Encouraging Students to Apply Their Skills Now: Make QA a Routine Part of the Writing Process

When manufacturers produce something, an essential step in the process is quality assurance (QA), a methodical evaluation of the product’s quality relative to its design goals. This is the last chance before the product ships out to customers to make sure it is something the company can be proud of.

Encourage students to make QA an essential part of their communication efforts, whether they’re writing reports, crafting presentations, or completing any other type of assignment. By practicing now on assignments in all their classes, QA will be second nature when they’re writing and presenting on the job.

Just as in manufacturing, QA in writing is more effective if it follows an explicit, step-by-step process, rather than randomly looking for mistakes. If you haven’t already given your students a proofreading checklist, they can use the following tools:

  • In Business Communication Essentials, 8th ed: Table 5.4: Proofreading Tips, page 126
  • In Excellence in Business Communication, 13th ed: Checklist: Proofing Business Messages, page 206, and Five-Minute Guide to Revising and Proofreading, page 215
  • In Business Communication Today, 14th ed: Checklist: Proofing Business Messages, page 170

With each assignment, remind students to give themselves enough time to evaluate their first drafts, revise to improve readability, edit for clarity and conciseness, and then produce professional-quality output. Once they get in the habit, producing high-quality documents and presentations won’t take much more time and energy than producing mediocre work.

Self-Coaching Ideas for Your Students

  1. Do you ever feel the temptation to say, “Eh, that’s good enough” on an assignment when you know you could do better? What can you do to reset your priorities so that quality work is a matter of habit?
  2. Do you need to examine your work methods to make sure you leave enough time to do an effective QA check on every assignment?


Image credit: Stuart Whitmore