Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (Gwar)

Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (Gwar)

TIPS FOR TAKING THE GRADUATION WRITING EXAMINATION (GWE) (also see Handbook posted on line for further information on testing details, sample prompts and sample essays) Prepared by: Anne Garrett Director of GWAR Undergraduates may satisfy the GWAR by meeting one of the following criteria: 1. A score of 8 or higher on the Graduation Writing Examination (GWE). 2. A grade of C or higher in English 350. 3. Credit in both IDS 397 and IDS 398. 4. Completion of the GWAR at another CSU campus in 1984 or later, along with the

granting of the Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR through the Testing Office. Graduate students may satisfy the GWAR by meeting one of the following criteria: 1. A score of 8 or higher on the Graduate Writing Examination. 2. A grade of B or higher in English 350. 3. Written acknowledgment from the instructor of IDS 397 and IDS 398 that performance in coursework was commensurate with a grade of B. 4. Completion of the GWAR at another CSU campus in 1984 or later, along with granting of Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR filed with the Testing Office. 5. A grade of B or higher in an accepted upper division composition course from another university. Students who have taken the equivalent of our Advanced Composition course, ENG 350, may request a review of its equivalency. Students complete a Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR at the Testing Office, attaching a copy of an official transcript and the catalog

description of the pertinent coursework. 6. For graduate students in English Literature, satisfactory performance on the Graduate Exercise administered by the English Department. 7. For graduate students in the MBA program, a score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GMAT. 8. A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE. TEST DAY MATERIALS Students are to bring: GWE admission ticket with CSUDH Student ID number* An acceptable form of photo identification

A writing instrument: #2 pencils or blue/black ink pens A dictionary and/or thesaurus are optional. Electronic dictionaries are permitted but may not have grammar or style check and cannot be plugged in to function. The room supervisor will inspect all electronic dictionaries. The CSUDH Testing Center will provide the exam bluebook. *Admission Tickets will be sent to your TOROMAIL the week of the examination. Admission tickets must be completed and in hand on the morning of the exam. Electronic tickets are

not accepted. SCORING OF ESSAYS Each essay is read independently by two readers. A score from 1 to 6 is assigned by each reader. The readers are not aware of the score given by the other reader.

The two scores are added together. The highest possible score is 12 (6+6). The lowest possible score is 0 (given to an essay that is off topic). Passing is 8 (4+4. SCORING INVOLVES THREE MAIN AREAS Comprehension of Prompt and Focus on Task. Students must carefully read the prompt and address any and all tasks presented.

Organization and Development. Essays must have coherent and complete paragraphs with sufficient supporting detail and examples to persuade the reader. Grammar and Punctuation. Essay must be written in standard, correct English, generally free from grammatical errors, spelling errors and punctuation errors. SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE At each of the score points for on-topic papers, the descriptors of writing performance are lettered. The letters refer to:

a. response to the topic b. understanding and use of the material in the prompt c. quality and clarity of thought d. organization, development and support e. syntax and command of language f. grammar, usage, and mechanics 6, 5 and 4 are passing. 3, 2 and 1 are not passing (Key words are highlighted) 6 Superior A 6 essay demonstrates superior writing, but may have minor flaws. A typical essay in this category: a. addresses the topic clearly and responds effectively to all aspects of the task, b. demonstrates a thorough critical understanding

of the prompt in developing an insightful response, c. explores the issues thoughtfully and in depth, d. is coherently organized and developed, with ideas supported by apt reasons and well-chosen examples, e. has an effective, fluent style marked by syntactic variety and a clear command of language, and f. is generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. 5 Strong A 5 essay demonstrates clear competence in writing. It may have some errors, but they are not serious enough to distract or confuse the reader. A typical essay in this category: a. clearly addresses the topic, but may respond to some aspects of the task more effectively than others,

b. demonstrates a sound critical understanding of the prompt in developing a well-reasoned response, c. shows some depth and complexity of thought, d. is well-organized and developed, with ideas supported by appropriate reasons and examples, e. displays some syntactic variety and facility in the use of language, and f. may have a few errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. #4 4 Adequate A 4 essay demonstrates adequate writing. It may have some errors that distract the reader, but they do not significantly obscure meaning. A typical essay in this category: a. addresses the topic, but may slight some aspects of the task,

