I note with some concern David Haldane's article, "Cal State Long Beach Students Assail Graduation Essay Exam" (March 31 reprise of earlier story in Long Beach section of The Times). My concern is not with students' criticism of the exam, per se, nor their desire for a more detailed evaluation (although this may or may nor be justified); it is with the attitude of students expressed in the quote from Stacey Schwartz: "I'm not going to be a writer, I (want) to be a psychologist. This is garbage."
Perhaps the quotation is out of context and does not accurately reflect Ms. Schwartz's understanding of what should be expected of any college graduate, regardless of his or her major study.
Does she not know that most positions of responsibility in the business and professional world frequently require the ability to communicate well and at some length in writing, usually in the form of memorandums, reports and the like? Does she not realize that even psychologists often have to write detailed case histories to be read and understood by others? Does she not see that without the power to express herself adequately in writing she will severely limit her professional career?
Many applications for employment in the better paying positions require applicants to write a half page or so describing themselves, their interests, their job expectations or any other subject. Employers are impressed by a person's ability to organize his thoughts under pressure and present them on paper in a clear, concise manner. And often a quick glance at a short essay that is composed of one-sentence paragraphs, misspelled words and sentence fragments is sufficient for the reader to form a negative impression.