Plain Language Report Card

2020 Federal Report Card Briefing

David Lipscomb will review the results of the 2020 Federal Report Card

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET

Hosted by Plain Language Community of Practice and Digital.gov

The annual Federal Report Card is a snapshot of how well the federal government is following the 2010 Plain Writing Act. This year, the Center for Plain Language  is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Plain Writing Act, including everything federal agencies have done to give the public the clear communication it needs.

David will explain:

  • How and why agencies need to redo their COVID pages and focus on what the public needs.
  • Ways agencies can improve their “Urgent Help” pages.
  • How and why agencies need to refocus on the Plain Writing Act’s requirements for compliance.

Presenter:

David Lipscomb is the director of the Writing Center and assistant professor at Georgetown University. As a Board member of the Center for Plain Language, David leads the Center’s Report Card program. At Georgetown, David incorporates plain writing principles into his courses and has designed assignments in which students complete plain writing challenges for a number of government agencies. His current research focuses on the ways recent discoveries in the fields of usability and cognitive psychology call into question some traditional pieces of writing advice, such as delaying emphatic points, as in the once-beloved “periodic sentence.”

Before Georgetown, he taught writing at Wake Forest University and Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in English. Outside academia, he has taught writing to hundreds of employees from dozens of corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies, including Kellogg, Fannie Mae, the Red Cross, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Veterans Administration.


The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a group of federal employees from different agencies and specialties who support the use of clear communication in government writing. Join the Community of Practice.