Article Summary: Feld et al. (2022) Writing Matters


To examine how the quality of writing in academic papers affects the perceived quality of work and publication rates.

Writing Quality in Academia

The low quality of academic writing is so ubiquitous that it has become a meme. While many academics feel frustrated while reading poorly written papers, this experience does not necessarily motivate us to produce well-written papers. After all, we have many skillsets to develop and demands on our time, and learning to write well involves copious practice and individualized feedback. Research has found that this investment does not necessarily result in higher scientific impact. Further, the ubiquity of low-quality papers shows that such papers are publishable, so it’s not obvious that improving our writing will provide us with tangible benefits. To determine the tangible benefits of investing in writing quality, this paper uses a highly controlled experiment to examine the effect that writing quality has on the perceived quality of work and recommendations for accepting a paper.

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Article Summary: Posner (2011) Proficiency-Based Assessment

Motivation: Most STEM courses use summative assessment almost exclusively, and this practice fails to foster student learning and engagement. To improve learning outcomes, we need to develop, test, and implement formative assessment practices.

Intervention: This study uses a proficiency-based assessment tool for statistics education in which students can resubmit assignments to demonstrate successful achievement of learning outcomes. The tool gives scores of either Mastery, Proficient, Developing, or Not Submitted. Continue reading