Kids Don't Write As Much Today - So What?
all the fuss about kids not knowing how to write more than a few words at a
time any more? Can't they express themselves even more with all the other media
they use today?
the advantages of computers and other technology that make written expression
far easier than the days of the inkwell, pen and paper, mimeos and white-out
paint, the average word count produced in assignments by a typical high school
student today is minuscule compared to yesteryear.
students aren't getting the deep, analytical, quality thinking skills that are
polished with term paper assignments any more.
doesn't bode very well for the future of our country, if the leaders of
tomorrow don't have deep thinking skills.
obvious that they aren't reading as much and that the books they're reading in
school aren't as good, because their writing is nowhere near as good, and good
readers become good writers.
nationwide scandal over their spelling. Many employers say they have to
remediate new hires, even college graduates, in basic communication skills,
including spelling the simplest of words and phrases.
do write in school, for the most part, it's brief, shallow and unchallenging.
The amount of writing assignments which can be fulfilled with no research is
staggering . . . while the most important writing assignments in the eyes of
most of those serious about scholarship, term papers, are literally dying out.
with a grant from the Albert Shanker Institute, The Concord Review commissioned a study of the state of the history
term paper in United States high schools. According to that group's website, 95%
of the teachers interviewed said term papers were important or very important,
82% never assign a 5,000-word paper, and 63% never assign a 3,000-word research
together with studies that show high school students spending less than three
hours a week on homework, it seems most probable that the majority of high
school students in this country now leave without having done a serious
research paper, and perhaps without having read one nonfiction book.
reason isn't that today's students don't need the skills that come with serious
n how to narrow down your hypothesis
n choose the best evidence
n organize a lot of material
n achieve perfection in the use of
n create a conclusion fully supported
by the research.
reason is that teachers say they do not have enough time to assign, coach and
evaluate research papers, even though it takes a lot less time than varsity
private schools do expect their students to learn to write research papers and
teachers are given small classes so that they can work on papers with students,
and have the time to assess them. But that's a relatively small number across
The Concord Review's study, "The
State of the Term Paper," on www.tcr.org/tcr/institute/stateofthetermpaper.pdf