Graduation Writing Test (GWT)
GWT Test Dates
Registration* and Payment Deadline
October 15, 2016
September 30, 2016
January 14, 2017
January 4, 2017
April 8, 2017
March 24, 2017
July 15, 2017
June 30, 2017
October 7, 2017
September 25, 2017
Janury 20, 2018
January 8, 2018 (Currently Open)
February 10, 2018
January 29, 2018 (Currently Open)
*GWT registration must be submitted by 4:45 pm on the deadline date. The cost of the GWT is $30.00. Registration for the next test should open during the week after the current registration deadline
Frequently Asked Questions
REGISTRATION AND RESCHEDULING
DATES, LOCATION AND WHAT TO BRING
PASSING THE TEST
The Graduation Writing Test (GWT) is a demonstration of upper-division writing skills. You will be asked to hand write one essay on an assigned topic.
In May of 1976, the Board of Trustees determined that every person who receives a degree from the California State University system must demonstrate competence in writing. After careful and extended study, the Cal Poly Academic Senate in 1978 decided that writing would be assessed by means of a written examination. All persons who receive undergraduate, graduate, or external degrees from Cal Poly Pomona must satisfy the Graduation Writing Test (GWT) requirement.
The test itself is 75 minutes long. However, you can expect the entire process to take approximately 2 hours from check-in to checkout. Please be advised that you must stay for the entire duration of the exam or your test will not be graded and you will forfeit the registration and test fee.
It is strongly recommended that you take the GWT as soon as you are eligible, after reaching junior status (90 quarter units completed). Graduate students are advised to register for the GWT upon admission to the university.
A HOLD will be placed on the records of all continuing students who have failed to take the GWT as required. Holds are placed at 120 units for undergraduates OR 8 units for post-baccalaureates. While the student’s record is on hold, registration for courses will not be allowed.
If you have a GWT hold, the only way to remove the hold is to register for a test time AND pay for the next GWT sitting. Registration is a two-step process. You must complete both steps for removal. The hold removal process runs automatically every 2 hours. However, it may take up to one business day for your hold to clear. Holds will not be removed on demand; NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
No, it does NOT affect class registration. It is simply a reminder that you have not yet satisfied the writing requirement. The GWT will not be removed from your To Do List until the requirement has been satisfied by passing the exam, class, exemption, or petition. It is there to encourage you to take the test before you receive a hold. The Due Date only shows to allow you time to register for the next exam date if you choose.
Exemptions from this requirement are granted only to students who do not plan to receive a degree at Cal Poly (e.g., enrollment in a credential or certificate program) or have passed an equivalent writing-competence exam at another CSU campus. Please refer to the Test Center webpage to download the Exemption Form.
Students who have satisfied an equivalent writing-competence exam at another CSU campus may submit documentation for review by the Test Officer. Likewise, the Test Center will provide certification of writing competency to another CSU campus if requested.
REGISTRATION AND RESCHEDULING
Registration for the GWT is a two-step process. 1) You must login to BroncoDirect and choose a date and time under the Online GWT Registration link. 2) You must pay the test fee by the registration deadline. Only one test date is open for registration/payment at a time. You cannot register or pay for a date beyond the active test date. Refer to the Test Center website for dates and registration link.
After selecting a date and session time, you will receive an email to your cpp.edu email account shortly thereafter. The email will include your selected registration date and time as well as payment instructions. You will also receive a confirmation email or receipt after paying the test fee. As long as you have both confirmations, your registration is complete. Please keep in mind that the campus no longer forwards emails to your personal account. You must log into your cpp.edu email account. You can view/adjust your existing session time by going back to the Online GWT Registration in BroncoDirect. You may not change your test time after the registration period has ended.
Unfortunately you may not cancel or reschedule the test date. There is no penalty for missing the test; it doesn’t count as a zero score. However, you will forfeit your test fee and any previous GWT hold will return to your account. Just as before, you will need to register and pay for the next test date to remove the hold. Test fees are non-refundable and non-transferable except in the case of a documented serious and compelling reason. The deadline to submit documentation and request a refund is before the following GWT’s registration deadline (back-to-back quarters from the missed test date).
