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University students actually learn very little: study

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That's one expensive party. It looks like university students are sleeping at their desks, at least for the first two years of higher education, according to new American research - because they certainly aren't learning much, the study reported in USA today found.

Researchers analyzed transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time students on 29 campuses, and standardized tests that graded their critical thinking and writing skills.

Here were the main findings, based on a book called Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses: nearly half the students showed no big gains in learning - even after four years, one-third showed no more than marginal progress. They also spent 50 per cent less cracking the books compared to their peers decades ago.

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But it didn't necessarily show up in their marks - overall they did pretty well.

But as lead author, Richard Arum, a professor at New York University observed to USA Today: "These are really kind of shocking, disturbing numbers."

Especially, we're betting, to the parents forking over thousands for tuition.

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Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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