b. demonstrates a generally accurate understanding of the prompt in developing a sensible response, c. may treat the topic simplistically or repetitively d. is adequately organized and developed, generally supporting ideas with reasons and examples, e. demonstrates adequate use of syntax and language, and f. may have some errors, but generally demonstrates control of grammar, usage, and mechanics. #3 3 Sub-Marginal A 3 essay demonstrates developing competence, but is flawed in some significant way(s). A typical essay in this

category reveals one or more of the following weaknesses: a. distorts or neglects aspects of the task b. demonstrates some understanding of the prompt, but may misconstrue parts of it or make limited use of it in developing a weak response c. lacks focus, or demonstrates confused or simplistic thinking d. is poorly organized and developed, presenting generalizations without adequate and appropriate support or presenting details without generalizations e. has limited control of syntax and vocabulary f. has an accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics that sometimes interfere with meaning

#2 2 Inadequate A 2 essay is seriously flawed. An essay in this category reveals one or more of the following weaknesses: a. indicates confusion about the topic or neglects important aspects of the task, b. demonstrates very poor understanding of the main points of the prompt, does not use the prompt appropriately in developing a response, or may not use the prompt at all, c. lacks focus and coherence, and often fails to communicate its ideas, d. has very weak organization and development, providing simplistic generalizations without support, e. has inadequate control of syntax and vocabulary, and f. is marred by numerous errors in grammar, usage,

and mechanics that frequently interfere with meaning. #1 1 Incompetent A 1 essay demonstrates fundamental deficiencies in writing skills. A typical essay in this category reveals one or more of the following weaknesses: a. suggests an inability to comprehend the question or to respond meaningfully to the topic, b. demonstrates little or no ability to understand the prompt or to use it in developing a response, c. is unfocused, illogical, or incoherent, d. is disorganized and undeveloped, providing little or no relevant support,

e. lacks basic control of syntax and vocabulary, and f. has serious and persistent errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics that severely interfere with meaning. Papers that reject the assignment or fail to address the question must be given to the Chief Reader. A score of zero (0) may be assigned for essays written off- topic. GUIDELINES FOR A SUCCESSFUL ESSAY TIME ALLOCATION One hour is provided (or two hours for second language students) and should be allocated approximately as follows:

5 minutes Read prompt and underline key words 10 minutes Make a brief outline 30 minutes Write essay Skip every other line and write only

the right-hand page 15 minutes Proofread and revise Make corrections above lines or add extra text on the left-hand page on PROMPTS You will be given only one prompt (no choice). The prompt identifies a topic (the subject matter to be discussed) and specifies a task (what is to be done with that subject the prompt will either call for creation of

an argument or ask you to compare and contrast a specific subject). UNDERSTAND THE TOPIC Circle words that indicate the topic of the question. Circle selectively, choosing only those that are absolutely needed and being sure not to neglect key words. Glance back at these circled words while writing the essay to doublecheck that you are remaining on topic. UNDERSTAND THE TASK

Underline the task. The task will use directives, often in the form of imperative (command, directive) verbs. First identify and underline the imperative verbs. Then underline any other essential words that clearly delineate the task. Common Imperative Verbs: Analyze Divide the subject into its component parts and present a more in depth look at each part and then explain

how each relates to the whole. Compare Develop the similarities between one subject and another. Contrast Explore the difference between two subjects, explaining the importance of the ways they are not alike. Define Establish boundaries for or set limits on a subject. Tell what the subject is by differentiating it from other closely related subjects. Tell what it is not. Describe Paint a word picture with sensory details. Discuss Literally talk about the subject. Be sure to create a thesis that will steer you away from vagueness. Illuminate a specific territory that you can support with

details. Evaluate Explore the value of the subject. Use relevant criteria to judge the worth of the subject. Explain Show or make clear, establish connections, tell why, how or what, depending on the subject. Identify Distinguish and list the various parts of the subject. Illustrate Explain by example and detail. Interpret Share your understanding of the subject. Explain the significance of the idea, event or process in order to explain its meaning. Summarize Explain the subject briefly in your own words. Generally this directive is

