For some time now, people have been worried about the influence that text-messaging is having on children -- in particular, their adoption of certain sayings and abbreviations (sometimes known as "txt spk") and how that influences their written academic work. Most of these concerns appear to be overblown, but the debate's getting kicked up a notch in New Zealand, where officials have approved the use of txt spk on exams (via Textually). A representative of the national school qualifications agency says that students will get credit on their exams for answers written that "clearly shows the required understanding" -- but that in subjects such as English, where proper use of language is one of the grading criteria, use of abbreviations and slang would be penalized. The crux of the whole argument surrounding txt spk in schools has been that students need to know when it's acceptable to use, and when they need to communicate more formally. Obviously when writing an English essay, texting shorthand probably isn't a great idea; for many people, any sort of exam or academic work isn't the proper place to use this sort of language, if for no other reason than because answers written in it may not be clear to the person grading them. Students should understand this, just like they should understand they probably shouldn't write a resume or university application in txt spk. So in that regard, perhaps saying that using the abbreviations is acceptable is a decent idea, because it then puts the onus on students to exercise good judgment (like they'd have to do outside the classroom), and becomes a test of more than just their academic knowledge.
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