The Scottish Qualifications Authority has found that poor quality online writing is having a negative effect on students’ exam performance. Markers reported problems with grading some students’ papers because of their use of poorly written source material taken from the internet.
Spell-checkers also came under criticism, as students relying on these tended not to spot writing errors for themselves. Although exam performance was generally of a high standard, it was felt that basic writing mistakes undermined the students’ performance and could cause problems in learning a wide range of topics.
The issue highlights a concern around website writing, which has all too often been full of careless or embarrassing errors. Many site owners outsource writing tasks to news writing services and other types of content provider due to the growing awareness of the need to provide well-written content for websites.
The increasing popularity of online news has important implications for business. Company news may previously have been hidden away in industry-specific magazines with a small audience, but news blogs now mean that news often goes out directly to customers. News articles are also popular with bloggers who tend to scour the web for new content on their topics, a news story can, therefore, end up being read by a huge number of people online.
Business owners will share the concerns of the Scottish Qualifications Authority about the importance of literacy skills. For those students who will eventually write for online publications, it’s important to start by learning the basics.