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Placement Testing: Frequently Asked Questions

Contacts

 

WHO TAKES THE ESSAY EXAM?

Temple’s essay exam is used to place students into the First-Year Writing Program.  Approximately 5,000 students take Temple’s essay exam each year.  All incoming students who do not have transferable credit from another institution must take the essay exam.  Students who have taken writing courses at other institutions should contact their academic advisor or the Associate Director of First-Year Writing, Dr. Rachael Groner (rgroner@temple.edu), to see if these courses meet First-Year Writing requirements.  Advanced Placement (AP) credits do not fulfill First-Year Writing requirements and thus do not exempt students from testing.

 

HOW WAS MY ESSAY SCORED?

The essay exam asks students to summarize a brief reading passage and to argue a position on the passage’s ideas.  Essays are assessed based on how successfully they meeting the demands of the writing task as well as on fluency and grammatical correctness.  Each exam is read by two placement test readers who each score the essay from 1 (very poor) to 6 (exceptional).     

 

HOW WAS MY FIRST-YEAR WRITING COURSE PLACEMENT DETERMINED?

Placement into the First-Year Writing Program is determined using two scores:  the combined reader score on the essay exam and a student’s “base score.”  The base score is a mathematical averaging of several components including the student’s high school percentile and SAT verbal score.  The base score is calculated by Temple’s Measurement and Research Center and is on a 1-to-10 scale.  The First-Year Writing Program considers the combination of the essay score and the base score in making the final course decision for each student.

 

WHAT IS ENGLISH 0701—INTRODUCTION TO ACADEMIC DISCOURSE?

English 0701 is a four-credit course designed to prepare students for the academic reading and writing they will be asked to do in the University.  Students write within a single theme and disciplinary approach and work through four sequenced assignments.  Revision is emphasized, and accuracy and attention to context when using textual evidence are key objectives of the course.  At least three individual instructor-to-student conferences are held during the semester.  Students are evaluated based on a final portfolio of at least four assignments that are developed through multiple revisions.

 

English 0701 credits count toward the number of credits required for graduation.  However, English 0701 does not fulfill the General Education requirement for Analytical Writing and Reading.  This General Education requirement is met by English 0802.  Students whose essay exams place them into English 0701 are required to register for the course prior to taking English 0802 and will not be permitted to register for English 0802 until they successfully complete the English 0701 requirement.

 

WHAT IS ENGLISH 0711—INTRODUCTION TO ACADEMIC DISCOURSE (INTENSIVE)?

English 0711 is a four-credit course designed to accommodate the needs of the ESL learner.  The guidelines for English 0701 are followed in English 0711, and the course carries equivalent credit and equivalent weight in meeting curriculum requirements.  As the basis for reading and writing in the ESL writing classroom, English 0711 looks at cross-cultural implications of what it means to do academic work and to share historical and cultural knowledge.  Oral participation is encouraged as a way of promoting fluency and enhancing comfort with participation in American academic settings.  Classes are smaller than in English 0711 and teachers spend extended time in tutorial conferences.  In addition, English 0711 is taught by experienced ESL instructors.  As with English 0701, students whose essay exams place them into English 0711 are required to register for the course prior to taking English 0802 and will not be permitted to register for English 0802 until they successfully complete the English 0711 requirement.

 

WHY DO I HAVE THE OPTION TO TAKE EITHER ENGLISH 0701 OR ENGLISH 0711?

Students who are given the option to register for either English 0701 or English 0711 have indicated at the time of testing that they are ESL, but the essay exam suggests that these students may be bilingual.  Students should review the descriptions of both English 0701 and English 0711 and discuss with their academic advisors which component of Introduction to Academic Discourse better meets their language needs.  Either course will fulfill the Introduction to Academic Discourse requirement.

 

WHAT IS ENGLISH 0802—ANALYTICAL WRITING AND READING?

