Professor Sperber is spot-on in portraying the problem of poor student writing. Teaching writing does need an “overhaul,” not a class here and there. Yet, I’ll argue that there is a missing element to the solution — one that is out of the direct control of higher education.
Businesses that hire undergraduates need to push back with more than Wall Street Journal articles that say that students write poorly. I’d like to see these organizations administer writing tests to college-student applicants and deny employment to those who perform poorly on that assessment.
Poor writing plagues both A and C students. When top students become more unemployable because of their lack of competent writing skills, colleges will be forced to react if they want to truly prepare students for careers.
I’m not crazy about the credentialing aspect of college degrees. But I can’t deny that I’d have more leverage to push more writing into the curriculum with help from the companies that hire our students.