Core Knowledge quotes Ron Isaac saying they are.
But I wonder.
It could be just because I am older than dirt, but I remember students coming in with all their sources from the encyclopedia, the dictionary, and their parents’ magazines, or even a piece of junk mail. They could and did find awful sources.
However, if they went to the library, then they would find better sources. Our school library didn’t stock unreliable books. The journals there actually were scholarly. So, if they went to the library, the students could find reliable sources. And they did.
Now my students give me Wikipedia, online dictionaries, and MySpace sources. They didn’t have to work to find those sources.
But with a little more effort, going to the online library from the college, they can find good ones.
So, no, I don’t think our students researching skills are any poorer. I think they may not understand what they are being asked to find, but they aren’t poorer. Of course, they aren’t any better either.