Also interesting: the author, an English prof offers these examples of widespread problems that he encounters among students, all of which I can vouch for.
Benton: "I see too many students who are:
- Primarily focused on their own emotions — on the primacy of their "feelings" — rather than on analysis supported by evidence.
- Uncertain what constitutes reliable evidence, thus tending to use the most easily found sources uncritically.
- Convinced that no opinion is worth more than another: All views are equal.
- Uncertain about academic honesty and what constitutes plagiarism. (I recently had a student defend herself by claiming that her paper was more than 50 percent original, so she should receive that much credit, at least.)
- Unable to follow or make a sustained argument.
- Uncertain about spelling and punctuation (and skeptical that such skills matter).
- Hostile to anything that is not directly relevant to their career goals, which are vaguely understood.
- Increasingly interested in the social and athletic above the academic, while "needing" to receive very high grades.
- Not really embarrassed at their lack of knowledge and skills.
- Certain that any academic failure is the fault of the professor rather than the student.
Obviously, some of these fall into the 'twas ever thus category. And some are specific to the job- an English professor can easily establish that plagiarism is unacceptable. But it's interesting how many will need a sustained effort from the larger culture to ameliorate them.