The fee for the GWT is $30. It is NOT paid by financial aid. You must pay for the test through the Cashiers Office or online through CashNET/BroncoDirect. You must pay for each date you register for the test. If you have to take the GWT more than once, or miss your appointment, you will have to pay again. Any hold for the GWT will not be removed until you have registered AND paid the test fee; it may take up to one business day for the hold to be removed. PAYMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED ON THE DAY OF THE TEST.
The test fee does NOT automatically post to your finances in Student Center. You must click the “make a payment” link underneath the outstanding charges box. Alternately, you may pay in person at the Cashier’s Office. Detailed instructions can be found on the Test Center webpage.
DATES, LOCATION AND WHAT TO BRING
The GWT is administered on a Saturday once each quarter, including summer. Test dates are posted on the Test Center’s GWT webpage. The GWT is usually administered in building 163. Report to the patio area for check-in. Please be aware that the location is subject to change. You will receive an email to your Cal Poly email address one week prior to the test date with your confirmed meeting location and further instructions.
Check-in will begin approximately 30 minutes before the test time. Once the test has started you cannot be admitted. Late arrivals will forfeit their registration and test fee. Additionally, late arrivals will NOT be accepted to any other test times for that test date.
To be admitted, you must bring one of the following forms of unexpired photo identification: Bronco I.D. Card, California Driver's License, or California State I.D. Please bring two sharpened #2 pencils and two pens (black or blue). Be prepared to read the test question off the projector. If you need corrective lenses; bring them.
If your disability would in any way affect your ability to test under traditional testing conditions, the Test Center, in consultation with the Disability Resource Center (DRC), will arrange for special test accommodations. However, you must still register for the test online through Bronco Direct for the next available test date and pay the test fee. Please note that the Test Center does not provide accommodations on the Saturday test. To receive accommodations, you must notify the Disability Resource Center at (909) 869-3333 no later than the registration deadline.
If your religious convictions prevent you from taking the GWT on the scheduled test dates, you must request special arrangements by providing a letter on official letterhead from an appropriate religious authority to the Test Officer no later than the registration deadline.
PASSING THE TEST
The passing score for the GWT is 7 out of a possible 12.
Your score will be available on BroncoDirect under "View My Test Summary" in four (4) to five (5) weeks after the test. You may need to click the “View All” link at the top of the table if you have multiple test scores. Refer to the Test Center website for instructions on finding the View My Test Summary page.
The Learning Resource Center in the University Library (building 15, room 2919) has many resources available for assistance with the GWT (i.e. tutoring, GWT workshops, grammar workshops, practice tests, helpful tips, and study skills for writing). Please call (909) 869-3502 or visit the LRC for further information.
Counseling Services in the Bookstore Building (building 66, room 116) has many resources available for assistance with test anxiety. Please call (909) 869-3220 or visit them for further information.
Yes, you may request a copy of your essay at the Test Center office after test results are posted. No corrective marks or notes will be made on your paper; the holistic scoring model used by the readers does not permit marking the essay. Essay books will be held in storage for one year and then destroyed.
After attempting the test twice, students may apply for enrollment in CPU 401, a class in which students’ writing is assessed on a portfolio basis. For more information, students may stop by the Learning Resource Center (15-2921) or call 909-869-3502
You may petition for a waiver after 4 failed attempts. Contact the Learning Resource Center at (15-2921) or 909-869-3502 for further information. Please note: students have who have the test waived as an undergraduate (either for continuous enrollment or by special consideration in order to receive their bachelor's degree) will be required to take AND pass the GWT before a graduate degree may be awarded. The GWT cannot be waived for a second time. The waiver in undergraduate status applies only for the baccalaureate degree.
