Are writing skills being left behind during the pandemic?

According to the most recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Performance (NAEP), two-thirds of K-12 students are not writing at levels expected for their grade level. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, writing had not received the same attention as math or reading.

Now, as teachers struggle to manage a combination of remote and face-to-face instruction, it is difficult to imagine how students are being encouraged to write regularly. These unique times call for new approaches to writing instruction and assessment.

Why is writing so important?

Writing is a complex cognitive ability that is foundational to the development of communication and thinking skills. Writing instruction helps students learn to write for different audiences and purposes, including writing to persuade, writing to explain, and writing to convey real or imagined experiences.

The ability to write well matters because poor writing often indicates unclear thinking. Students need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly in order to take charge of their own learning and prepare for college, as well as their future careers. Employers routinely report that they desire stronger written communication skills in their employees.

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