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Graduate Writing Examination (GWE)

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GWE Reports

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GWE by Program 2012-13PDF
GWE by Program 2011-12PDF
GWE by Program 2010-11PDF
GWE by Program 2009-10PDF
GWE by Program 2008-09PDF
GWE by Division 2008-09 - 2012-13PDF
GWE by Ethnicity 2008-09 - 2012-13PDF


The GWAR is a requirement mandated by the CSU Chancellor’s Office as outlined in Executive Order 665. It states that, “all students entering the CSU system be required to demonstrate their competency with regard to writing skills.” At CSUDH, the writing requirement is implemented through a fully coordinated program that includes a competency examination and preparation workshops, counseling for students after the examination, and certifying courses as an alternative to the examination.

The GWE is a one-hour examination in which students write an extemporaneous essay responding to a specified topic given to them when the test is administered. The topics are screened and pre-tested to ensure that they function well for the purposes of this examination. The GWE is administered on campus five times a year.

Each essay is holistically scored independently and anonymously by two trained university faculty readers, using the GWE Scoring Rubric, on a scale from 0 to 6. Their individual scores are added together. Thus the top possible score is 12; the lowest is 0, though a score of 0 is only given if the student’s essay does not address the assigned essay topic. The passing score for both undergraduate and graduate students is 8. For each reading, readers are trained on a set of sample essays written in response to the prompt for said reading selected by the Chief Readers. If the scoring by the two readers differs by more than one point, the essay is reread and adjudicated by the Chief Readers.

The GWE reports shown above contain information on mean scores and pass rates by major, division and ethnicity. These reports reflect a change in methodology to reporting only a student's highest test score, from prior years in which all test scores were reported. Scores are reported under the program student was enrolled in or admitted to at the time the test was taken. It is often not possible to determine the student's test intention. For instance, an undergraduate may have taken the GWE test to meet undergraduate graduation requirements, or he or she may have satisfied their graduation requirements through coursework and have taken the GWE test to later gain entrance into a graduate program. Therefore, the undergraduate scores represent students who have taken undergraduate coursework and were not admitted into a graduate program at the time they took the GWE. Graduate scores represent students admitted or entering graduate programs.

Passing scores have recently changed. Students with catalog rights preceding Fall 2007 are subject to the prior passing score requirements. Undergraduate students required a score of 7 and graduate students a score of 8.