Why Timed Writing Should Stop

By: Ethan Rampersaud

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

It’s the beginning of my second period English class in Mrs. Irene Salazar’s class, and her do now is on the board. Today’s do now, “Write about greetings within 10 minutes”. I begin writing, jotting down every word that enters my mind. But ten minutes comes by too soon, and in the end, I have a short, low quality piece of writing on the table. If you have seen my other works, as well as those from many other writers for this website,  you can analyze the the time put into every detail of writing, and how it appeals to the audience with picturesque and emotive language. These pieces were not made in the time frame of ten minutes. Writing can take thirty minutes, fifty minutes, and even hours to make epic pieces come to life for the reader. Teachers and standardized tests need to understand that some students need more time to produce high quality and jaw dropping writing.

As stated before, the ingredient to every piece of quality writing is time, time that is not wasted. Every minute of effort is poured into every word, every sentence, and every paragraph. Great speeches from our most charismatic politicians were not jotted down in 10 minutes nor 50 minutes, but took much more time to produce, revise, and strengthen before they were created. So why can’t student’s have enough time to revise and repair their writing?

A time limit can contribute to placing students under stress, and that stress can contribute to lackluster and underwhelming pieces. The students focus more on placing a quantity of words on a page rather than noticing the quality of words on that page. Going back to Mrs. Irene Salazar’s classroom in second period, I feel pressured to place 150 words on a page in 10 minutes rather than able think about the topic, able to draft my essay and able to revise my essay. This pressure is also found in standardized tests for writing, such as “FCAT Writes!” and the FSA’s Standardized Writing.

I concede to the fact that students should not take a long time to create a day’s worth of writing, but neither should a time limit constrain them from their full potential. There should be enough time for students to show their real colors when writing their pieces. With a time limit, some students who are talented in writing are not able to reveal their true ability.

To summarize, teachers and standardized tests should stop testing students through timed writing. Timed writing creates inaccurate and low quality representations of student work. This type of writing makes students observe the amount of words they are typing more than the quality of the words itself. Although teachers and standardized tests do want to observe quality in a short time frame, it is a hard tasks for most students. It should be understood that all students work at different paces, and that some students cannot create quality in a 30, 40 or 50 minute time frame. In this way, all students have an equal chance to succeed.

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