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The Writing Program Undergraduate Studies

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Undergraduate Writing Assessment Requirement

The Undergraduate GWAR is a CSU-wide requirement that should be completed by undergraduate and second bachelor’s students in their junior year.

Writing Placement for Junior (WPJ) is a prerequisite to enrolling in a Writing Intensive course.

Questions & Contact

WPJ in person Exam update

While GWAR is on hold on CSU campuses with only in person exams, the WPJ placement score at Sac State is still a prerequisite for students to take a Writing Intensive course.

The WPJ in person exam will not be offered while the campus is physically closed. Sac State has been developing a WPJ Portfolio option for the past several semesters. The WPJ Portfolio option (see below for dates and details) is available to all students to receive a WPJ placement score. Students may also choose to take ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W to receive a WPJ placement score (see below for course details).

WPJ Placement

Students should plan to receive a WPJ Placement score:

  • after completing ENGL 20 or the equivalent requirement*
  • after reaching junior-standing (completing 60 units of coursework), and
  • before completing 75 units of coursework

When the above conditions are met, students can choose one of the following options to receive a WPJ Placement score:

  1. Submit a WPJ Portfolio: Spring 2021 WPJ Portfolio Information
    • Email your name and student ID number to gwar@csus.edu. Students who have completed ENGL 20 or the equivalent will receive an invitation to a Canvas course. The Canvas course will provide instructions and guidance on creating and submitting a portfolio. This is not a graded or unit bearing course.

OR

  1. Take a 3 unit English Course: ENGL109M or ENGL 109W

*Please remember that students must complete their second-semester composition requirement (ENGL 20 or the equivalent, earning a grade of C- or better) before receiving a WPJ Placement score.

The WPJ Portfolio Option

Students must receive a C- or better in ENGL 20 or meet the equivalent requirement to submit a WPJ Portfolio in Canvas. To request the Canvas course, please send your name and Student ID number to gwar@csus.edu.

The WPJ Portfolio asks students to submit two essays previously written for college level credit and complete a survey. The essays and the survey are completed in a Canvas course.

The WPJ Portfolio Canvas course will provide detailed instructions and guidance on creating and submitting a portfolio. The Canvas course will also include video tutorials, a set of FAQs, and the self-assessment survey where you submit your portfolio. This course is not a graded or unit bearing course. Canvas is the site used to submit your portfolio for scoring.

WPJ Portfolios are accepted 5 times annually

Please plan to submit a WPJ portfolio at least 1-2 semesters BEFORE planning to enrolling in a Writing Intensive course. Students should plan ahead.

Submission Period Deadline Date Scores Available
Spring Second Submission May 14, 2021 June 11, 2021
Summer Submission July 16, 2021 By start of Fall Semester
Fall First Submission October 8, 2021 November 15, 2021
Fall Second Submission December 10, 2021 January 17, 2022
Spring First Submission March 4, 2022 April 8, 2022
Please note dates are subject to change. Please check for updates regularly.

WPJ Placement Scores

When To Expect Your Results

WPJ exam and WPJ Portfolio Scores are available 3 - 4 weeks after the exam or submission date. Scores can be found in the Student Center > Test Score Summary.

What Your Score Means

  • 90: GWAR fulfilled at another CSU campus. Pass a Writing Intensive course.
  • 80: Pass a Writing Intensive course
  • 70: Pass a Writing Intensive course and ENGL 109X concurrently.
  • 60/50: Pass ENGL 109W or 109M, then pass a Writing Intensive course.

What does my WPJ Portfolio score of 1-5 mean?

Please refer to your Canvas account and CSUS email for full WPJ Portfolio recommendations. Below is a abbreviated explanation of WPJ Portfolio scores.

5 - Exceptional Writer: The student’s self-assessment and writing samples demonstrate a strong understanding of writing and the process of composing cogent and engaging texts. It may not be easy moving those skills into new or unfamiliar writing situations, but the student has a strong set of skills to support those kinds of transitions.

4 - Strong Writer: The student’s writing demonstrates the traits of a college-level writer. Upper-division writing assignments will be challenging, but the student has the skills required to meet those challenges. The student still may be interested in seeking assistance while working in new or unfamiliar writing situations.

3 - Competent Writer: The student’s writing demonstrates many of the traits of a college-level writer. Upper-division writing assignments will be challenging, but the student has the tools required to meet those challenges. The student may, however, require some assistance while learning to use those tools in new or unfamiliar writing situations.

We strongly recommend you consider utilizing the following resources to support your work in a Writing Intensive course:

  • The University Reading & Writing Center
  • English 121: 1-unit course with 1-to-1 tutoring session in the Reading & Writing Center.
  • English 109X: 1-unit tutorial taken along with a Writing Intensive course

2 - Developing Understanding of Grammar & Mechanics: The development of the student’s writing ability is still at an early stage for a college-level writer, but the major challenges are related to issues of grammar and mechanics. These types of challenges are best addressed through courses on grammar and/or extra time and assistance while proofreading and editing of written work.

We strongly recommend you consider utilizing the following resources before enrolling in a Writing Intensive course:

  • English 109M: 3-unit course that counts towards graduation taught by faculty that specialize in working with multilingual writers and focuses on writing in your discipline.
  • ENGL 85: 2-unit course that focuses on grammar and editing academic writing.
  • English 60: 2-unit course that focuses on techniques that improve reading efficiency and comprehension

1 - Developing Writer: The development of the student’s writing ability is still at an early stage for a college-level writer. Upper-division writing assignments will likely present serious challenges. The most effective way to meet these challenges is seeking out more writing instruction before enrolling in a WI course.

We strongly recommend you consider utilizing the following resources before enrolling in a Writing Intensive course:

  • English 109W: 3-unit course that counts towards graduation and focuses on writing in your discipline.
  • ENGL 85: 2-unit course that focuses on grammar and editing academic writing.
  • English 60: 2-unit course that focuses on techniques that improve reading efficiency and comprehension.

0 - Incomplete Portfolio: The portfolio is incomplete and therefore does not meet the basic requirements for moving on to take a Writing Intensive course. If students receive a Zero, they may have the opportunity to resubmit a complete portfolio within a limited time. If they cannot remedy the incomplete in that time, students have to wait until the next submission date.

Questions & Contact

Assessment Criteria

Exams and Portfolios are scored according to the following criteria:

  1. Focus: Identifying and communicating a focus that connects ideas from multiple texts provided.
  2. Position: Articulating your own position on the communicated focus.
  3. Cohesion: Composing an introduction, body, and conclusion that analyze and connect major ideas to advance the writer’s focus and position.
  4. Development: Supporting your position with specific details and examples appropriate for an academic audience.
  5. Conventions: Using a writing style appropriate for an academic essay.
  6. Editing: Displaying adequate control of grammar and mechanics appropriate to an early draft.

Preparing for a Writing Intensive Course

Campus resources you may want to utilize while performing writing tasks in upper-division settings include the following:

  • The University Reading & Writing Center
  • English 121: 1-unit course with 1-to-1 tutoring session in the Reading & Writing Center
  • English 109X: 1-unit tutorial taken along with a Writing Intensive course
  • Peer Feedback from students in your Writing Intensive Course
  • Faculty Office Hours
  • AIRC: Help with software and writing technology
  • University Library Website: Research and writing resources
  • Subject Librarian: Research in a specific area
  • PARC: Subject-specific tutoring

For more information about Writing Intensive Requirements, please review information in the University Catalog.