CCSU Writing Placement Exam
Welcome to the CCSU Writing Placement Exam Informational Website. The exam is designed to help each incoming student find the writing support and instruction most suited to his or her individual skill level. Eligible students will receive an email notification to take the exam. We recommend that you meet with your advisor as they can provide the most support, but if there are questions, please contact Careen Szarmach at email@example.com and include your name, student information, and the detailed nature of your inquiry. Thank you!
I. Test Directions
Welcome to the CCSU Writing Placement Test! This test is designed to place you into the class that will offer you the best support. To complete the exam effectively, please make sure you have...
- At least 2 hours and 15 minutes of uninterrupted, undisturbed time available
- A stable internet connection
- No other applications running, and no other tabs open (this can cause your laptop or browser to crash)
- Full power to your computer (if you are using a laptop, please make sure you plug it in; don't rely on the battery!)
You are free to take notes as you prepare your essay. It is also fine for you to refer back to these instructions or to print them out. When you have read everything in this section, please return to the test and complete the Demographic questions before proceeding to the essay section.
The Placement Exam includes demographic questions and an essay section. Each part of the Placement Exam is mandatory, and you cannot continue to the next step until you’ve completed the step you are on. Both your answers to the demographic questions and written response will be used to determine your placement into a writing class.
II. Scoring Criteria
After you submit your essay, it will be read and scored by a member of the English Department’s writing faculty. Your essay will be evaluated on three areas: (1) thesis/controlling idea, (2) use of the reading/citation, (3) and writing genre, tone, and mechanics You can earn up to 4 points for each area. The highest score an essay can receive is 12 points. The grading rubric is on the next page of this document.
Your answers to the demographic questions will be considered in combination with your essay to determine whether a writing class that supports English language learners would be more beneficial to you.
III. Finding Your Placement and Descriptions of Writing Courses
How to Find Out What Your Placement Is:
After submission, your exam will be evaluated by faculty in the CCSU English Department and your writing course placement will be determined: WRT 100, WRT 105/105P, WRT 110, ESL 100, or ESL 105/105P. Your placement result should be available no later than 2-3 weeks after you take the test. You can ask your advisor to tell you which class you have been placed into.
If you’d like to look up your placement yourself:
1. Navigate to Central Pipeline
2. Click the WebCentral—Banner Web button in the middle of the page on the left side.
3. Log in to WebCentral with your email address and password
4. Click on the “Student” tab and scroll down to the Student Information Link
5. Look under Test Scores for your Writing Placement Test score, which indicates your placement. 0=WRT 100 3=ESL 100 1=WRT 105/105P 4=ESL 105/105P 2=WRT 110
Students cannot request to be placed into a different class. However, if you believe you would benefit from more writing support or from a writing class for English language learners and you are not placed into one, you can contact the Director of Composition, Dr. Elizabeth Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing Course Descriptions
Descriptions of the first-year writing classes are below if you would like to know more about them:
WRT 110: Introduction to College Writing is an introductory course in college-level academic writing. It asks students to read complex texts and analyze them, craft arguments in response to them, and conduct their own research on issues. WRT 110 satisfies CCSU’s first-year writing requirement and is 3 credit hours.
WRT 105: Enhanced Introduction to College Writing is an introductory course in college-level academic writing for students who would benefit from additional individual and small-group writing instruction. Students in WRT 105 take the equivalent of the 3-credit WRT 110, supplemented by two additional hours of tutorial assistance in a smaller group. WRT 105 satisfies CCSU’s first-year writing requirement and is 5 credit hours.
WRT 100: Fundamentals of Composition focuses on improvement of basic writing skills to prepare students for WRT 110. The course introduces students to academic writing genres, processes, and practices. Students who are required to take WRT 100 must pass the course with a C- or better before successful completion of 30 hours of coursework at CCSU. WRT 100 does not satisfy CCSU’s first-year writing requirement, but it fulfills a general education Skill Area I requirement, and passing the course with a C- or better qualifies a student to take WRT 110. WRT 100 is 3 credit hours.
Writing Courses for English Language Learners:
ESL 105: ESL Enhanced Introduction to College Writing is an introductory course in college-level academic writing for English language learners would benefit from additional individual and small-group writing instruction. The course shares WRT 110’s focus on reading and responding to complex sources, writing from inquiry, academic conventions, and the writing process. Students in ESL 105 take the equivalent of the 3-credit WRT 110, supplemented by two additional hours of tutorial assistance in a smaller group of English language learners. This tutorial focuses specifically on reading and writing skills for non-native English speakers. ESL 105 satisfies CCSU’s first-year writing requirement and is 5 credit hours.
