Subject: Spelling
From: John Bell <jbell -at- TELE-TV -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 09:46:51 EST

Thanks to the editors who caught my misspelling of "grammar"!

It does serve to highlight the point that we're all fallible, and
I certainly can't claim to be any better than anyone else.

Sue Gallagher examined my (brief) list of skills point by point.
Spelling is perhaps less needed as a skill than in years past, but
we've all noted cases where spell checkers do not flag every spelling
error in a document. Particularly troublesome is the substitution of
an improper word for the proper word (plane for plain, absorb for adsorb,
and many others). I still wouldn't want to rule out good spelling skills
from my list.

The items on the list popped into my head when I thought about writers
I have worked with and what their shortcomings are. Designing a test to
rate some of these skills will be very hard. Sue's discussion of logical
organization is an excellent example of the pitfalls we need to avoid.

I prefer to separate the issues of "Is certification a good idea" from
"How to design the test". I will remain optimistic that someone can
design a test that will be acceptable (not ideal, mind you....acceptable).

I believe there are psychologists that specialize in designing tests.
If so, then we should employ some of them. Skills that we believe to
be impossible or difficult to test may actually be testable.

I've received some email about two groups that already offer writer's tests.
It may be that an acceptable (or near acceptable) test already exists.
I'm probably going to check into them in the next few months.

--- John

P.S. Sue: No, I don't feel singled out or flamed. Thanks for checking!
What I do see is that we are having a polite public discussion
where we are sharing ideas and maintaining a good balance. If *I*
come across rude or nasty, please let me know. I do not intend to
be that way.

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