Office of the President

Reciprocity for Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement Certification; Replaces EM 83-012

Executive Memorandum 89-005 February 06, 1989

From: Robin S. Wilson, President
Subject: Reciprocity for Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement Certification; Replaces EM 83-012.
This revision of EM 83-12, the CSU, Chico Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), clarifies the 1983 reciprocity policy. By explaining the Chico GWAR program -- including the matriculation requirement --more fully, the statement more clearly reflects our campus procedures and California State University recommendations. This policy is effective immediately.
Reciprocity for the California State University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
Transfer students' interests will best be served if they may complete the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) while matriculating at one California State University campus and transfer certification of such completion to another CSU campus. In the absence of a systemwide reciprocity agreement for the transfer of GWAR certification, California State University, Chico will in the meantime
• accept GWAR certification from other CSU campuses for all students who have passed the GWAR while matriculating on another CSU campus and before transferring to CSU, Chico;
• encourage other CSU institutions to accept GWAR certification of students transferring from CSU, Chico if they have already passed the two-part requirement: -- WEST and WP (see below) -- before transferring to the new campus;
• recommend to institutions that certify GWAR completion solely on the basis of a proficiency test that they also accept the WEST alone as GWAR certification of students who transfer from CSU, Chico with WEST scores in the pass or high-pass ranges.
Juniors are required to take the prerequisite Writing Effectiveness Screening Test (WEST), which they must pass before demonstrating writing proficiency in a designated course in the major. Funded by fee, the WEST is offered twice a semester and consists of a 90-minute analytical essay that tests students' ability to analyze a passage and produce a clear, coherent, well-organized piece of first-draft writing that takes a stand in response to the text. Pre-trained faculty readers from a variety of disciplines score the essays on a 6-point holistic scale, reading every essay twice, discrepant papers a third time. For students who score in the low pass range with composite scores of 6 or 7, the WEST confirms minimal writing ability and a probable chance to succeed in the writing proficiency course that follows. Chico does not use the test to indicate writing proficiency. If it did, it would not identify students in the low pass range as writing proficient as it would for those who score in the pass and high-pass ranges with composite scores of 8 to 12.*
Chico's GWAR program centers on course-related writing in the major for which a passing score on the WEST is prerequisite. Writing proficiency (WP) courses are required upper-division courses in the content of the discipline in which students develop their ability to write as professionals in the major. WP courses use writing to organize the subject matter, engage in rigorous study about a body of knowledge essential to the major, and communicate that knowledge to others. The courses integrate writing with course content and involve both in-class and out-of-class writing that provide students with opportunities to write frequently in various modes of discourse. Through its designated WP course, every department certifies the writing of students who satisfy GWAR standards for the major.
*In its first six years, WEST averaged an 80 percent pass rate: 4% in the high pass range, 32% in the pass range, and 44% in the low pass range.