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GRADUATE WRITING ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENT (GWAR) - …

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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 GarrettDirector 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.
TESTDAY MATERIALS
Students are to bring:GWE admission ticket with CSUDH Student IDnumber*An acceptable form of photo identificationA writing instrument: #2 pencils or blue/black ink pensA dictionary and/or thesaurus are optional.Electronicdictionaries 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 TestingCenterwill provide the exambluebook.*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
Ateach of the score points for on-topic papers, the descriptors of writing performance are lettered. The letters refer to:a. response to the topicb. understanding and use of the material in the promptc. quality and clarity of thoughtd. organization, development and supporte. syntax and command of languagef. grammar, usage, and mechanics6, 5 and 4 are passing.3, 2 and 1 are not passing(Key words are highlighted)
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE #6
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, andf. is generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE – Prompt 5
5StrongA5essay 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 tosomeaspects of the taskmore effectivelythan others,b. demonstrates asound critical understandingof the prompt in developing a well-reasoned response,c. showssome depthand complexity of thought,d. iswell-organized and developed, with ideas supported byappropriate reasons and examples,e. displayssomesyntactic variety andfacility in the use of language, andf. may havea few errorsin grammar, usage, and mechanics.
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE #4
4AdequateA4essay 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, butmay slight some aspectsof the task,b. demonstrates agenerally accurate understandingof the prompt in developing a sensible response,c. may treat the topicsimplistically or repetitivelyd. isadequatelyorganized and developed,generally supporting ideaswith reasons and examples,e. demonstratesadequate use ofsyntax andlanguage, andf. may havesome errors, but generally demonstrates control of grammar, usage, and mechanics.
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE #3
3Sub-MarginalA3essay demonstrates developing competence, but is flawed in some significant way(s). A typical essay in this category revealsone or moreof the followingweaknesses:a.distorts or neglectsaspects of the taskb. demonstrates some understanding of the prompt, but maymisconstrueparts of it ormake limited useof it in developing a weak responsec.lacks focus, or demonstratesconfused or simplisticthinkingd. ispoorlyorganized and developed, presenting generalizationswithout adequate and appropriate supportor presenting details without generalizationse. haslimited controlof syntaxand vocabularyf. has anaccumulation of errorsin grammar, usage, and mechanics that sometimes interfere with meaning
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE #2
2InadequateA2essay isseriously flawed. An essay in this category revealsone or moreof the following weaknesses:a. indicatesconfusionabout the topic orneglectsimportant aspects of the task,b. demonstratesvery poor understandingof 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 focusand coherence, and often fails to communicate its ideas,d. has veryweakorganization and development, providingsimplistic generalizations without support,e. hasinadequate controlof syntax and vocabulary, andf. is marred bynumerous errorsin grammar, usage, and mechanics that frequently interfere with meaning.
SIX POINT SCORING GUIDE #1
1IncompetentA1essay demonstratesfundamental deficienciesin writing skills. A typical essay in this category revealsone or moreof the following weaknesses:a. suggests aninability to comprehendthe question or to respond meaningfully to the topic,b. demonstrates little orno ability to understandthe prompt or to use it in developing a response,c. isunfocused, illogical, or incoherent,d. isdisorganizedand undeveloped, providinglittle or no relevant support,e.lacks basic controlof syntax and vocabulary, andf. hasserious and persistent errorsin grammar, usage, and mechanics that severely interfere with meaning.
Chief Reader
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 FORA 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 words10 minutes Make abriefoutline30 minutes Write essaySkip every other line and write only on the right-handpage15 minutes Proofread and reviseMake corrections above lines or add extra text on the left-hand page
PROMPTS
You will be given only one prompt (no choice).The prompt identifies atopic(the subject matter to be discussed) and specifies atask(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
Circlewords 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 double-check that you are remaining on topic.
UNDERSTAND THE TASK
Underlinethe 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.
Common Imperative Verbs continued:
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.
More Common Imperative Verbs:
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 inyellow, imperative verbs inred, and other essential parts of the directive that should be underlined inpink.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.
PRACTICE PROMPTS continued
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 societyandmaintaining ethnic identity, are not always compatible. Often,successis interpreted as total immersion in and assimilation by the new culture. Do you agree or disagree with this assumption?Arguefor a lifestyle that emphasizesassimilationora lifestyle that emphasizes themaintenance of cultural ties, andindicatewhichlifestylebetterleads to successin the American culture.
More PRACTICE PROMPTS
From infancy to adulthood,advertisingis in the air Americans breathe, the information we absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind withpictures of perfectionand 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 certainfuzziness of perception.Barbara TuchmanWrite a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:Selectanddiscusssome specificexamples of advertisingthat illustrate what Tuchman calls “pictures ofperfectionsand goals ofhappiness”;Explainhowsuch advertisements canlead toa certain “fuzziness of perception,” adistorted picture of reality;Discusswhat you consider to be some of theimportant effectsof widespread and pervasiveadvertising on individualshere in America.
