Science - October 27, 2005

Dutch students doing worse

The most recent generations of undergraduates at Wageningen University are performing worse than their predecessors.

In 2000, half of the first years passed all subjects except for perhaps one for which they had scored five (and not lower). In the ensuing years this percentage dropped, reaching a low of 39 percent last year. Dr Jan Knuiman of the Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science collected data on undergraduates’ performance.

The figures for Wageningen confirm the results of a large-scale evaluation of undergraduate performance since the introduction of the so-called upper secondary phase in Dutch high school education. The report, published by the Tweede Fase Adviespunt, concludes that extra subjects and general development have received too much attention, and this has been at the expense of specific subject knowledge. Wageningen lecturers have noticed this as well. / JH

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