Today’s Word: Writing Requirements

I keep in touch with Ted Pease, the former dean of the Communications/Journalism program at Utah State University. Every day he sends quotes via Today’s Word that generally reflects the world of journalism according to academics, journalists, and other writers. I find today’s quotes interesting as it relates to the state of the undergraduate or college-bound students.

From Ted Pease:

The New York Times asked prominent professors for their advice to students:

“I have taught many students whose SAT scores exempted them from the writing requirement, but a disheartening number of them couldn’t write and an equal number of them had never been asked to. They managed to get through high school without learning how to write a clean English sentence, and if you can’t do that, you can’t do anything.”

—Stanley Fish, New York Times columnist and professor, Florida International University, 2009


According to a recent news article, Do College Students Really Learn Anything, author Steven Kent reports on new research that investigates the state of undergraduate learning.

“The authors used the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a writing-based standardized test, to track the progress of these students in terms of broad, analytic problem-solving and written communication skills. They came up with this troubling conclusion: When it comes to challenging undergraduate students, the nation’s colleges and universities are coming up short.”

While the argument is that the institution provides too many extra curricular and socialization activities, another argument is that colleges and universities need to engage learning by providing more challenging curriculum and forums.

My questions:

  1. Are professors afraid to fail students? If yes, does it have to do with meeting certain criteria in order to be funded?
  2. Are we letting certain standards of academia fall by the wayside in order to meet state or federal mandates?
  3. What are the conflicting governance issues in this regard?

Additional Information:

Read the Steve Kent article

For additional discussion, or to sign up to receive Today’s Word, please visit Ted’s blog.