Education: Bonehead English

Almost half the freshmen at the University of California at Berkeley flunked an English composition exam this fall. They have had to enroll in a remedial course known around the campus as "Bonehead English." At the University of Miami, the English department has set up an elaborate tutoring center where video tapes are used to help entering students learn grammar, punctuation and organization. At the University of Houston, 60% of the freshmen fail the first three essays they write. Says Jesse Hartley, Houston's director of freshman English: "Students can't carry through an idea in writing; they have no idea what...

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