ESL 100: ESL Fundamentals of Composition focuses on improvement of basic writing skills to prepare students for WRT 110. The course introduces English language learners to American academic writing expectations by teaching sentence and paragraph formation and the development of coherent essays. Students who are required to take ESL 100 must pass the course with a C- or better before successful completion of 30 hours of coursework at CCSU. ESL 100 does not satisfy CCSU’s first-year writing requirement, but it fulfills a general education Skill Area I requirement, and passing the course with a C- or better qualifies a student to take WRT 110. ESL 100 is 3 credit hours.
IV. Technical Problems
Q: I don't know how to get my bluenet ID/student ID# or my login is not working what do I do?
A: Please contact the IT Help Desk at email@example.com or (860) 832-1720 and include your full name and a description of the exact problem you are experiencing.
Q: While I was taking the test, my computer restarted/shut down/lightning struck my roof/the internet exploded and now I can't get back to my exam is there anything you can do?
A: In the event of a legitimate, technical problem in which you already began to take the exam and then were unable to finish, please email Careen Szarmach at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, contact information, student ID# and bluenet ID, and a detailed description of the issue. There is no guarantee of restoring any work done, or of being able to retake the exam, but we will make every effort to address the situation fairly.
Q: I took the test, but I'm not sure my essay was properly submitted and now when I go back to view it on Blackboard, it's not there! Did it get lost?
A: When an essay is submitted for examination, it is no longer available for you to view (which occurs for security reasons). If you believe that there was a technical error, please email Careen Szarmach at email@example.com with your full name, contact information, student ID# and bluenet ID, and the nature of your concern.
IV. Who needs to take the exam, and how are transfer credit/exam exemptions evaluated?
Q: Who has to take the placement exam?
A: You must take the writing placement exam unless at least one of the following criteria is true:
- Your SAT Writing & Language Test score is 31 or higher
- Your ACT English composite is 23 or higher
- You are transferring WRT 110-specific credit to CCSU from a previous institution (Note: ENG 1xx credit is insufficient)
- You earned a 3 or higher on English Language & Composition AP exam (not the English Literature & Composition AP Exam)
- You have been admitted to the Honors Program
Students who have course credit that transfers as WRT 110 (not WRT 1xx), who are in the Honors Program, or who have successfully completed the Summer Bridges Program do not need to take the placement exam. If you meet the criteria to take the test and have not received an invitation or if you have received an invitation but meet the criteria for exemption, please email Careen Szarmach at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, contact information, student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them), and an explanation of why you need to be enrolled/exempted.
Q: My test scores aren't in that range, but I still received the letter!
A: Please ensure that CCSU has received your transcripts and test scores; you received the letter because, most likely, we have not yet gotten your scores. If your scores were properly received and you are either above or below the score threshold, please email Careen Szarmach at email@example.com with your full name, contact information, and student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them).
Q: I have AP Credits; do I still need to take the Writing Placement Exam?
A: A score of 3 or higher on the English Literature and Composition Advanced Placement Exam or the English Language and Composition Advanced Placement Exam will award WRT 110 credit. Please note: It is your responsibility to ensure that your test results have been received and processed by CCSU, and the English Department is not able to do that for you or give you any credit until your exam scores have been officially received by the university.
Q: I have taken a class at another college/university and I want transfer credit for WRT 110; how do I do this?
A: If you have taken a class at a member of ConnSCU (one of the other regional CT universities or a CT community college), please visit this page to find out what transfer credit a class will grant: https://webapps.ccsu.edu/CTAB/CCSU_TransCourses.aspx. If you went to a school not on that list, please contact your advisor to for further information. Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that all transferring credits are received by CCSU; you will not be given any credit or exam exemption until they are processed.
Q: I took/am taking the UCONN ECE course - do I still need to take the placement exam?
A: If you successfully complete the program then no, you do not need to take the placement exam. You do need to inform your advisor and to ensure that your credit is sent to and received by CCSU, however, to ensure that you are properly enrolled and that your record is updated.
Q: I am in the honors program. Do I still need to take the placement exam?
A: No. Please contact your adviser to ensure that your record accurately reflects this.
Q: What if I don't care what writing class I get into? Do I still need to take the exam?
A: Yes! And you should care about the class you take as it's a crucial component of your college career!
V. How does the test work and what do I need to do to prepare for it?
Q: How do I take the exam?
A: Log into Blackboard and sign in with your bluenet ID and password. Once there, look to the top-right of your screen and click on "Organizations@CCSU." The link to the Writing Placement Exam should appear; click on it to begin the process (the timer does NOT begin at that moment, so you can browse the materials before you begin). If you do not see the Writing Placement Exam link, please email Careen Szarmach at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, contact information, and student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them).
Q: What is the exam like? How long do I have to take it?
A: You will be asked to read a selected text of approximately 500 words and to respond to specific prompts in a coherent, organized, formal essay of 500-600 words. You will be given two (2) hours to read the text provided and to compose, edit, and submit your essay.
