Shorthand exam sittings rise for third year in a row

The number of NCTJ shorthand exams sat this year increased by 8 per cent, the third year in a row numbers have risen.

The news comes as Shorthand Week starts today, a week of events celebrating shorthand which takes place from Tuesday 10 November to Monday 16 November and includes the launch of a new textbook, a radio interview and fun competitions for students.

There were 4,424 NCTJ shorthand exam sittings at speeds of 60wpm, 70wpm, 80wpm, 90wpm, 100wpm, 110wpm and 120wpm during the academic year of 2008/09, 321 more than the 4,103 sittings in 2007/08. In the year 2006/07 there were 3,131 shorthand exam sittings.

This year saw the largest number of shorthand exams sat since the 60wpm and 70wpm exams were first introduced three years ago during the academic year of 2006/07.

The shorthand exam pass rate also rose this year to 51 per cent, up from the 47 per cent pass rate achieved in 2007/08. In 2006/07 the pass rate was 48 per cent.

The figures were unveiled at a recent meeting of the NCTJ shorthand board.

Marie Cartwright, NCTJ shorthand chief examiner and chairman of the NCTJ shorthand board, said: “The number of students taking and passing exams, at all speeds, has increased this year compared with last year.

“Shorthand remains a vital skill for a journalist and even though it can be challenging for some learners to achieve the NCTJ's gold standard of 100 wpm, the time and effort spent is well worth it.”

A new NCTJ textbook, NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists written by Marie Cartwright, has been published by Pearson and will be launched at the Society of Editors’ Conference on Monday 16th November, an event held as part of Shorthand Week.

Shorthand Week student events will be held at NCTJ accredited centres across the UK including the Press Association Training Centre in Newcastle, Bournemouth University and Sheffield College, where students will play shorthand bingo.

Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, is due to speak on the continuing importance of shorthand to today’s journalists on Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday 12th November.

Learning resources, which include a Teeline crossword and instructions to hold Teeline bingo and a shorthand race can be found on the NCTJ website www.nctj.com along with articles in which editors, journalists and senior trainers highlight the importance of shorthand in their day-to-day work.