According to a new report by the Canadian Council of Learning, 20% of Canadian university students can't read above a 3rd Level, which means that they are functioning illiterates.
As a Canadian, I hope this shocks you but I must say that as a TA in a Canadian university, this doesn't shock me at all. Some of the stuff I read would give an English Lit Doctor, heart palpitations.
I suppose I spoke too soon when spoke about the Big Decision. I suppose the decision shouldn't be "College" or "University" but rather "Dr Seuss" or "Judy Blume"? Hell, even R.L Stine would do the trick. Anything to get people reading, I suppose.
Because this is not just a problem for the TAs of the world who are forced to read papers with spelling mistakes on the title page or 6 page papers with no paragraph break, the truth is that statistics like this are a real smear on anyone's BA. If I have a BA and you have a BA, but I can read at a university level and you're at the junior high level, suddenly my BA doesn't look so good.
But above all else, it is a true disgrace that in Canada, in 2009, 20% of university students are functionally illiterate. Think about those that didn't make it into university and then the statistic really starts to sink in.
We are in a world of hurt if we don't get this addressed.