A Computer Will Grade Your Writing Skill. Are You Prepared?November 16, 2015

The National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), an annual assessment of student learning, will have a groundbreaking feature on 2017. Computers will evaluate the student's writing skill. How can it be possible?

There's no doubt about a database, which can store literary works from past and present. Better have second thoughts on plagiarism, even rephrasing a sentence (or paragraph) you like. And there won't be a problem detecting grammatical errors and broken sentences. How about creative writing? Can a computer discern it? Will it be able to detect a good analysis of a book? These questions can be traced to a study in 2008, where students have minimal improvement in writing skills. This was the reason behind the introduction of NAPLAN. There's no need for concern, though.

Good writing means competence. Not everyone will pursue a literary career, but writing skills will be useful sooner or later. Here are some things to consider:

If you don't write, then you won't get better. Everything must start from scratch, and some are fast learners. But writing demands time and effort. And as some authors will attest, there are cases when they give their best and it's still not enough. So they must keep a positive outlook. You must not panic. Don't think of it as another requirement to pass. The first step is to like it. And what happens next?

Read. Books will give you ideas, which helps you while composing a written piece. You'll also be acquainted with authors, and their views can be an enlightening moment. Pay attention to the words, even the sentence structure. This will give you a few ideas on how to write a paper. There's nothing wrong if you're inspired by it, and your paper would end up like the author's. It will be better to follow an expert, until you discover your own.

Let others read your written work. There's no reason to be shy about it. And don't be scared of being criticized for your mistakes. Get used to it, as this is the only way to be a better writer. There's no such thing as being good enough, unless you're next to Yeats. Look at the comments constructively, be it positive or negative.

Proofreading takes time. Writing can last an hour, even a day. We rather take our time, but there are cases when we must be urgent about its completion. The university will teach you the fine art of procrastination, but there's something you need to remember. Better check your written work before submission. Grammatical errors would leave a bad taste, while a faulty sentence structure will leave your readers scratching their heads. (In this case, it will be your teachers and coursemates. Don't be surprised if they're counting on you.) It can leave you little time for other things. But you'll find a way.

If you think the computer can't do all of the above, then don't bet on it. Two years can be a short time for a preparation.

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