History catching on, writing not so much

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A U.S. Department of Education report card says high school seniors are faring better in history than in past years, but the change is yet to be evident among freshman at Colorado State University....

At CSU, professors say first- year students do seem to show greater interest in history and current events, but their writ-ing and analytic skills are declining.

“What I’m hearing from faculty is there’s not any broad sense that students are coming to CSU better prepared,” history department chair Douglas K. Yarrington said.

Yarrington said informal and casual language of e-mailing and text messaging seems to be working its way into student papers.

History professor Nathan Citino agreed that every year there are fewer students who arrive on campus with advanced ability in the written word.

Citino speculated that writ-ing ability, along with analytic ability, is suffering because students aren’t reading as much as they once did.

“There’s a huge range in the survey classes from students who can stand toe to toe with any undergraduate institution in the country to people who don’t belong on a university campus,” he said.

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