Advertisement
 
Friday, February 05, 2016
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

How about English as a first language?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Updated: 8:09 PM

Spell check doesn't help.

Even with the aid of word processing technology, only about a fourth of American eighth- and 12th-graders can be considered reasonably conversant with Mother English.

So goes a bleak assessment of U.S. students' writing skills by the National Assessment Governing Board, which issues the annual "Nation's Report Card." According to the report, a whopping 24 percent of students in those grades in 2011 could write coherent essays with proper grammar and usage.

Twenty-four percent: That's an "F" on any curve.

What makes the report especially troubling is that students who took last year's National Assessment of Educational Progress writing test were allowed to use computers with spell check and thesaurus.

But as Cornelia Orr, executive director of the National Assessment Board, pointed out to The Associated Press, most students in American schools today have such technology at their disposal already -- at school, if not at home. Yet without the basic skills of organized thinking and proficiency in language, the tools don't really help: "It's as if years ago we had given them a pencil to write the essay and took away the eraser."

Said another way, even the best calculator won't enable somebody with no math skills to comprehend laws of physics or geometry.

More than a half-century ago, the Soviet Union's successful launch of the Sputnik satellite spurred the U.S. into a focus on science and technology that resulted in some of our most dazzling achievements -- one of which the recent death of astronaut Neil Armstrong evoked.

Maybe it's time for another national intellectual challenge. This one should focus on mastery of the most indispensable tool we have -- the ability to communicate coherently with one another.

-- Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

Most Popular

    DA issues a "get tough" policy for AHS students
    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    Four arrested in crime spree that hit local Target
    Monday, February 01, 2016

    The Recorder promotes two employees to new positions
    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    Officials look to share services, consolidate resources
    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    Sacandaga ice fishermen advised to proceed with caution
    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    Martin Aloysius 'Marty' Harrington
    Tuesday, February 02, 2016

    Aldermen OK accounting firm to help with finances
    Wednesday, February 03, 2016

    Villa: Deteriorating infrastructure can paralyze the city
    Tuesday, February 02, 2016

    Aldermen look to strip powers of Golf Commission
    Wednesday, February 03, 2016

    Future budget talks might bump hours back up for engineer
    Monday, February 01, 2016

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook