Surprising Facts About Education 50 Years Ago

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Do you know how each generation has its own name? Thus, our grandparents aged 70 or 80 are known as the Silent generation, those aged 50 to 68 are known as the Boomers, people aged 34 to 49 are known as the Generation X, while we, born in between 1981 and 1996, are called Millennials.

Education for each and every one of these generations has been different. And in this article, we will talk about how education has changed from what the Boomers used to know.

Meet the most surprising facts about education 50 years ago and now.

Unexpected Facts about the Evolution of Education within the Last Five Decades

  1. More millennials get higher education.
    More people from our generation have higher education. The Pew Research reported that fifty years ago, only 7 percent of women were getting a Bachelor’s degree in any area compared to 27 percent of women today. This tendency shows us many things: women got more rights, more freedom, and they are willing to make use of those by all means possible.
    Besides, around 12 percent of men back then obtained a Bachelor’s degree compared to 21 percent now. Education became way more accessible to our generation than it used to be to generations before us.
  2. Women are more educated than men.
    Another interesting fact is that according to the same source, more men used to get higher education 50 and more years ago compared to women.
    The numbers we offered above show that around 12 percent of all men got at least the Bachelor’s degree as compared to 7 percent of women aged between 18 and 33.
    However, things changed dramatically since then and now we see more female students in colleges than male ones. In fact, there is at least a six percent gap between the number of male and female students in the USA.
  3. The USA got better at teaching Mathematics and Science.
    According to the Mother Jones blog, Americans started teaching Mathematics and Science in a better and clearer way. In fact, the results of the international mathematical tests taken by students from all over the world show that not only American results did not get worse, but they also got significantly better with the standard deviation going from as low as -0.35 up to -0.8 or even -0.16. This is a real breakthrough!
  4. The dropout level has decreased.
    The dropout levels decreased significantly within the last fifty years. Back then, around 50 percent of all students never actually finished high school and left schools as soon as they turned 16.
    But today, more students not only finish high school but also obtain a college degree. And among those who enter colleges, the dropout level is as low as 10 percent with low-income students being the major part of those not finishing it.
  5. The language courses are no longer mandatory.
    Fifty years ago students had Greek and Latin as a part of their college program. However, things changed, and these languages are no longer mandatory to learn.
    In fact, the USA is the only country that does not require foreign languages to be learned at colleges. Most European countries, except Ireland and Scotland, require their students to start learning one or two foreign languages as soon as they turn three, five, or six years old.
    However, the situation in the USA is quite different with only a few schools and majors requiring the knowledge of any other language but English.
  6. Classes got smaller.
    According to the New York Times, US classes normally consist of 20-25 students. However, 50 years ago classes contained as many as at least 35 people. There were fewer schools, so classrooms were pretty much packed. This affected the teaching methodologies and approaches which we will discuss below.
  7. The teaching methodology got more person-oriented.
    Since classes got smaller, teachers have a chance to change their methodology and make their approach more personal. Thus, everything from research papers topics to campus projects changed and became more engaging and personal. And as a result, students know their way around difficult subjects better now than 50 years ago when it all was just a theory for them. Also, now we see multiple online essay writing services that did not exist previously as there was no Internet.

Time flies and changes everything on its way. And education is not an exception. Thus, the way things are taught is different now from what generations before us remember.

Is it better?

It’s for you to decide. But what we can say for sure is that now it is completely different.

Written by Kevin Nelson

Kevin Nelson is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer at and other blogs. He writes about higher education, entertainment, social media and blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+

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