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Friday, July 20, 2012

Who makes the grade? Plain language report cards for federal agencies | Center for Plain Language

In a news release on July 19, the Center for Plain Language announced grades it had given 12 U.S. government agencies it its first Plain Writing Act Report Card. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to clear communication in government, business, non-profits, and universities.

Each agency got two grades -- the first grade represents how well the agency followed the requirements of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, and the second grade reflects how well the agency followed the “spirit” of the act. That legislation requires the federal government to write all new publications, forms, and publicly distributed documents in a “clear, concise, well-organized” manner that follows the best practices of plain language writing.

The Center for Plain Language highlighted a "A" earned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for meeting the basic requirements and an "F" received by the Veterans Administration.

Annetta L. Cheek, PhD, chair of the Center for Plain Language:
This first Plain Writing Report Card helps ensure that government agencies are following both the letter and the spirit of the Act. We hope to make this an annual event where we grade different agencies each year.
Multiple articles on this report card are reported in today's (July 20) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

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