“FAT, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son”, Dean Vernon Wormer memorably warned Bluto in “Animal House“.
If recent studies are to be believed, more American students than ever are trying to prove Dean Wormer wrong, at least on the stupid part. A paper from the American Enterprise Institute argues that students are spending less time studying than they did a generation ago:
Study time for full-time students at four-year colleges in the United States fell from twenty-four hours per week in 1961 to fourteen hours per week in 2003, and the decline is not explained by changes over time in student work status, parental education, major choice, or the type of institution students attended.
Evidence that declines in study time result from improvements in education technology is slim. A more plausible explanation is that achievement standards have fallen.
Longitudinal data indicate that students who study more in college earn more in the long run.
Why is this happening, at a time when everybody tells us that the rewards for academic success, and the punishments for Animal-House-style academic failure, are going up?