A University of Iowa professor says how much you learn in four years of college depends very little on how hard it was to get into the school. Professor Ernie Pascarella explains they were helping create a new achievement test, and measuring the improvement in a student from freshman to senior year. He found the freshman-senior differences at “selective” schools are no greater than at other colleges, showing a good education doesn’t depend on how hard it was to get admitted. While Ivy-League schools may not like that, Pascarella says their selective admissions policies ensure good students but not a superior education.He says people assume senior scores reflect how good a school is, but it may only mean they only let the best students attend. Pascarella says he attended big-name schools, yet agrees with the findings of the study.He says the world won’t end if you don’t get into an Ivy League school, and places like ISU and Iowa are good even if laws don’t let them exclude lots of applicants. Pascarella says the study of 20-thousand college kids also seems to show that for some reason men learn more than women do in their undergrad years.Might be explained by coursework, though in addition to math and science they also found the gap in social sciences and English, a surprising finding he gives little weight until it’s repeated. Pascarella’s team analyzed achievement-test scores from 57 four-year institutions to find the learning patterns.
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