Key Findings

  • Considering all four years of college, we find that 36 percent of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning, as measured by CLA performance.

Key Recommendations

  • Improved elementary- and secondary-school student preparation.
  • Strong leadership in higher education to foster an institution-wide culture of learning.
  • Enhanced curriculum and instruction associated with academic rigor.
  • Increased measurement of student learning.
  • Reallocation of government resources to improve undergraduate learning.
  • Enhanced research infrastructure for measuring and understanding student learning in higher education.


This report extends findings reported in Academically Adrift to document the rate of growth on the CLA for the full four years of college, academic practices associated with improved student performance, as well as differences across individuals and institutions in the level of learning. Moreover, we present recommendations for policymakers, institutions, and practitioners to consider for improving undergraduate learning at U.S. colleges and universities.