Letter: Spell check

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Sir: Another moan about students' literacy (leader, 21 January)! It's always been a problem; but just having returned to teaching and marking after some years in management, I have noticed a dramatic improvement.

My department now requires students to word-process their essays. Even discounting the effect of spelling and grammar checkers, it's clear that most students now take great pride in the quality of their product. They aim for a piece of writing which could go straight into print as it stands. This means that it mustn't merely look beautiful, but it must be literate, well structured, well researched, and well argued.

I used to worry that computers might make students lazy and sloppy. The students I now have the pleasure to teach have converted me to the opposite view.

GEORGE MACDONALD ROSS

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

University of Leeds

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