College, High School Teachers Disagree on Importance of Grammar, Usage Skills

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Although college faculty and high school teachers largely agree on the writing skills that are most important for students to possess, they disagree in one key area-grammar and usage skills. While college instructors believe these are the most important skills for entering college students to have, such skills are considered to be least important by high school teachers, according to recent results from ACT's National Curriculum Survey.

This apparent disconnect may be one reason why a significant number of first-year college students need remedial help with their writing skills. Recent studies have suggested that as many as half of today's college freshmen must take at least one remedial course in college, and more than four in 10 of these students take a remedial writing course.

"Overall, we're seeing a good degree of consistency between what high school English teachers and college freshman composition instructors think students should know," says Dr. Cynthia Schmeiser, ACT's vice president for development. "Still, it seems that many high school graduates don't have all the skills they need to succeed in college-level coursework, so any discrepancy between college expectations and high school instruction warrants attention. …


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