In a decade working in high schools, I’ve seen a consistent push to reduce writing, reading, and note-taking, expand late work windows, lighten workloads, dilute the weight of assessments, and, most fundamentally, to eliminate failures. The same can be seen at the university level. According to an article in the 2020 Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, the amount of time college students have spent on academic work has gone from 40 hours per week in 1960, to 27 in 2003, to just 15 hours in 2008. During that time, the average grade has risen in both public and private universities, while national SAT scores continue to decline. Today’s graduates are not smarter or more prepared for their future, but at least they think they are.
Read all of Shane Trotter's essay at Quillette.