Before you begin, you will be given some information about what we are looking for in your essay, how it will be evaluated, and how that evaluation will determine your placement in a writing class. You may review this information for as long as you like, and any time spent reviewing it will not count against the two (2) hours you have to complete the exam. If you wish, after reviewing the information you may log off and return at another time to write your essay.
After reviewing the evaluation information, you will be asked to answer some demographic questions about your language and writing background. TThis data will help our faculty decide which writing class is the best fit for you, and your responses will help us better understand the characteristics, goals, and abilities of our student population so that we can improve our program. The time you take to answer these questions will not count against the two (2) hours you have to complete the exam. If you wish, after answering the demographic questions you may log off and return at another time to write your essay.
If you choose to continue, be sure that you have two uninterrupted hours to write your essay because once you begin the process you cannot stop and start again. You will have only one opportunity to take the Placement Exam. When you begin, you will be given a short text to read along with a specific writing prompt to which you will be asked to respond. You will have two hours to read the text, develop your ideas, write your essay, and revise your work before submitting it. After submission, you will be asked to answer two more brief demographic questions that are not part of the two hour, timed writing exam.
Q: Do I need to schedule an appointment?
A: No! The exam is taken online and can be done so at any time, day or night (though taking it as soon as possible is definitely a good decision).
Q: Does the exam cost anything?
A: No, the test is free and requires only access to the internet and a computer. If you do not have internet access at home, you may take the exam from the student computing center on campus, or at any other public terminal.
Q: How do I prepare for the exam?
A: You do not need to prepare for the exam; there isn't a particular subject to study or skill to practice. The goal of the exam is to determine which class best supports your current level of writing ability, so artificially inflating (or depressing) your ability can only hurt you. Just make sure that when you do take the exam, you give yourself 2.5-3 hours of uninterrupted and distraction-free time and a stable internet connection.
Q: What is the deadline to take the exam?
A: You should take the exam as soon as possible. You cannot enroll in a composition course until you do so, and they fill very quickly, so you are in jeopardy of not being able to take a required course if you delay, which may end up delaying your graduation date! We usually offer the exam for newly-admitted Fall semester students from March until the Fall Semester Add/Drop Deadline, and then we re-open it from mid/late October until the add/drop deadline in Spring Semester.
Q: I have a disability and/or need special accommodation. How do I receive support?
A: Please contact Student Disability Services (SDS) and they will ensure that you receive any necessary accommodations. The English Department cannot assist you until you contact SDS and ensure that you are registered, at which point, we will be contacted; we will accommodate you in any way possible.
VI. How is the test scored/Questions about placement
Q: How is the exam graded? What does "placement" mean?
A: After submission, it will be evaluated by faculty in the CCSU English Department and your writing course placement will be determined: WRT 100, WRT 105/105P, WRT 110, ESL 100, or ESL 105/105P. Your placement result should be available no later than 2 weeks after you take the test. To determine your score, login to WebCentral and look under Test Scores.
- WRT 100, WebCentral Score 0
- WRT 105/105P, WebCentral Score 1
- WRT 110, WebCentral Score 2
- ESL 100, WebCentral Score 3
- ESL 105/105P, WebCentral Score 4
ESL writing classes are designed for students whose first language isn’t English, and they meet the same university general education requirements as their WRT equivalent courses. If you placed into WRT 110 but feel ESL 108 or 109 might be a better fit, you can take one in addition to your writing class. You can register for either class voluntarily, any semester. If you have questions about this, you may contact. Dr. Elizabeth Olson to inquire.
Q: How long will it take to get my score, and how do I view it?
A: You may check back on WebCentral at anytime; when your exam has been scored, the number will be visible. If more than 2 weeks have elapsed since you submitted your exam and you still have not received a score, please email Careen Szarmach at email@example.com with your full name, contact information, student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them), and the nature of your inquiry.
Q: I took the exam and I disagree with my score...can I retake it and/or challenge my score?
A: We have a very rigorous training program for our placement exam graders, and we make our grading rubric and criteria visible to students even before they take the exam (which you can view on the exam itself), so we feel confident in our results. We do not allow students to retake the exam unless there are exceptional circumstances, but if you believe there is an error that needs to be redressed, please email Careen Szarmach at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, contact information, student ID# and bluenet ID (if you have them), and a carefully-written explanation of your concern and warranted action.
VII. My test in BlackBoard Learn has an old date and won't open.
Tests not stay open indefinitely. The testing period runs from March - drop/add in fall semester, and October - drop/add in spring semester. When drop/add comes to a close, the tests do as well. If the tests in your BlackBoard Learn are closed, you will need to be added to a new test. Please email your student ID and bluenet user ID to Careen Szarmach at email@example.com. Tests are emailed every Thursday morning, so manual additions must be emailed to Ms.Szarmach by Wednesday morning.