Before & After | STEM in Education & Industry

My first boss was smart, capable and fun. He was also the master of the endless sentence.

One sentence equaled one paragraph, and one paragraph consumed most of a page. He knew he had that tendency and was quick to joke about it. Every time I encounter a long, convoluted sentence, he comes to mind. I think of him often.

Which brings us to our before and after example. It’s from a publication issued by a coalition of business leaders and educators regarding STEM education. This is not client-generated content, it comes from a completely unrelated source.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, a hot topic for both industry and education. Let’s take a look.
Before
Both the Model and the overall approach aim to foster the development of a knowledge base that allows the diverse community of stakeholders, including policymakers, funders and educators, to examine a range of issues and potential solutions that focus on increasing interest and proficiency among students in STEM majors and careers, as well as meet the dynamic needs of the STEM workforce. Word count: 62

Transition

Both the Model and the overall approach aim to foster the development of a knowledge base that allows the diverse community of stakeholders, including policymakers, funders and educators, to examine a range of issues and potential solutions that focus on increasing interest and proficiency among students in STEM majors and careers, as well as meet the dynamic needs of the STEM workforce.

After (v1)

The Model and overall approach foster development of a knowledge base that allows diverse stakeholders, including policymakers, funders and educators, to examine issues and potential solutions that increase student interest and proficiency in STEM majors and careers, and meet the dynamic needs of the STEM workforce. Word count: 46 | Reduction: 26%

After (v2)

The Model and approach develop a knowledge base that allows stakeholders (policymakers, funders and educators) to examine issues and solutions that increase student interest and proficiency in STEM majors and careers to meet the dynamic needs of the STEM workforce. Word count: 40 | Reduction: 36%
First, a number of Crossbridge industry and education clients are involved in STEM education efforts. For the record, this example is NOT from a client. And, the example shown is just one of many clunkers found in this non-client STEM coalition's online and print content.

Second, sentences of 15 to 20 words help you communicate effectively with diverse groups and readers with varied backgrounds. One source, English Solutions for Engineering Research Writing, recommends 24 words as an average sentence length for technical content.

Finally, while the After versions above substantially reduce length, they exceed recommended averages. The ideal solution might be to break the big concept into two or three short, succinct sentences.

What do you think?

_________________________________


Related
Before & After | STEM Content Revisited
Before & After | Lean Manufacturing
Education & Industry: Divided by the Same Language
Before & After | Keep It Simple

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, I love these before and after articles. Sometimes I laugh wondering what were they thinking? Then, I make a secret promise to myself to pay more attention to my own writing.

Secondly, just for the record - I vote for 2 sentences when possible. It may seem choppy to some but I can keep my focus on the message, not structure. Great job! (please don't edit my comments! I would be embarrassed)

Barbara Spencer Hawk said...

I agree with you, Anon.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...