The Association of American Colleges and Universities has issued a report concluding that the students most likely to benefit from several highly effective educational practices--those who are black, Hispanic, and "first generation"--are the least likely to be exposed to such practices while in college.
The report, discussed here in The Chronicle of Higher Education, notes that while 57 percent of white students have internships their employers view as highly desirable, only 46 percent of black and Hispanic students have comparable internship experiences. And while 36 percent of seniors whose parents had gone to college say they had to complete a capstone course or project integrating and applying what they have learned, just 29 percent of first-generation college students report having a capstone assignment. The lower a student's achievement levels when beginning college, the report says, the greater benefit he will get from the practices it describes.
Carol Geary Schneider, AACU's president, says the research contained in the new report shows that "we know what works, but we just aren't providing it to all students who could benefit."
Only 17 percent of all college freshmen take part in "learning communities," in which they take two or more linked courses together, even though involvement in such groups has been shown to improve retention, the report says. Just 19 percent of college seniors report having worked with a faculty member on a research project, even though students who have had such an experience report educational benefits such as a greater capacity for deep, integrative learning.The author of the report is George D. Kuh, director of Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research.