used to prompt you to demonstrate your command of certain facts or ideas. PRACTICE PROMPTS Topic is denoted in yellow, imperative verbs in red, and other essential parts of the directive that should be underlined in pink. Any reading passage at the beginning of the prompt must be considered part of the prompt and be incorporated into comprehension of topic and task. There is no doubt that America is a

melting pot; by the same token, there is no doubt that most members of specific races and nationalities strive their whole lives to maintain a link with their original ethnic identity and culture. The two impulses, blending into American society and maintaining ethnic identity, are not always compatible. Often, success is interpreted as total immersion in and assimilation by the new culture. Do you agree or disagree with this assumption? Argue for a lifestyle that emphasizes assimilation or a lifestyle that emphasizes the maintenance of cultural ties, and indicate which lifestyle better leads to success in the American culture. From infancy to adulthood, advertising is in the air

Americans breathe, the information we absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind with pictures of perfection and goals of happiness easy to attain. . . . We are feeding on foolery, of which a steady diet, for those who feed on little else, cannot help but leave a certain fuzziness of perception. Barbara Tuchman Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following: Select and discuss some specific examples of advertising that illustrate what Tuchman calls pictures of perfections and goals of happiness; Explain how such advertisements can lead to a certain

fuzziness of perception, a distorted picture of reality; Discuss what you consider to be some of the important effects of widespread and pervasive advertising on individuals here in America. We expect our ties with our immediate family to extend throughout the lifetimes of the people involved. This expectation is by no means always fulfilled, as rising divorce rates and family break-ups indicate. Nevertheless, we still theoretically marry until death do us part and the social ideal is a lifetime relationship. Whether this is a proper or realistic expectation of a society in high transience is debatable. The fact remains, however, that family links are expected to be long term if not lifelong, and considerable guilt attaches to the person who breaks off such a relationship. Future Shock, Alvin Toffler Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which

you do the following: Discuss how marriage as an institution in America is changing; Identify some of the signs that marriages are no longer expected to last a lifetime; Explain the possible social effects of viewing marriage as a less than permanent relationship. A leading scientist noted that in attempting to solve major problems that confront our world today, we turn to those things that we do best. We use those things that we think will help us the most, and our strength is science and technology. A noted philosopher, however, has observed that almost all our major problems involve human behavior.

Consequently, our major problems cannot be solved by science and technology. Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which you contrast the positions of the scientist and the philosopher. Select a major societal problem and discuss the roles of technology and human behavior in solving the problem. To what extent do you agree with the scientist? To what extent do you agree with the philosopher? Is this problem best solved through the use of technology or through the adjustment of human behavior? It is generally agreed that a society benefits from the contributions of both artists and scientists. Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following: Compare

and contrast the contributions of artists to society with the contributions of scientists to society; Identify which type of contribution you think is more valued by society. SKETCH A PLAN/OUTLINE Having circled topic and underlined task, the next step is to make a brief outline. The outline should indicate the subject matter of each paragraph. Keep it short-there is not enough time for long, involved outlines. First write down the task (what you have underlined) of the prompt. The prompt below is used as an example. continued From infancy to adulthood, advertising is in the air

Americans breathe, the information we absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind with pictures of perfection and goals of happiness easy to attain. . . . We are feeding on foolery, of which a steady diet, for those who feed on little else, cannot help but leave a certain fuzziness of perception. Barbara Tuchman Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following: Select and discuss some specific examples of advertising that illustrate what Tuchman calls pictures of perfections and goals of happiness; Explain how such advertisements can lead to a certain

fuzziness of perception, a distorted picture of reality; Discuss what you consider to be some of the important effects of widespread and pervasive advertising on individuals here in America. The task (denoted above in red and pink) is rewritten. Select and discuss examples of advertising perfection/happiness Explain how lead to distorted picture of reality

