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WRITING SAMPLE PLACEMENT TEST (WSPT) - Fact Sheet

University Policy   I   Purpose   I   Description   I   Testing Procedures   I   Results   I   Retesting


University Policy

All incoming undergraduate students (with or without transfer credit for freshman composition) are required to take the Writing Sample Placement Test and, if necessary, follow a program that will develop their writing abilities.

 

Purpose


The Writing Sample Placement Test evaluates the writing abilities of all incoming students.
  • The writing of students without credit for freshman composition is evaluated to determine placement in English 110C or in another course. (See Results section below for a description of other courses.)

  • Students with transfer credit for ENGL 110C must achieve a passing score on the exam in order to meet prerequisites for W-courses in their majors.

Description


The Writing Sample Placement Test is an essay exam.  Students are expected to write an essay of 400-500 words in response to one of three prompts provided.  The prompts address various experiences students might encounter as they transition from high school to college or transfer from one post-secondary institution to another - generally community college to four-year institution.  The prompts allow students to employ a number of development patterns - i.e., description, narration, comparison, cause/effect, and persuasion.  Proper concerns of format are expected; an essay should have an introduction complete with a clearly stated or implied thesis, body of support, and an appropriate conclusion.

Testing Procedures

Testing for the WSPT will be accomplished via Blackboard.  Once the exam is opened, students will be asked to respond to six to ten demographic questions prior to writing the essay.  Responses to the demographic questions are not graded items; they are designed to help provide information about writing instruction across our nation today.  A time limit of one hour and forty-five minutes is allotted for students to complete the demographic questions and write an essay of 400-500 words.

Incoming first-year students will be granted access to the test in Blackboard through their respective Preview sections.
Transfer students, (to include those with transfer credit for ENGL 110C) who take part in a Preview program offered through Orientation/Preview under the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, will be granted access to the test in Blackboard through their respective Preview sections.
Transfer students, who do NOT take part in a Preview program offered through Orientation/Preview under the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, must register here

 

 Results

Incoming freshmen (those without transfer credit for ENGL 100C) may find their results on Leo Online approximately two weeks after they have completed the test.
Students without credit for freshman composition will be placed in one of the following:  ENGL 110C (freshman composition), General Studies 050 (basic writing), or ELC-ESL (a non-credit English as a second language course offered by the English Language Center).
Students with transfer credit for freshman composition may find their results on Leo Online approximately two weeks after they have completed the test. 

 

Retesting

  • There is a ten-week waiting period before a student may retake the Writing Sample Placement Test. 
    • During the summer months, the waiting period will be waived under the following circumstances:

      1. Any student (without transfer credit for ENGL 110C) registered in one of the Freshman Previews may meet with the Director of Academic Skills to review his/her unsuccessful attempt.  Writing strengths and weaknesses will be discussed during the conference, and a plan for taking the test a second time will be provided.  Should the student decide to test a second time to gain better placement, he/she will be able to do so any time after the conference.  Only one subsequent (second) attempt may be taken during the Preview season.

        The Director of Academic Skills sets aside ten hours per week for scheduled conferences during the Preview Season.  These hours are allotted specifically for students without credit for ENGL 110C who wish to take the test a second time.  The hours vary each week, so students should call the Student Success Center at 757-683-3699 for details.  Students out of the local area will be contacted by phone.  Students should call the Student Success Center for details.
      2. Any student with transfer credit for ENGL 110C may call the Student Success Center at 757-683-3699 to schedule an appointment with the Director of Academic Skills to review the unsuccessful attempt.
  • Students may not take this test more than three times unless they can provide evidence of having had writing instruction after the third unsuccessful attempt.
  • The results of the exam are good for five years.

For more detailed information concerning the Writing Sample Placement Test, please consult the Undergraduate Catalog.