Writing skills of first-year college students insufficient

Summary

The University College of Leuven found that a majority of students failed a writing test, raising concern about students’ ability to structure text

Majority of students cannot write well-structured arguments

College students in the second semester of their first year don’t possess adequate writing skills, according to researchers from the University College of Leuven, which tested nearly 350 students.

The students had one hour to write a text of 500 words on their vision on social network sites. They could use all possible sources, but the majority was not capable of writing a clear and well-structured formal text. Students in general also overestimated the quality of their writing skills.

The research confirms the increasing concern among academics about the writing skills of students. Ever more initiatives are being launched in higher education institutions to improve the situation, like language screenings and specific courses.

The researchers now feel that there is a need for continued language skills training throughout higher education, with attention given to knowledge, competences and attitude. “It’s very important that non-language lecturers also emphasise the importance of a precise and clear use of written language during their school and later professional careers,” states the report.

College students in the second semester of their first year don’t possess adequate writing skills, according to researchers from the University College of Leuven.

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