College and university graduations in the United States are arriving earlier and earlier each year as the average length of school year gets shorter.
The school year has fallen by nearly six weeks, from 191 days in 1964 to 156 days in 1994,according to the National Associations of Scholars. By comparison, most American kindergarten, elementary(初等的)and high school students are required to the spend 180 days a year in their schools. The length of the average class period also has fallen, from more than 57 minutes to less than 54,the Association reports.
“The conclusion has to be that students are simply learning less, “said the director of the Association.” If you count the actual number of contact hours, you’ll find they are spending four years in college getting an education that would have taken about three years in 1964.”
The universities argue that they are simply teaching more effciently. “The traditional idea that learning took place in the classroom and through reading and writing assignments based on seat time is out of date, “said a spokesman for American Council on Education. Rather than attending lectures, students now chat with their professors on their computers or use other types of information technology, allowing for a shorter school year, he said. “It is very likely that, in many schools, they are going to spend less time in the classroom than they used to .”
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