The previous post on this blog is my Monday column, complaining about the lack of much reaction to last year's study, which showed that 45 percent of undergraduates gain little in thinking and writing skills in the first two years of college, and 36 percent show little gains in four years of college. This is based on results at 24 colleges on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a lengthy essay exam.

I failed to address this question. Do we care about such results, or is the reputation of the colleges of more use, as we choose colleges? Some colleges do release their National Survey of Student Engagement results, which indicate if they are teaching the right way. Have any of us ever sought that data while making a college admission decision? Are colleges right to keep such information confidential if it makes them look bad? Or would anyone care?