“Americans have always been informal, but now the informality of precollege culture is so ubiquitous that many students have no practice in using language in any formal setting at all,” he says. The remedy is “to restore the family dinner table to the teaching of writing – that setting which can be a very rich semiformal setting for the exchange of ideas,” he says.
Yet if writing has become less formal, it may correspond more closely with adolescents’ worlds: “The experience of writing has to be authentic,” says Steve Peha, president of the education consulting company Teaching That Makes Sense Inc., in Chapel Hill, N.C. Still, the new SAT would make him nervous. “Sitting there with the test booklet, pencil in hand, and with 25 minutes to write a fairly cogent essay on an unusual conceptual topic is pretty daunting. I’d be nervous – and I write for a living.” —Christina McCarroll —Teens ready to prove text-messaging skills can score SAT points (CS Monitor)