Not everyone loves writing, it’s true. You may not have been born to be the next Shakespeare or Pablo Neruda, but writing is still an important skill to work on while in high school. Strong written expression will help you succeed in university or college or will help you find a job out of high school. Plus, writing well in high school will help you get higher grades to get into good college and universities.
Scoring Written Expression
When teachers look at your writing, they typically evaluate you based on five main areas: vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, logic and combination of ideas. This is true of young children and of high-school students, and these skills form the basis of the way you’ll write for the rest of your life. Spelling and punctuation show a basic understanding of English, whereas vocabulary shows a depth of knowledge. Logic and combining ideas are a little harder to measure, but logic typically shows how you relate ideas in writing and combining ideas shows that you have sufficient skill as a writer to present those ideas clearly.
When writing an assignment or for a test in high school, keep the five key areas in mind. Make sure that everything is spelled correctly and that you use commas, periods, question marks and quotation marks correctly. Little mistakes, like confusing “there, their and they’re” and “its and it’s” will make your scores lower. Once the basics are in place, group your ideas into paragraphs and use transition sentences between paragraphs to introduce new ideas. Once your teacher sees your basic competency, they’ll be able to examine your ideas and get to know your personality as a writer and as a student.
The skills you develop in high school will carry on to college or university. Don’t worry if you can’t write at a university or college level as soon as you get to school: all schools offer introductory writing courses, and most schools make these mandatory. College instructors look for your ability to write multiparagraph essays and to incorporate sources into your writing to show that you’ve done research and that you can incorporate another person's ideas into your writing. If you can work on these skills in high school, you’ll be better prepared for success at the college level, where writing is an essential skill.
If you choose not to go to university right away, or if you want to just work straight out of high school, writing is still important. According to one study called “What Do Employers Want,” employers are “more critical of writing than any other area.” Studies have repeatedly shown that one of the main concerns for employers is that new employees lack for communication skills, including and sometimes especially written communication. Basic academic skills are important for work, including writing legibly and completing forms accurately.
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