Writing-Skills Tests Show Inadequacy: Most Students Aren't at Grade Level

By Billups, Andrea | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 29, 1999 | Go to article overview

Writing-Skills Tests Show Inadequacy: Most Students Aren't at Grade Level


Billups, Andrea, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Only about one fourth of students tested in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades are able to write at their grade level, a national writing assessment test found.

While about 75 percent of the students were able to write at a "basic" level, demonstrating a "partial mastery" of skills, close to a fifth of the children tested nationwide failed to meet even minimal writing standards.

That's according to results released yesterday from the 1998 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Writing Report for the Nation and States.

"Writing skills are essential for demonstrating knowledge in any subject matter," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. "While concern for education has been elevated nationwide, we cannot relax and assume the job of educating our children is getting done sufficiently.

"When 75 percent of American children are not writing even up to grade level, it only reinforces that the current system has failed them miserably," she said.

The federal test of writing achievement was given to 60,000 students in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades in 1998, the first time the test has been administered since 1992. An additional 100,000 students in the eighth grade were tested in 35 states and four jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia.

Students were tested on three types of writing: narrative, informative and persuasive. The NAEP Report Card defined writing scores at three levels: basic, proficient and advanced.

The 1998 results, called "sobering" by one educator, were released yesterday by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.

"The average, or typical, American student is not a proficient writer," said Gary W. Phillips, acting commissioner for the NCES. "Instead, students show only partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for solid academic performance in writing."

Added Marilyn Whirry, a 12th-grade English teacher and member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which set the NAEP test scores and standards: "It is clear from the report that many students are able to write at a basic, minimally effective level, but far too few can produce strong, coherent prose."

The report found only 23 percent of fourth-graders wrote at the proficient level or above, which meant - in the testers' terms - that they could deliver a solid academic performance and write competently about challenging subject matter. Eighty-four percent wrote at the basic level or above, and 16 percent were below the basic level.

For eighth-graders, 27 percent were at least proficient and 16 percent were below basic. For 12th-graders, 22 percent were proficient and 22 percent were below basic.

At each grade level, only 1 percent of students wrote at an advanced level, which signifies a superior performance, the survey found.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley used the release of the national test scores to ask Congress for more funding for reading and writing programs and to back President Clinton's class-size initiative. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Writing-Skills Tests Show Inadequacy: Most Students Aren't at Grade Level
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.