English 0802 is a four-credit course that requires students to explore a single theme from the point of view of more than one discipline.  Students spend the early part of the semester learning to define terms and articulate specific positions using evidence to support their claims.  Students work on research and the evaluation of sources, moving through a sequence of papers that develop argumentation and the synthesis of materials.  English 0802 requires research and the evaluation of source materials from the very first assignment, and sessions with librarians are part of the course.  Individual instructor-to-student and small group conferences are held several times during the semester.  Students are evaluated based on a final portfolio of assignments developed through multiple revisions.  English 0802 meets the university’s General Education requirement for Analytical Writing and Reading. 

 

WHY DO I HAVE THE OPTION TO TAKE EITHER ENGLISH 0701 OR ENGLISH 0802?

Students who are given the option to take either English 0701 or English 0802 generally have not written successful essay exams, but their relatively high base scores suggest that they can handle the demands of English 0802.  For these students, English 0701 is not required but is strongly recommended.  Students are encouraged to review the descriptions of both courses and to give serious consideration to taking English 0701 prior to taking English 0802.  Students should also consider carefully their writing experience and how familiar they are with the writing task presented in the essay exam.  As stated above, the essay exam asks students to summarize a brief reading passage and to argue a position on the passage’s ideas.  English 0802 will begin with the assumption that most students can proficiently address the demands of this writing task.  Students with limited experience or proficiency in this form of academic writing should register for English 0701.       

 

WHY DO I HAVE THE OPTION TO RETAKE THE ESSAY EXAM?

Students who are given a retest option by the First-Year Writing Program generally have written essays that earned extremely low scores from the test readers, but these students’ base scores are exceptionally high.  Given the disparity between scores, the writing program would like to review another essay by the student in response to a similar exam topic.  Students taking the retest option should contact the First-Year Writing secretary, Mr. J. Derrick Johnson, at jjohns12@temple.edu or 215-204-7565 to schedule an appointment.  The retest is not mandatory.  Students who decide not to retest are placed into English 0701.  Students who do not do markedly better on the retest than they had on the placement exam are placed into English 0701.

 

CAN I RETAKE THE EXAM IF I AM UNHAPPY WITH MY RESULTS?

 No, students generally cannot retake the exam because they feel they did not perform well.  The aim of testing is to place students into the First-Year Writing course that meets their needs and abilities.  A retest is only granted on academic grounds and is only offered by First-Year Writing when some discrepancy in test scores requires a second writing sample from a student.

 

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR MY FIRST-YEAR WRITING COURSE?

Students who have taken the placement test should have already registered for an orientation session.  At orientation, students will meet with an academic advisor and select their courses, including their First-Year Writing course.  The academic advisor can also answer any questions about your First-Year Writing placement.  If you have not registered for an orientation session, please contact Student Orientation to schedule your session.

 

WHAT IF I WANT TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT MY RESULTS?

If you wish to discuss either your essay or your First-Year Writing placement, please contact the Testing Coordinator, Dr. Christine Palumbo-DeSimone, at cpalumbo@temple.edu or 215-204-4785.

 

If you wish to discuss whether or not credits earned at another institution meet First-Year Writing requirements, please contact the Associate Director of First-Year Writing, Dr. Rachael Groner, at rgroner@temple.edu or 215-204-2212.

 

If you have been offered a retest option and wish to schedule your retest, please contact the secretary of First-Year Writing, Mr. Derrick Johnson, at jjohns12@temple.edu or 215-204-7565.

 

 

 

If you have any questions about the First-Year Writing Program, we invite you to stop by the office or contact us.

 

Staff

Eli Goldblatt,
Director
(215) 204- 1868

 

Rachael Groner,
Associate Director
(215) 204-2212

 

J. Derrick Johnson,
Secretary
(215) 204-7565

 

Leslie Allison,
Composition Assistant
(215) 204-1566

   
   

First Year Writing Program © Temple University2007
10th Floor Anderson Hall, 1114 West Berks Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19122-6090
FYWP@temple.edu