Discuss important effects advertising on individuals Add details to the task By rewriting the task, you are sure not to miss anything in the prompt. Then fill in your own personal response/details. See below. continued Select and discuss examples of advertising pictures of perfection/happiness -beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends -makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles -physiques of models: size 0

Explain how lead to distorted picture of reality -drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior -cant look like 19 year old actress on TV -models not representative of the average population Discuss important effects advertising on individuals -alcoholism, binge drinking, underage drinking -low self-esteem, ageism, plastic surgery, botox -anorexia/bulimia ORDER YOUR POINTS

With the above prompt, there are two ways to create paragraphs. You could either 1) discuss examples of advertising: beer, makeup, models, 2) explain how they are each distorted pictures of reality and 3) discuss each of their effects or 1 2

3 Select and discuss examples of advertising pictures of perfection/happiness -beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends -makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles -physiques of models: size 0 Explain how lead to distorted picture of reality -drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior -cant look like 19 year old actress on TV -models not representative of the average population Discuss important effects advertising on individuals -alcoholism, binge drinking, underage drinking -low self-esteem, ageism, plastic surgery, botox -anorexia/bulimia ALTERNATE ORGANIZATION

1. 2. 3. Discuss the picture of perfection created in beer advertisements, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects. Discuss the picture of perfection created in makeup advertisements, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects. Discuss the picture of perfection created with models physiques, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects.

Select and discuss examples of advertising pictures of perfection/happiness 1-beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends 2-makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles 3-physiques of models: size 0 Explain how lead to distorted picture of reality 1-drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior 2-cant look like 19 year old actress on TV 3-models not representative of the average population

Discuss important effects advertising on individuals 1-alcoholism, binge drinking, underage drinking 2-low self-esteem, ageism, plastic surgery, botox 3-anorexia/bulimia If there are only two bullets in the prompt Compare and contrast the contributions of artists to society with the contributions of scientists to society Identify which type of contribution you think is more valued by society. Subdivide the bullet that is more complicated

contributions of artists to society contributions of scientists to society which contribution is more valued by society. DRAFT Using the outline, create your introductory, body and concluding paragraphs.

When writing the introduction, pretend your reader has not read the prompt so you dont just dive in to what would actually be a first body paragraph. Set the scene and establish the subject matter. Be sure the topic words appear in the introduction to make sure you are on topic. SAMPLE INTRODUCTION Advertising pervades our daily life. We are continuously bombarded with images of blissful perfection that could never be achieved in real life. Without our even knowing, these

images become the standards by which we measure ourselves, distorting our perceptions of our world. These distortions can lead to serious psychological problems. Write the rest of the essay, following your outline for the body paragraphs. Be sure to put in details, specifics, examples. Remember, your reader is not inside your head. Make a point, and then convince your reader on that point. Then make another point, convince your reader, etc. It is helpful to pretend that your reader is skeptical and does not believe a word you are saying. This well help generate sufficient proof for your points.

Keep an eye on the clock. You know how many paragraphs you need to create, so you can budget your time accordingly. Remember to keep glancing back at the question to make sure you stay focused on the task. Remember to keep glancing back at your outline to make sure you are following your plan.

In a timed writing situation, you may not be able to put in every last detail that relates to the subject. Wisely choose which details are needed in order to accomplish the task and leave extraneous detail out. Conversely, if you find you are repeating yourself, stop and try to think of additional supporting detail to develop and prove your thesis. You dont want to waste time or space repeating yourself.

REVISE AND POLISH First ask yourself if you have answered the question clearly and completely. Add in whatever might be missing. Next carefully proofread sentence-by-sentence, checking for misspelled words or grammatical errors.

Check for complete sentences, subject/verb agreement, consistent tense, word choice and punctuation. AFTER THE TEST You will receive your test score by score letter, mailed to the address provided at registration, in approximately 4-6 weeks. If you do not receive a passing score, you may request an advisement of your essay from the GWAR advisor. The form is downloadable on the Testing Center

website: GWE Advisement Form [pdf] If this was your first attempt at the examination, you may register and sit the exam for a second and final time. GOOD LUCK!

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