts indicate that many undergraduates do not feel that the material conveyed in their readings and lectures has much relevance to their lives.
Such sentiments suggest either that the courses do not in fact contribute much to the ultimate goals that colleges claim to value or that instructors are not taking sufficient care to explain the larger aims of their courses and why they should matter.
Other studies suggest that many instructors do not teach their courses in ways best calculated to achieve the ends that faculties themselves consider important. For example, one investigator studied samples of the examinations given at elite liberal arts colleges and research universities.
Now that most faculties have defined the learning objectives of their college and its various departments and programs, it should be possible to review recent examinations to determine whether individual professors, programs and departments are actually designing their courses to achieve those goals.
College administrators could also modify their student evaluation forms to ask students whether they believe the stated goals were emphasized in the courses they took. In addition, the average time students devote to studying varies widely among different colleges, and many campuses could require more of their students.
Those lacking evidence about the study habits of their undergraduates could inform themselves through confidential surveys that faculties could review and consider steps to encourage greater student effort and improve learning.
The vast difference between how well seniors think they can perform and their actual proficiencies according to tests of basic skills and employer evaluations suggests that many colleges are failing to give students an adequate account of their progress.
Grade inflation may also contribute to excessive confidence, suggesting a need to work to restore appropriate standards, although that alone is unlikely to solve the problem.
More Substantial Reforms More fundamental changes will take longer to achieve but could eventually yield even greater gains in the quality of undergraduate education. Colleges and universities need to reconfigure graduate programs to better prepare aspiring professors for teaching. As late as two or three generations ago, majorities of new Ph.
Today, however, many Ph.
Aspiring college instructors also need to know much more now in order to teach effectively. A large and increasing body of useful knowledge has accumulated about learning and pedagogy, as well as the design and effectiveness of alternative methods of instruction.
Meanwhile, the advent of new technologies has given rise to methods of teaching that require special training. As evidence accumulates about promising ways of engaging students actively, identifying difficulties they are having in learning the material and adjusting teaching methods accordingly, the current gaps in the preparation most graduate students receive become more and more of a handicap.
Universities have already begun to prepare graduate students to teach by giving them opportunities to assist professors in large lecture courses and by creating centers where they can get help to become better instructors.
More departments are starting to provide or even require a limited amount of instruction in how to teach. Nevertheless, simply allowing grad students to serve as largely unsupervised teaching assistants, or creating centers where they can receive a brief orientation or a few voluntary sessions on teaching, will not adequately equip them for a career in the classroom.
A more substantial preparation is required and will become ever more necessary as the body of relevant knowledge continues to grow. With all the talk in graduate school circles about preparing doctoral students for jobs outside academe, one has to wonder why departments spend time readying Ph.
Many departments may fail to provide such instruction because they lack faculty with necessary knowledge, but provosts and deans could enlist competent teachers for such instruction from elsewhere in the university, although they may hesitate to do so, given than graduate education has always been the exclusive domain of the departments.
Enterprising donors might consider giving grants to graduate schools or departments willing to make the necessary reforms. If even a few leading universities responded to such an invitation, others would probably follow suit.More fundamental changes will take longer to achieve but could eventually yield even greater gains in the quality of undergraduate education.
They include: Improving graduate education. Colleges and universities need to reconfigure graduate programs to better prepare aspiring professors for teaching. Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student.
This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. The statement Of The Problem And Justification Of The Study (Significance) Clifford, V.
A. The Development of Autonomous Learners in a University Setting. Higher Education Research and Development. Chris Harrison Writing 39 B, Assignment 15 February Justification For Higher Education After analyzing William A. Henry III s In Defense of Elitism and Caroline Bird s College is a Waste of Time and Money, it is clear that Henry s argument concerning the purpose of an education is more rational than Bird s due to the fact that Henry.
In addition to the high financial value of higher education, higher education also makes individuals much more intelligent than what they would be with just a high school education. Justification For Higher Education After analyzing William A.
Henry III s In Defense of Elitism and Caroline Bird s College is a Waste of Time and Money, it is clear that Henry s argument concerning the purpose of an education is more rational than Bird s due to the fact that Henry supports his claims with credible statistics, logical insight, and uses current real world scenarios.
A strong justification narrative begins with a brief statement of your claim, which will be the focus of your piece. Your claim should state what change you think should be enacted, what budget requests you have, or what policy you would like to implement.