Coinciding with the recent release of “America’s Best Colleges” from US NEWS & WORLD REPORT comes another ranking system, this one based on course requirements at 100 leading colleges and universities nationwide. Sponsored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, you can view assessments at www.WhatWillTheyLearn.com, where their home page reads: “A guide to what college rankings don’t tell you.” Anyone seeking a well-rounded way of viewing the admissions and selections process would do well to read this.
The web site assesses curriculum requirements coordinated to 21st Century Skills in these seven areas of competencies: Composition, Mathematics, Science, Economics, Foreign Language, Literature, and American Government or History. Whether this is an accurate barometer of the quality of education at various institutions one thing is for sure: To compete in today’s global world students must acquire and implement the requisite critical and creative thinking skills, which employers often bemoan today’s graduates lack.
High school principals need to ask: Where and how are these core competencies relayed, cross-referenced and reinforced? In what ways do students connect the learning in these areas to other key areas of their livesâ€”what they have experienced and what they can imagine experiencing? How interesting are teachers in the ways in which they engage students on these issues through learn-by-doing exercises, discussions and exploration?
LifeBoundâ€™s new book, Critical and Creative Thinking, features these competencies in ways that are reinforced in college, career and life. To order a review copy, go on line to www.lifebound.com.
Should American colleges and universities require students to take courses in certain core subjects considered important to a 21st-century education, such as science, economics, history, and foreign languages? It’s a question that has taken on added significance in light of a new web site that grades higher-education institutions according to whether they require these core courses in their general-education curricula.
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