Grammarly or Whitesmoke

A lot of people write for a living, I myself should know, as I myself do in fact write in order to earn my bread. But when you write for profit, you run into problems that to most normal people (normal as in they don’t write for a living, I guess that might have been a poor choice of words) would be a minor annoyance. I am of course referencing grammar and spelling errors, and also the oft misunderstood styling error. While it is hardly a bother for regular people, seeing as edu-grammarlythey only need to get their point across, and not get their point across while showing a higher standard of language. When you’re a professional writer (note: you don’t need to be good to be a professional, professional just means that it is your job, literally your profession) you kind of need to hold yourself to a higher standard than you would if you were writing a letter to a friend, or sending a text. (don’t get me started on sending texts, just thinking about thinking about it is giving me PTSD.)

So with my job riding on my continued excellence in my mastery of the English language, how do I make sure that I don’t fall flat on my face while writing? Well, there’s plenty of wayuse-grammarly s actually, keeping a close watch on what I type is one, but it is hardly the best. If I miss something while writing it, I’m unlikely to catch it while doing my routine reread. Even with how much I catch, there’s always that little bit that slips past my radar. So this brings me to my next way I keep on the up and up, spell checkers.

Although it would be more correct to call things like Grammarly and Whitesmoke writing checkers, seeing as they check much more than just spelling. Grammarly (Edumuch Review on Grammarly)  even checks for plagiarism, which is another invaluable resource for a writer like me, not that I would ever plagiarize in my life. It’s just a good thing to have, so you don’t accidentally do it. And trust me on that, it can and does happen. I’ve used quite a lot of checkers in my life to be perfectly honest, and I have always been partial to Grammarly. Grammarly is my favorite because of how user friendly it is, having a very clean and nice user interface, which it easier for me to use. Grammarly not only is user friendly, but it is writer friendly as well. Grammarly not only checks what you’ve written, but instead of just correcting the mistakes, it suggests to you the corrections, and explains why it is suggesting the corrections to you. This really puts Grammarly a cut above the rest, even within other checkers which also explain their corrections, it shines much more than the rest. If there is one thing I have a problem with when using Grammarly, it’s how good it is. Sometimes I rely too much on it, and that might lead to me missing some mistakes that Grammarly missed.

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Make Grammar Cool Again

I can’t remember if grammar used to be cool, or if I’ve always been out of touch and grammar was never cool. In any event, the one thing I know for a fact is that, currently, grammar is not cool. Any user of social media can attest to that – grammatically correct Tweets, Facebook statuses, or YouTube comments are basically ‘unicorns’ – after a while, you may begin to doubt whether or not they actually exist. Why is this the case, you ask? I really couldn’t say for certain, but I think it has something to do with culture. Hard work and virtuous self-improvement used to be cool, but you know what’s cool now? Making money easily, living a lifestyle that eliminates the need for work, showing off, having flashy possessions, etc. Where has my country gone, I ask?

drum rollThe bottom line is, from a young age, Americans are having ingrained in them this idea that working is lame. In order to get a good job, or a decent job, you need to be successful in school, right? And what is part of the scholastic curriculum? *Drum Roll* … Grammar! Let’s lay this out so it’s nice and clear:

-Not working is cool.

-Working is uncool.

-Do well in school to work.

-Grammar is a part of school.

-Disregard grammar: Become cool.

Pretty simple, right? Additionally, young people idolize celebrities who similarly disregard grammar and traditional means of education. Visit the social media accounts of one hundred celebrities and see for yourself how many of them actually know the rules of grammar, care about the rules of grammar, or are even aware that there is something that exists called ‘the rules of grammar’. If someone strives to emulate an uneducated celebrity, it seems pretty unlikely that they themselves would try to become better educated – even though from their perspective, it’s a far more realistic means towards having a functioning life.

So, what do we do about this grammar-neglecting epidemic? Do we allow society to devolve to the point at which the English language is lost to history and we communicate with different sounding grunts and various pitches of shrieks? No! We fight back. As a wise person once said – I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. We must do a better job of not only educating our children, but of instilling in them a sense of how important grammar is. Therefore, I offer two proposals:

Firstly, let’s do a better job of using grammar checker software and making sure our children use grammar checker software. We’re lucky enough to live in 2016, a time in which programs like WhiteSmoke and Grammarly can help teach us about our grammatical shortcomings and how to improve on them. These aren’t just your basic, misplaced-comma mistakes either – these programs will help make you a better writer across the board. Take advantage of them! Edumuch has a bunch of info about these programs as well as how to use proper grammar.grammar-neglecting epidemic

Secondly, I propose that we glorify only our well-written and educated celebrities. Instead of the Kardashians or LeBron James, please follow Bill Nye the Science Guy, Neil Degrasse Tyson, George R.R. Martin, and J.K. Rowling on Twitter today. Thank you!

Why Standardized Testing Stinks

Standardized testing is inherently flawed – that much is clear. The question is, how do we go about improving our processes which are reliant on standardized testing to function efficiently? The bottom line is, standardized testing does a terrible job of measuring important qualities, such as any kind of deep or critical thinking, and more so, all test takes take the same exam under the same multiple choice conditions – a system which doesn’t account for a number of important differences and factors that can and should be weighed by our education system.Standardized testing

These tests are not remotely objective – the only objectivity that comes into play in these tests is the scoring. Deciding which material the test should cover, how to grade answers, and how to administer the exams is completely subjective. For example, if there is one student who knows 80 percent of the course material superbly well, and one student who knows 20 percent of the course material well that the first student doesn’t know, but only that 20 percent, and by chance the exam disproportionately weighs that 20 percent, the first student will be unfairly screwed by the system!

Test Scores Aren’t Reliable

Test scores are not entirely reliable given the issue of measurement errors and such, meaning that a score may vary depending on the day due to a number of different unpredictable factors within the exam as well as the student. Test scores don’t necessarily reflect tangible differences among people either; tests are intended to sort students based on performance, but measurement errors can come into play and disrupt certain factors and consistencies, artificially and unfairly hurting certain students.

Tests do not even reflect knowledge about how students learn – essentially, as people and our way of thinking and learning has evolved, standardized testing has remained exactly the same, which is obviously flawed and illogical. Cognitive and psychological developments aren’t considered in standardized testing, which is unfair for students.

Bias is something that cannot be removed from standardized exams by definition. Inevitably certain material and information will be more strongly represented in testing than others, which skews the results in that we aren’t getting an accurate idea of what the student knows of the whole of the material, only of that specific material that has been chosen. Additionally, research shows that teachers do not even find the scores and results for students from standardized testing to be helpful! If teachers can’t learn and benefit from standardized testing, what use is it continue to make students take standardized tests.

It’s time to introduce testing into the 21st century. Nearly everyone concedes that standardized testing is outdated and inefficient, but the protocols and procedures that are supposed to be standard themselves are keeping the same old not-helpful systems in place, hurting everyone in the process. My recommendation would be to begin phasing out standardized testing slowly, so as to learn which replacement for it works best over time and via trial and error. If we begin doing this now we will most certainly be able to build a better education system for our children. We here are all about self improvement so it’s important for us to promote ideas that create a better future.