Well, judging by the fact that there’s a distinct possibility I’m coming down with something, the seasons are a’changin.
Which would be par for the course, I guess.
It seems like every year when summer transitions into fall, I get sick enough to want to die, and this year is shaping up to be no different.
After spending much of my Sunday sitting around the house trying to keep from getting sick, I woke up this morning with my joints aching, a pounding headache and a sore back.
Guess I’m getting old and can’t fight it off like I used to…
And after bravely (well, I wouldn’t call it bravely, stubbornly would be more like it…) getting ready and coming into the office today, it would seem my efforts were for naught.
If my co-workers’ reaction is any indication, that is.
“You look like you’re getting sick,” my co-worker Eleanor Powell — who has the misfortune to be assigned a seat beside me — said, alarmed as she walked into the building and took one look at me. “You need to go home!”
Which would be great, except I have a meeting tonight, a night meeting to cover tomorrow, and so forth and so on.
My mom was right: There’s no rest for the wicked.
An interesting tidbit appeared Friday on the Associated Press feed.
The 2011 results of an annual study called the National Assessment of Educational Progress were released late last week and they shed a bit of light on how eighth- and 12th-graders fare in writing.
According to the story, just less than 25 percent of American students in the two grades “have solid writing skills, even when allowed to use spell check and other computer word processing tools.”
The study, which tested more than 50,000 students from across the nation, determined that 24 percent of students in each of the two grades “were able to write essays that were well developed, organized and had proper language and grammar.”
Three percent were scored as advanced, and the remainder of those tested showed “just partial mastery” of the skills.
Which is scary, if you ask me.
The ability to effectively communicate ideas and relay information to others is critical in today’s society, and one of the things that makes my toes curl up with the new Common Core/Essential Standards curriculum rolled out this year is the focus on effective communication.
But that isn’t what really got to me about the study.
According to Kathleen Blake Yancey, a professor at Florida State University and a member of the advisory panel for the test, research shows that most American students don’t compose at the keyboard.
“What they do is sort of type already-written documents into the machine, much as we used to do with typewriters four decades ago,” she said.
When I mentioned this to whoever was listening at the office, one co-worker said it best:
“What do they do? Write it down on paper and then type it?” he asked. “That seems to be a huge waste of time!”
Keith Strange is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.