“The number of term papers assigned over the years has decreased significantly,” said Herman Clay, director of history and social sciences at Los Angeles Unified School District.
Instead, Los Angeles teachers are assigning more in-class written exams, oral reports with visual aids and PowerPoint presentations, said Clay, a former principal of Van Nuys High School.
It’s unclear how many teachers nationwide are doing the same, but it’s enough that some educators worry that kids are missing an important educational experience — one that requires them to seek out facts and then assemble them into a cogent, sustainable argument.
In-class writing assignments are, by necessity, much shorter exercises that can be as brief as a couple of paragraphs and rarely more than a few pages.
“Kids these days have difficulty writing in depth about anything,” said Nancy Willard, executive director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet use. “They are used to doing PowerPoint presentations, and the level of superficiality is great compared with term papers.” —Terril Yue Jones —Teachers Adjust Lesson Plans as Web Fuels Plagiarism (LA Times (will expire))