Are we studying enough?

The American Enterprise Institute is an explicitly right-wing organization. They have a new report out claiming that we students study an average of 14 hours a week, which is 10 hours less than people in the 60’s. Their summary:

In 1961, the average full-time student at a four-year college in the United States studied about twenty-four hours per week, while his modern counterpart puts in only fourteen hours per week. Students now study less than half as much as universities claim to require. This dramatic decline in study time occurred for students from all demographic subgroups, for students who worked and those who did not, within every major, and at four-year colleges of every type, degree structure, and level of selectivity. Most of the decline predates the innovations in technology that are most relevant to education and thus was not driven by such changes. The most plausible explanation for these findings, we conclude, is that standards have fallen at postsecondary institutions in the United States.

So I’m not sure I agree with or trust the AEI on anything. What do you think of these allegations? I I don’t keep track of how much I study per week – is 14 hours correct? Also see Ezra Klein for more.


7 thoughts on “Are we studying enough?”

  1. Furthermore, there is something called the Flynn Effect, which states that IQ tests designed fifty years ago are incredibly easy for the students of today. The reason is that our world has become increasingly more complex over the last fifty years and it now takes more intelligence just to live and get by in the world. Perhaps, Alex N. actually has a point that we study less and that means we’re smarter than the students of the 1960s.

  2. what about the way we study. with the internet we can now more effectively find the information we need packaged in more entertaining ways than dust textbooks. We can now watch youtube videos or listen to streaming video

  3. At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, I would say it depends what the meaning of “study” is. Does this include attending lectures, reading, doing research, writing papers etc. or only some of the above? In order to make a true comparison more clarification is needed. Even if the comparison is equal, I would say that you guys are spending a great deal more than fourteen hours a week studying. And if it turns out to be 10 hours a week less than the students of the sixties, then that’s not really a surprise either. Students in that era were writing all their papers by hand or on a manual typewriter, and didn’t have access to the research tools, laptops with Internet access, spell checkers and all the other technology that serves to make you more efficient. I am very dubious about the AEI’s claims that “most of the decline predates” these innovations and that “standards have fallen at postsecondary institutions in the United States”.

  4. your assertion rests on your having achieved more with less study.
    based on your sense of humor alone, i’ll grant you that point.
    edit: my capctah has study in it…meta?

  5. I probably study that much in two days. I don’t know what everyone else is doing if they can’t study more than 14 hrs/week.

Comments are closed.