Student Writing: Another Race to the Bottom

Think education isn't broken from top to bottom? What follows below is real college student writing at the first- or second-year level. The assignment was given in a "public speaking" course. The student (not one of mine) received an 'A'. Later the student passed English Composition I and II previously with an A and B, respectively. Now, those of us who have reverence for the written word could amuse ourselves with picking out the blatant errors, but I would like to discuss the implications on a much larger scale.

Three main quality of an effective leader

Some people are may be born with leadership qualities, but that doesn't mean they know how to take advantage of the qualities. For instance, many people always telling me that I could be a great manager, because they could see me as a leader. Three main qualities most leader always bring to table is visionary, motivational, and confidence. First, as a visionary leader they most likely to know what they want to accomplish, andthey have a vision in mind and a mindset. A leader with vision doesn't let insignificant problem bother them. A visionary leader with poor leadership techniques are often not to success. Most, visionary leaders are risk taker, they not are afraid to throw ideas, because their plan is to be success no matter what. Under visionary leader there is little confusion, and no disorganization. Second, a motivational leader always motive the people around them. An effective leader knows that he or she cannot do everything by themselves therefore they always have to bring people together, and inspire them to perform at high level and accomplish their goals. For example, at my job my supervisor he always motived us to work hard .Reason being, because our job is divided into department, in additional we always do our best because we know our action can affect the company, and our department. As employees we know if we do our best and work hard to accomplish our goals, we will be reward it. Motivational leaders want employees to be succeed. Third, most people who are born to be a leader are very confidence. There may be days our company may look slow, thing aren't going according to plan. Our team leader is so confidence, he always tell us not to panic, eventually it business will pick back up. He knows that part of his job is to keep us calm and also confident. To concludes, some people are may be born to be a leader, but that doesn't mean they knows how to use the quality of being a leader. There are three type of leaders, visionary, motivational, and confidence leaders. A visionary leader have a mindset and he, or she knows what want to be accomplish. They have vision and idea. A motivational leader always want to motive the people around him, or her. A confidence leaders don't panic, even if business is slow, they are always confidence no matter what.

There is much wrong with what this tells us beyond the obvious composition illiteracy. So, let's start at the bottom and work our way up. The "essay" itself: confusion or ignorance of noun plurals, verb tense. The noun "motive" is used as a verb (when "motivated" is called for); in the second instance it is misused "my supervisor he always motived us to work." It should be clear that there are serious problems requiring basic remedial work. There are subject/verb agreement problems. The noun, "confidence," is used as an adjective: "A confidence leaders don't panic..."

All right, enough. Let's look at some other elements. Considering the breadth of the chosen/assigned topic ("Three main quality of an effective leader"), less than two and a half pages (under 500 words) is a pointless exercise and doesn't even constitute a skimpy outline. The student did not proofread. Note the instances of run-together words. Assuming this was written with a standard word processor, like MS Word, a spell-check feature would have caught this.

Note that this is not some anomaly that escaped being drowned in red ink. I have seen many student papers in this condition. What I have never done is hand out an 'A' for such a train wreck. Early in the semester, I might have been generous with a C/C-, but if there were no improvement, that would go down. If such students entered a more advanced course of mine and turned in work like this I would first tell them they should withdraw or get serious remedial help.

From a more macro-level viewpoint, there is a huge fraud being committed here (I prefer words like cheat, hustle, swindle). The student has been sold a bill of goods: "I write good. I a 'A' student." Expensive tuition has been paid by someone who should be irate about this. But, wait. In the consumerist culture, we pay for the grade, we get the grade. Maybe whoever paid the tuition doesn't care if students haven't learned to write as long as they get the 'A'.

Next, what's with the instructor? There is no excuse for this, no justifiable circumstances. Chances are it was an adjunct who either decided, given their compensation, not to expend the effort. Or, maybe he or she didn't know any better. Or maybe there is direct pressure to hand out as many good grades as possible. If our specimen is an 'A' paper, then what constitutes a 'B' or 'C' or failing? If this was a regular faculty person, the error of omission is even more egregious.

Finally, we come to the Administration of the public college, governed by the prevailing consumerist culture and ultra-conservative politics. It's all about retention (keep those tuition checks coming). It's a place of business, not learning.