"Wat up wit u mom I luv u" says the most recent text from my 11-year-old son. His shorthand, of course, translates to, "What’s up with you, mom? I love you." Like many of us when we text, he isn't taking the time to type out the whole sentence. Every day he and his tween peers zip a dozen similar shorthand text messages back and forth to each other. According to a new study in the journal New Media and Society, the use of these ubiquitous texting shortcuts is negatively altering their ability to identify and use correct grammar.
Researchers gave grammar tests to sixth through eighth graders in Pennsylvania and asked them for information on their texting habits. After crunching the test and texting data they found that the more texts the 10-to-14-year-olds sent, the worse their grammar performance. The problem is the students begin to see their textual adaptations as normal and so have a tough time code switching to more formal way of writing.
This month, more than half of community college freshmen and at least a third of university students started college already behind. They're in at least one remedial course that does not count toward a degree, thus beginning at least four months—and sometimes years—delayed in getting the degree they enrolled to earn.
This colossal disappointment is largely avoidable. Students need not toil in remedial courses that cost precious time and money.
When I was in high school I spent my summers letting my nerd flag fly high by doing things like sitting around reading The Count of Monte Cristo—all 1,312 pages of it—in one day. My peers hit up the pool or roamed the mall, but none of us ever considered going to summer school. For my generation, summer school was where the "bad" kids who ditched class to smoke weed in the parking lot went so they could still graduate on time. But nowadays if you live in a city where summer school hasn't been eliminated due to district budget cuts, chances are that the honors and AP crowd is more likely to spend June, July, and part of August waking up early and schlepping backpacks to campus—and it's all driven by the desire to get into a top college.