A few months ago, the online grammar-check website Grammarly conducted a study with over four hundred freelancers to see what effect, if any, writing skills can have on career options. They published the results in an infographic, shown on the left (click to make it larger), which was covered by The Huffington Post, and I was asked to cover it as well (though being a student at university caused a several-weeks delay). In the interest of full disclosure, Grammarly will donate $20 to the charity Reading Is Fundamental as a thank-you for this coverage.
I work in a community college writing center, and am acutely aware of how poorly the K-12 school system in my area prepares students for college life. In fact, the community college system here offers dozens of remedial English courses per semester to prepare these students for the actual college English courses of ENG-1A and 1B. The K-12 system’s insistence on focusing on test scores and “measurable” results has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of young adults who are unable to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas in writing. This simple fact holds them back from completing their college education, as nearly all college courses require quality writing to achieve passing grades, and rectifying this problem can and sometimes does require students to take an additional year of schooling. Worse, according to the study, this can even hinder their employment options!
The study looks at over four hundred freelance writers and compares their error rate to their pay rate, and concludes that writers with fewer errors per one hundred words make hundreds of dollars more than writers who make more errors. As a college student and writing tutor, I can tell you that this is equally true when it come to grades: more errors will cause your ideas to become less clear, and this in turn causes your teacher to assign a lower grade. The surprising thing about the study is that it indicates this trend continues into professional employment, except instead of grades, we’re talking about money, and that’s never a good thing.
If this is the case, we need to ensure that our children grow up with a love, or (at the very least) respect, for reading and writing, because it can and does have an effect on their adult lives. It’s awesome to see this issue getting more and more attention. I hear radio commercials all the time nowadays telling parents to talk to their newborns, because apparently this helps their mental development. There are studies now emphasizing the need for greater literary involvement. It is great to see more people becoming aware of this. Hopefully it means that the next generation of students will be better thinkers, better readers, and better writers, thus leading us to form a better society all around.
The world needs more of those.