Friday, June 13, 2014

Writing Tests Should Go

Published in the Taipei Times, June 12.

The composition section is the most contentious part of the Comprehensive Examination ("Blame game won’t solve exam problem: minister," June 13).

I have a suggestion: Drop the composition section entirely.

Testing students on writing proficiency makes no sense: Studies show that our ability to write using the accepted conventions of writing, including organization and mechanics, is largely the result of reading, which is why reading and writing scores are always so highly correlated: those who read a great deal do better on both reading and writing tests.

Essays are also the hardest part of language exams to grade, requiring consultation among graders and a great deal of tedious work.

Stephen Krashen

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