As a requirement for advancement to candidacy, all graduate students must demonstrate upper-division competency in academic writing in English by fulfilling the GWAR. A new GWAR policy was adopted in Spring 2012, and under this new policy all students are required to complete a writing placement test and complete the appropriate GWAR pathway based on the score received on that test. Beginning in Fall 2016, the GWAR Placement Exam (GPE) replaces the previous placement test, the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE). All students, regardless of their admission dates, who have not taken the placement test prior to Fall 2016, will be required to take the GPE. WPE scores attained by students who were admitted prior to Fall 2016 will continue to be used for placement purposes, and students who completed the WPE are not required to complete the GPE. Students are permitted to take the placement test only once unless they are approved to take it a second time by a GWAR advisor.
Graduate students are required to take the writing placement test, except that students who have previously (1) received degrees from accredited colleges and universities in the United States; or (2) received degrees from an accredited non-US institution located in a country where English is a primary language of communication; or (3) attained an appropriate score on the analytical writing component of an approved test are exempt from the writing assessment test.
Beginning Fall 2013, these exemptions are automatically noted on students’ records at the time of admission. Graduate students who are not exempt under one of the provisions above will either self-place into a low- or mid-range pathway in consultation with a GWAR advisor or take the placement test in their first semester of enrollment. Students admitted prior to Fall 2013 who believe they may be eligible for one of the exemptions listed above may submit a Graduate Student Petition to Satisfy the CSULB GWAR to Testing, Evaluation & Assessment, BH-216. The petition form is available at BH-216 or at www.csulb.edu/testing.
Graduate students who are not exempt from the writing placement test must fulfill the GWAR by one of the following pathways based on their score on the test:
1) Students who are exempt from the placement test and students who receive scores of 11 or higher on the writing placement test are required to successfully meet any writing requirements specified by the student’s department.
2) Students who receive scores of 8, 9, or 10 on the placement test are required to complete a GWAR portfolio course with a grade of “C” or better, including the submission of a portfolio that earns a passing score; and successfully meet any writing requirements specified by the student’s department.
3) Students who receive scores of 7 or lower on the placement test will be required to successfully complete English 301A with a grade of “C” or better; subsequently complete a GWAR portfolio course with a grade of “C” or better, including the submission of a portfolio that earns a passing score; and meet any writing requirements specified by the student’s department.
Students who receive scores lower than 11 on the placement test are required to begin the pathway within two semesters of taking the test and must enroll in an appropriate GWAR course each semester until satisfactory completion of the pathway. Registration may be prevented for students not complying with timely completion of the GWAR requirement. Students will be permitted to appeal to complete requirements concurrently if required for timely advancement to candidacy. Appeals will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies or designee.
Students who have questions about their next step or who need help selecting an appropriate GWAR portfolio course should schedule an appointment with a GWAR advisor in the University Center for Undergraduate Advising, 103 Horn Center (562-985-7378). Information about the GWAR is available at www.csulb.edu/gwar. Graduate students should also visit their graduate faculty advisors in their first semester to determine if additional departmental or program writing requirements apply to their advancement to candidacy.
Students who attempted the WPE once prior to Fall 2010 may attempt the placement test a second time or enroll in an appropriate GWAR course and submit a portfolio for assessment. Students are not permitted to take the placement test more than two times. Graduate students must satisfy the GWAR before they will be advanced to candidacy. (Advancement to candidacy requires satisfying the GWAR and satisfactorily completing six or more semester units in residence while earning a 3.0 GPA or greater.)
Students can register for the placement test online at www.csulb. edu/testing. Students must pay a fee each time they take the test to cover the costs of test administration and scoring. Testing, Evaluation & Assessment offers three hour workshops one to two weeks prior to each test date. Information about these workshops, test dates, and related services is available at BH-216 or at www.csulb.edu/testing.
If graduate students neglect to attempt the WPE in their first semester of residency, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must register for and take the WPE to release these registration holds.
Students with compelling reasons can request deferrals at Testing, Evaluation & Assessment, BH-216. In certain circumstances, students, with help from their faculty or staff advisors, may submit an appeal or contract to release a registration hold temporarily.
If students fail to comply with requirements to enroll in a GWAR course, CSULB will place a hold on their privilege to register for classes. Students must meet with a GWAR advisor to release these registration holds.