Research Publication Title

Minus Five: An Examination Writing Proficiency at the Undergraduate Level

Major

English Literature

Faculty Mentor(s)

John Sirmans

Keywords

student writing ability, faculty dissatisfaction, survey, writing proficiency, writing standard improvements

Abstract

A common complaint among professors is that their students do not know how to write well, insinuating that the core English courses or prior high school classes are not doing their jobs well: I wanted to examine this issue and assess its validity, so I constructed a survey that was distributed to professors and students at both Georgia College and three other universities with the purpose of learning how each party felt about the adequacy of their writing proficiency or that of their students. The survey asked a variety of questions examining the aspect of writing each group was the least comfortable or satisfied with, or what resources on campus they felt were the most useful in assisting with any struggle. No names or personal information of any kind was included with the responses, but a wide range of students of different years and majors were surveyed. This allowed me to determine where the highest levels of dissatisfaction or lack of proficiency occurs, allowing me to stipulate how to strengthen the weaker skills and propose solutions to the problems each party observed. This project is important because the ability to write is a cross-disciplinary skill that one cannot thrive professionally without, so if we are not endowing our undergraduates with the correct skills to succeed in this area, the system is setting them up to fail. In doing so it highlights the systematic discrepancies and misconceptions in the education field while also providing unbiased quantitative research with which to fuel the initiatives devoted to solving recurring issues in the education department.

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Minus Five: An Examination Writing Proficiency at the Undergraduate Level

A common complaint among professors is that their students do not know how to write well, insinuating that the core English courses or prior high school classes are not doing their jobs well: I wanted to examine this issue and assess its validity, so I constructed a survey that was distributed to professors and students at both Georgia College and three other universities with the purpose of learning how each party felt about the adequacy of their writing proficiency or that of their students. The survey asked a variety of questions examining the aspect of writing each group was the least comfortable or satisfied with, or what resources on campus they felt were the most useful in assisting with any struggle. No names or personal information of any kind was included with the responses, but a wide range of students of different years and majors were surveyed. This allowed me to determine where the highest levels of dissatisfaction or lack of proficiency occurs, allowing me to stipulate how to strengthen the weaker skills and propose solutions to the problems each party observed. This project is important because the ability to write is a cross-disciplinary skill that one cannot thrive professionally without, so if we are not endowing our undergraduates with the correct skills to succeed in this area, the system is setting them up to fail. In doing so it highlights the systematic discrepancies and misconceptions in the education field while also providing unbiased quantitative research with which to fuel the initiatives devoted to solving recurring issues in the education department.