ERIC Number: ED441736
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Feb-16
Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century.
Neal, Anne D.; Martin, Jerry L.; Moses, Mashad
The importance of a shared memory appears to have lost its foothold in higher education. As the nation moves forward into the 21st century, future leaders are graduating with an alarming ignorance of their heritage--a kind of collective amnesia--and a profound historical illiteracy that bodes ill for the future of the republic. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) commissioned the Roper Center to survey college seniors from the nation's best colleges and universities (according to "U.S. News and World Report's" annual rankings). Questions were drawn from a basic high school curriculum. Four out of five or 81% of seniors from the top colleges/universities received a grade of D or F. To find out what the nation's top colleges/universities demand of students in U.S. history, ACTA conducted a study of graduation requirements at the same 55 colleges/universities already surveyed. Results showed that students can graduate from 100% of the top schools without taking a single course in U.S. history. What happens in higher education relates directly to what happens in K-12. Immediate steps must be taken to ensure that the memory of the nation and its remarkable past is passed on to the next generation. Actions to improve the current situation can be taken by colleges and universities, students and their families, alumni and donors, state and federal governments, and accrediting agencies. Survey data, containing 4 tables and 34 questions, as well as the list of colleges and universities, are appended. (BT)
Descriptors: College Seniors, Cultural Literacy, Higher Education, Knowledge Level, Student Surveys, United States History
American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 1726 M Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-467-6787; Tel: 888-258-6648 (Toll Free); Web site: http://www.goacta.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Washington, DC.
Note: With support from the W. H. Brady Foundation, the William and Karen Tell Foundation, Robert and Marilyn Kurtz, David Blank, and the Malcolm Fraser Foundation.