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Students taking a test

Pilot Plan Will Help Students Satisfy the GWAR

In fall 2010, CSULB launched a pilot plan to help students satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement promptly to avoid delays in graduation. Because writing is so important to success in every academic discipline, in employment and in public life, the CSU requires all students to demonstrate writing proficiency prior to graduation. Students must attempt to demonstrate writing proficiency by the time they have earned 65 units, or before they advance to candidacy as graduate students. At CSULB, students fulfill the GWAR by passing the Writing Proficiency Examination, by scoring 4 or higher on the essay portion of the Graduation Records Exam or the Graduate Management Admission Test, or by submitting a passing portfolio in connection with enrollment in an approved GWAR course.

While most CSULB students satisfy the GWAR by passing the WPE on their first attempt, students whose writing skills are weak or who are multi-lingual writers face special challenges in meeting this requirement. The key to success with the GWAR has always been getting prompt and appropriate assistance to develop the necessary language and writing skills. The plan launched this fall will help students accomplish this goal more quickly.

The GWAR plan, which was approved as a one-year pilot project, uses the WPE diagnostically to place students on an appropriate path to GWAR success. Under the leadership of Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Studies Lynn Mahoney, the plan was developed by the Seamless GWAR Committee. The plan was then approved by the GWAR Committee and, ultimately, by the executive committee of the Academic Senate. Beginning in September 2010, students who take the WPE for the first time may be required to seek advising and/or take writing courses, depending on their WPE performance.

The pilot plan is simple. The WPE is scaled from 0-18 points; to pass, students must earn at least 11 points. In the pilot year, students who score 8 or lower will be required to immediately enroll in English 301A, followed by an appropriate GWAR course in the following semester. Students who score 9 or 10 can immediately enroll in a GWAR course in the following semester. If they wish to attempt the WPE once more, they must seek advising from a trained GWAR advisor in the University Center for Undergraduate Advising. However, students will be encouraged to enroll in a GWAR course and will be granted permission to attempt the WPE a second time only under rare circumstances. No third WPE attempts will be permitted. Moreover, students will be required to successfully meet the GWAR one year after their first WPE attempt. Finally, students who score 11 or higher will satisfy the GWAR.

The pilot plan will be carefully monitored as it progresses. At the end of the pilot year, the plan will be reassessed and any necessary adjustments will be implemented.


For more information about the GWAR, contact Sarbo at (562) 985-8102 or