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Writing— Still a Needed Skill in the 21st Century

Writing

During a recent training teachers and leaders answered this question, “Which academic skill has helped you the most overall? Helped you moved forward and upward?”  The most frequent answer was writing. 

Why?

Answers vary.  Here are some of the more common responses:

  • It helps me clarify my thoughts
  • It allows me to share my ideas clearly with my supervisors and team members
  • It creates a document to which people can refer for guidance

Connected to Success

Writing may be by far the single academic skill most closely associated with college and work success.  We know this, but yet, look at the following statistics from the Alliance for Excellent Education (2011)—Informing Writing: The Benefits of Formative Assessment. They are causes for concern:

  • Poor writing skills cost businesses 3.1 billion annually (National Commission on Writing, 2004)
  • Only one out of four twelfth-grade students are proficient writers (Salahu-Din, Persky, and Miller, 2008)
  • Nearly one-third of high school graduates are not ready for college-level English composition courses (ACT, 2005)
  • College instructors estimate that half of high school graduates are unprepared for college-level writing (Achieve, Inc. 2005)
  • College graduates earn 70 percent more than high school graduates (Taggart et al., 2001)
  • More than half of adult scoring at the lowest literacy levels are dropouts (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005)

More and more colleges are requiring well developed writing skills, research capabilities and thinking skills. This means we need to provide students with strong skills during their k-12 experience.   Students need to learn how to:

  • Write Expository, descriptive, and persuasive pieces
  • Pre-write, how to edit, and how to re-write a piece before it is submitted and, often, after it has been submitted once and feedback has been provided.
  • To present arguments clearly, substantiate each point, and utilize the basics of a style manual when constructing a paper.
  • To write free of grammatical, spelling, and usage errors.

Next Blog: How to write a paragraph in six easy steps

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