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American students graduate with diplomas and degrees that presume mastery of the disciplines they study. But mounting evidence suggests that these students also graduate with thinking characterized by stereotypes, misconceptions, unexamined assumptions, and rigidly applied algorithms. Although most students can demonstrate an ability to complete assignments and pass examinations in the content, vocabulary, and methodology of the disciplines, they fail to achieve genuine understanding. Such understanding enables individuals to apply knowledge, skills, and dispositions to new situations and to acquire and assess new information and ideas.

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