Students these days study only about 14 hours a week, down from 24 in the early 1960s, according to a report released Thursday by the American Enterprise Institute. The report, “Leisure College, USA,” rejects the idea that technology has decreased the need for studying, and suggests that colleges are failing to assign enough work and to enforce requirements. “[T]his widespread deterioration of the standard for student effort demands attention and considered action from all who have a stake in the quality of higher education in the United States,” says the report. The data are not substantially different from those reported in the National Survey of Student Engagement.
Debra Humphreys, vice president for communications and public affairs at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said that many in higher education are in fact working on these issues, but that the changes that are needed go beyond just assigning more work. She noted that educators in her association have focused on “high impact practices” (such as undergraduate research and senior capstone courses) that “ask the students to participate in high-intensity, extended-effort assignments.” These kinds of experiences “force students to spend more time and more engaged time with their work.” But she added that “if we want to reverse the patterns of under achievement, these practices need to become common rather than rare,”