PRACTICE PROMPTS additional information
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 theoreticallymarry“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 TofflerWrite a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:Discusshow marriageas an institution inAmericaischanging;Identifysome of thesignsthatmarriagesareno longerexpected tolast a lifetime;Explainthe possiblesocial effectsof viewingmarriageas aless than permanentrelationship.
PRACTICE PROMPTS more information
A leading scientist noted that in attempting tosolvemajorproblemsthat 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 isscience and technology. A noted philosopher, however, has observed that almost all our major problems involvehuman behavior. Consequently, our major problems cannot be solved by science and technology.Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which youcontrastthe positions of thescientistand thephilosopher.Selecta major societal problemanddiscussthe roles oftechnologyandhuman behaviorinsolving the problem. To what extent do youagree with the scientist? To what extent do youagree with the philosopher? Is this problembest solvedthrough the use oftechnologyorthrough the adjustment ofhuman behavior?
PRACTICE PROMPTS -lastly
It is generally agreed that asociety benefitsfrom the contributions of bothartistsandscientists. Write a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:Compareandcontrastthecontributions of artists to societywith the contributions ofscientiststo society;Identifywhichtype of contribution you think ismore valued by society.
SKETCH A PLAN/OUTLINE
Having circled topic and underlined task, the next step is to make abriefoutline. 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.
SKETCHA PLAN/OUTLINE continued
From infancy to adulthood,advertisingis in the air Americans breathe, the information we absorb, almost without knowing it. It floods our mind withpictures of perfectionand 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 certainfuzziness of perception.Barbara TuchmanWrite a well organized and fully developed essay in which you do the following:Selectanddiscusssome specificexamples of advertisingthat illustrate what Tuchman calls “pictures ofperfectionsand goals ofhappiness”;Explainhowsuch advertisements canlead toa certain “fuzziness of perception,” adistorted picture of reality;Discusswhat you consider to be some of theimportant effectsof widespread and pervasiveadvertising on individualshere in America.
SKETCH A PLAN/OUTLINE - more
The task (denoted above in red and pink) is rewritten.Select and discussexamples of advertising –perfection/happinessExplainhow lead to distorted picture of realityDiscussimportant effects advertising on individuals
By rewriting the task, you are sure not to miss anything in the prompt. Then fill in your own personal response/details. See below.
Add details to the task
Add details to the task continued
Select and discussexamples of advertisingpictures of perfection/happiness-beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends-makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles-physiques of models: size 0Explainhow lead to distorted picture of reality-drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior-can’t look like 19 year old actress on TV-models not representative of the average populationDiscussimportant 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 eitherdiscuss examples of advertising: beer, makeup, models,explain how they are each distorted pictures of reality anddiscuss each of their effectsor
ORDERYOUR POINTS continued
Select and discussexamples of advertisingpictures of perfection/happiness1-beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends-makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles-physiques of models: size 0Explainhow lead to distorted picture of reality-drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior2-can’t look like 19 year old actress on TV-models not representative of the average populationDiscussimportant effects advertising on individuals-alcoholism, binge drinking, underage drinking3-low self-esteem, ageism, plastic surgery, botox-anorexia/bulimia
ALTERNATE ORGANIZATION
Discuss the picture of perfection created inbeeradvertisements, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects.Discuss the picture of perfection created inmakeupadvertisements, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects.Discuss the picture of perfection created withmodels’ physiques, say how they distort reality and make claims about the effects.
ALTERNATE ORGANIZATION continued
Select and discussexamples of advertisingpictures of perfection/happiness1-beer: perfect life/beautiful girl/fancy car/friends2-makeup: flawless skin, no wrinkles3-physiques of models: size 0Explainhow lead to distorted picture of reality1-drinking actually produces beer belly, antisocial behavior2-can’t look like 19 year old actress on TV3-models not representative of the average populationDiscussimportant effects advertising on individuals1-alcoholism, binge drinking, underage drinking2-low self-esteem, ageism, plastic surgery, botox3-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 societyIdentify which type of contribution you think is more valued by society.
Subdivide the bullet that is more complicated
contributions of artists to societycontributions of scientists to societywhich contribution is more valued by society.
DRAFT
Using the outline, create your introductory, body and concluding paragraphs.When writing the introduction,pretendyour reader has not read the prompt so you don’t 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
Advertisingpervades our daily life. We are continuously bombarded with images of blissfulperfectionthat could never be achieved in “real” life. Without our even knowing, these images become the standards by which we measure ourselves,distorting our perceptionsof our world. These distortions can lead to serious psychological problems.
SAMPLE INTRODUCTION continued
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.
SAMPLE INTRODUCTION – moreinformaiton
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.
SAMPLE INTRODUCTION - lastly
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 don’t 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.
You will receive yourtest score by score letter, mailed to the address provided at registration,inapproximately4-6weeks.If youdonot receive a passing score, you mayrequest an advisement of your essay from the GWAR advisor. The form is downloadable on the Testing Center website:GWEAdvisement Form[pdf]If thiswas your first attempt at the examination, you may register and sit the exam for a second and final time.
AFTER THE TEST
GOOD LUCK!

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GRADUATE WRITING ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENT (GWAR) - …