Writing ability has gone to pot in America. The latest statistics show that only 25% of students are proficient in writing. Most papers that college professors and high school teachers receive from students lack a clear thesis, correct paragraph structure, or proper grammar and punctuation. Employers frequently complain about the dearth of job applicants who can communicate through writing.
As it turns out, the decline in writing isn’t limited to this side of the Atlantic. An article in today’s Telegraph includes testimonies from Oxford University dons about their students’ papers. In these papers, the dons complained about a failure to use “basic common sense,” “a disconcerting number of candidates [who] seemed to find it difficult to express their thoughts in writing,” the presence of doodles, and the misspelling of words that were in the exam booklets.
According to one of the dons, “It is indeed troublesome to read scripts that might as well have been written by someone walking into Schools [Oxford’s examination hall] off the street without even the slightest acquaintance with lectures and tutorials.”