The ability to communicate through the written word represents one of the central tenets of a good education. Yet, students in the United States, from grade school to seniors in high school, fall short when it comes to writing proficiency.
NAEP or National Report Card represents the most comprehensive ongoing assessment tool for all topics. The NAEP reveals that only about 27% of students measure at the proficiency level from grades four through twelve when it comes to their writing skills.
The 27% figure includes students attending both public and private schools. If you measure only the students who participate in private schools, the percentage of students who measure as proficient writers rise to about 40%.
The NAEP statistics on basic skills show an even larger disparity between those attending public schools and private schools. The numbers that combine basic writing skills for those in grades four to twelve measures between 70% and 86%. Those percentages go up significantly from 92% to 94% when we only consider the private school attendees.
Why There Is a Problem With Writing Proficiency
If a child struggles with writing, they no doubt experience difficulty with learning in general. Listed below, you’ll find some reasons and scenarios that lead to low writing scores:
- Students who experience attention problems and become easily distracted, fatigued, or struggle with difficulty getting started with writing assignments quickly fall behind. These same students make numerous grammatical and spelling errors and tend to experience trouble organizing their thoughts on paper.
- Some students suffer from spatial disorders and struggle with arranging and spacing words on paper. Those who deal with a spatial disorder also struggle with spelling and organizing their thoughts.
- Memory problems lead to problems with spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.
- Students who experience language problems resulting from struggling with a second language or lack of reading and conversation in the household will also find their skills falter.
- Physical concerns such as graphomotor problems make it difficult for students to hold a pen or pencil, form individual letters, or write long sentences or paragraphs.
Why the Ability to Communicate Through Writing Is Essential
For school-age children writing difficulties result from or lead to problems with other subjects, especially reading. Low scores may stem from developmental issues tracing back to preschool years.
If not corrected, the inability to write effectively will also impact a person’s livelihood. Just about every profession, from attorney, teacher, and salesperson or wait staff, it depends on some level of writing for success.
Good writing allows us to establish ourselves as individuals. In addition to communicating effectively, adequate writing skills also lends itself to credibility through grammar, spelling, and accurate information.
These skills play a part in our academic success, professional lives, and personal relationships.
Ways to Attack the Problem
Even if your child doesn’t struggle with his writing capabilities, measures exist that will improve writing abilities:
- They say practice makes perfect and putting pen to paper every day represents a sure way to improve writing.
- Encourage reading of all kinds. Good writers read everything from non-fiction to news articles and fiction.
- Help your child organize and get started with a project.
- Allow the usage of grammar and spell check, but encourage it as a learning tool.
- Encourage your child to journal or keep a diary.
- Copying poems, letters, and articles represent a great way to learn from and language usage.
Writing incorporates many different aspects, such as vocabulary, structure, and mental comprehension. Encouraging these skills at home will set your child up for a lifetime of good writing.
We Can Help
At Tenney Schools, we realize the importance of a well-rounded education. With our Power of One Philosophy, we work to make sure every child succeeds both academically and socially as they prepare for future educational endeavors and adulthood.
We understand the importance of strong writing skills as we offer aggressive courses to prepare students for ACT and SAT testing.
We would love to discuss our educational approach and the importance of writing proficiency for your child’s academic years and beyond. Please reach out to us here for more information.