Colleges Have Some 'Splainin' to Do: Students Can't Think Critically

Every year, men and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test to measure their ability to reason and think critically --- and recent results are discouraging.

According to the Wall Street Journal, at least one third of seniors at more than half the schools were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table.

"That's why we are cranking out robots. That's why the level of discourse has really [declined]. It's not social media. I mean, social media is a tool. It's like, we're not going to blame the gun. I'm not going to blame Twitter. It's the inability to have a rational argument," Mike Broomhead said, filling in for Glenn on radio Tuesday.

Unfortunately, this discouraging trend won't likely change until the focus of higher education becomes teaching students how to think instead of teaching them what to think.

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

MIKE: So this data that was collected from this test data from freshmen and seniors. Take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging. More than half of the schools, at least one-third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document, or interpret data in a table. This according to the Wall Street Journal stop imagine being given something to read and not being able to comprehend, and then base -- create an argument on the information you've been given. That's why we are cranking out robots. That's why the level of discourse has really -- it's not social media. I mean, social media is a tool. It's like, we're not going to blame the gun. I'm not going to blame at this time. It's the inability to have a rational argument. I would rather call you stupid than have a conversation about why I disagree with you.

And that's what we've devolved into. We've got all the anecdotal evidence of the liberal professor that had the kids in San Diego wipe the pro-life things off the sidewalk. And that's -- that's kind of a symptom of what's going on. The reality of what's going on is somebody that says I don't agree with that, but they're entitled to their opinion. I am as adamantly as pro-life a person that there is. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to try to silence pro-choice people. That doesn't mean that I don't think they have a right to their opinion. And I have to admit, I acquiesce every time in the conversation. It's legal in America. So I'm not going to go after people for breaking the law. I'm not going to call women baby killers. I'm not going to be insulting. I'll state my case of why I believe it's the wrong thing.

But I can do it -- I can make a cohesive argument. And I barely have a high school diploma. And I mean, I barely have a high school diploma. But the idea to create critical thinkers is what we should do in everybody. Young people --- I speak in high schools across the state where I live. And you'd be amazed at some of the critical thinkers that there are. That there are young people that are concerned about terrorism and the economy and the things you and I are worried about. And they're able to ask things in a very intelligent way when they're thought to be critical thinkers.


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