Gaston Caperton on Building Writing Skills

Question: Have writing skills improved in the US?

Caperton:    They have, and we did a survey of high schools across the country, and we found that over 60% of those schools were spending more time on writing because we’d put it on the SAT.  Now, I happen to believe that writing is a crucial skill, and that we in this country have not focused on writing and we don’t write as well as we need to do it.  It’s a very important part of self expression.  A very important part of any job anybody has is to be able to, in writing, be able to explain or to answer or to put in words what they’re thinking or what they’re planning, and so…  And also, the art of just communication is deeply, is greatly improved by writing, even oral communication is improved by the quality of writing.  So, I think that we’ve done a great service to this country by putting writing on the SAT, and I think it’s getting much more of a focus, and I think that it’s important that the colleges and universities look at that writing not only as a matter of admissions but also as a diagnostic, to say, okay, this student is an outstanding student, but, boy, they just better learn how to write.  They haven’t had…  They just don’t know how to write well, so the diagnostic part of it is probably as important as any part of the writing.

Gaston Caperton says writing skills are crucial to long-term success.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less