Thursday, March 30, 2006

Research on Liberals and Conservatives on Campus

Continuing the conversation of the accusations by David Horowitz of a left-wing bias on college campuses, Inside Higher Education interviewed a researcher who has been investigating the claim that students with a conservative ideology are more likely to get low or failing grades in their classes.

The researcher, Markus Kemmelmeier, at the University of Nevado at Reno studied a cohort of nearly 4,000 of students over four years. His surveys of these students indicated that, no surprise, students with liberal leanings are more likely to enter fields, such as sociology and cultural studies. Students with conservative leanings are more likely to enter fields, such as business and economics. Grades in those disciplines overall tend to be lower than in the arts and sciences:
So when conservative students complain that their grades are lower than their liberal friends, they may be right--but it has nothing to do with bias.
Grades in the disciplines where liberal students tend to gravitate suggest no relationship between their ideology and the grades they received; whereas:
In disciplines that tend to attract more conservative students (economics and all of the disciplines in business schools), conservatives have a slight edge -- the equivalent of0.25 on a 4 - point graduate point average scale.
This difference is slight, and the researcher cautions liberals declaring a conservative bias on college campuses. Instead, he believes his research demonstrates that there is not a pervasive, systemic liberal bias on college campuses.

Sounds about right to me.


Circe said...

Sweet, I'll want to get my hands on that research.

"They brainwash the 'kids'" into everything from pinko commies to satan worshipers is funny until people really believe it and start blabbing that kind of idea around for other, clueless people to believe. That just burns me. My aunt, who NEVER went to college, is certain that professors are liberal brianwashers (thanks, from your professor niece) and that they teach people "to be gay" in those horrible comprehensive sex education classes.

It scares me because I wonder how much worthless, stupid crap I would believe if I DIDN'T go to college and learn critical thinking skills.

My response to the brainwashing claim is that the person should not put down her son or daughter in such a way, not to mention their family values. Only dumb, spineless 'kids'(and these people are adults, folks) would be silly enough to be brainwashed by a professor. That kind of kid must come from a pretty uneducated background. That makes them THINK (probably think, Oh, MY, GOD, she is one of them, and then they cover their ears and hum the national anthem).

Jenny S-G said...

My dad, who did go to college, similarly believes that academia is full of liberal ideologues who aim to brainwash students.

My dad especially hates feminists, and is convinced that feminists have ruined the academy by pushing their agenda onto the curricula from biology to english.

Suffice it to say, when I informed him I was going to be a professor, it confirmed his worst nightmare that his daughter was a feminist, who in turn would push her ideology onto her students.

We haven't talked since that conversation four years ago . . . .