Psychology Department

Writing Scale

At CSU, Chico we have a graduation writing assessment requirement (GWAR) in the major that is assessed through a Writing Proficiency (WP) course.

According to Provost Scott G. McNall, "We ask students to write in all of their classes because it is one important way to help them develop their critical thinking skills, their communication skills, and their understanding of and appreciation for the course content. We learn by writing." (e-mail to faculty, May 23, 2003).

In an attempt to assist students in understanding what good writing in the field of psychology looks like, as well as to provide both students and faculty assistance in measuring good writing, the psychology faculty met during the 2002-2003 academic year to identify a scoring guide and to create an annotated sample paper.

The scoring guide includes three traits or characteristics of good writing: content, organization/communication, and format. It also includes three performance levels: inadequate, essential, and accomplished. It is our expectation that you will review the writing guide (PDF) and sample paper (PDF) and use them to assist you in improving your written work. Upon review and reflection, you should feel confident that your writing is at the essential level before turning it in for grading. If you're not sure your writing is of that quality, you should revise and edit it prior to turning it in. You should also take a look at the list of common errors in psychological writing to make sure you have not made any of these mistakes.

The scoring guide will be used by psychology professors throughout your coursework and will be used in the senior seminar class to determine your writing proficiency. Earning a letter grade of C- or better in the WP course in your major is required for graduation from CSU, Chico.

You will need the free Acrobat Reader(opens in new window) to read and/or print the files.

student showing computer to lecturer