Texting, Twitter contributing to students’ poor grammar skills, profs say
“ Punctuation errors are huge, and apostrophe errors. Students seem to have absolutely no idea what an apostrophe is for. None. Absolutely none. ”— Paul Budra, an English professor and associate dean of arts and science at Simon Fraser University
Even those with good marks out of Grade 12, so-called elite students, “still can't pass our simple test,” she says.
Poor grammar is the major reason students fail, says Barrett.
“If a student has problems with articles, prepositions, verb tenses, that's a problem.”
Some students in public schools are no longer being taught grammar, she believes.
“Are they (really) preparing students for university studies?”
At Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, one in 10 new students are not qualified to take the mandatory writing courses required for graduation. That 10 per cent must take so-called “foundational” writing courses first.
“Punctuation errors are huge, and apostrophe errors. Students seem to have absolutely no idea what an apostrophe is for. None. Absolutely none,” says Paul Budra, an English professor and associate dean of arts and science at Simon Fraser University.
Simon Fraser is reviewing its entrance requirements for English language.
“There has been this general sense in the last two or three years that we are finding more students are struggling in terms of language proficiency,” says Rummana Khan Hemani, the university's director of academic advising.
Emoticons, truncated and butchered words such as ‘cuz,’ are just some of the writing horrors being handed in, say professors and administrators at Simon Fraser.
“Little happy faces ... or a sad face ... little abbreviations,” show up even in letters of academic appeal, says Khan Hemani. “Instead of ‘because', it's ‘cuz'. That's one I see fairly frequently,” she says, and these are new in the past five years.
Khan Hemani sends...