The essay topic will be within the experience of every student, regardless of background or academic major; it will test how well you write rather than how much you know. The topic will call for an essay in which you try to convince the readers to accept a particular argument or point of view. You will be expected to assemble and organize examples, facts, and details to make your argument or point of view clear and convincing. You may draw upon personal experiences and observations to support your points. Below is an example of a typical topic:
We sometimes say or think: “There needs to be a change”. On the freeway, we think: There needs to be a change in the way people drive. There needs to be change, we say, in attitudes about racial difference; in graduation or financial aid requirements; in eating habits. We think there needs to be a change in working conditions at our job; in how our condo is managed; in the way baseball players are traded; in the way children are taught to read; in the way certain books, or movies are priced or marketed; and so forth.
Write an essay that shows how there needs to be a change in one particular thing. It need not be any of the examples given above. Explain as fully as possible why this change is needed. Support your idea with as many reasons, details, and examples as possible.
Your essay will be independently read by two faculty members trained in reliable essay scoring. Your total essay score will be the sum of the two readers' scores between 1 and 6. Essays that receive high scores will exhibit the following characteristics:
- They will adhere to the assigned topic and will develop it as specifically and thoroughly as time permits.
- They will be organized, clear, and coherent; the readers should be able to follow the writer's train of thought from beginning to end.
- They will demonstrate competence in grammar, punctuation, diction, and style.
An essay that fails to meet one or more of these standards will be scored lower. For example, if the writer treats the subject superficially or vaguely or includes serious errors in grammar and punctuation, his or her score will be lowered.
To do well on the essay, you should keep the following concepts in mind:
- The time limit will be adhered to strictly. You will be allotted a total of 75 minutes to plan, write, and review your essay. This time limitation means that you must work efficiently and distribute your time wisely. Students occasionally run out of time because they take too long to think about the topic or spend so long on one portion of the assignment that they are unable to complete other portions. You will probably not have enough time to rewrite your paper, so try to make each sentence as clear, concise, and free of errors the first time around.
- Read the essay topic carefully before you begin writing, paying special attention to key words in the directions like describe, compare, and explain. Be sure to do everything the assignment asks of you. The sample essay topic, for example, asks you to explain as fully as possible why a change is needed. It also asks you to support your idea with as many reasons, details, and examples as possible.
- Organize your thoughts before you begin writing. Again, look carefully at the essay topic; the way in which it is structured may suggest the way in which your essay might be organized. It will be helpful for you to sketch an outline, but be sure to allow yourself enough time to write the essay. Most students find it sufficient to jot down a few key phrases or the topic sentences of their paragraphs before they begin writing their essays.
- You should try to be as precise and specific as possible. Support your points with specific illustrations, facts, and details. Draw upon your own experiences and observations whenever possible. Remember that it is almost impossible to be too specific and detailed.
- Spend some time rereading your essay before turning it in. Correct any errors in grammar, punctuation, diction, and spelling.
- Do not limit yourself arbitrarily to five paragraphs. You may have been taught to write essays consisting of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Although such essays are certainly acceptable on the Graduation Writing Test and may receive passing scores, you should not feel restricted to such a rigid structure. Use as many paragraphs as necessary and as time permits to develop your argument. Also, you should remember that the degree to which each paragraph is developed is more important than the number of paragraphs you have.
The "6" essay demonstrates superior writing ability although occasional faults may be present. The essay:
- Has a clear thesis which addresses the topic and responds effectively to all aspects of the task
- Is logically organized and divided into well-structured paragraphs
- Is fully developed with specific details, examples and arguments that cogently support the author’s theses
- Has an effective, fluent style marked by sentence variety and a clear command of language
- Is largely free of errors in grammar, punctuation and mechanics
The “5” essay demonstrates strong writing ability. The essay:
- Responds to all or most aspects of the topic with a clear thesis (implied or explicit)
- Is organized clearly
- Is developed with details, evidence, examples and arguments that are relevant to the thesis
- Has a readable style with effective word choice and some sentence variety
- Is generally free of errors in grammar, punctuation and mechanics
The “4” essay demonstrates adequate writing ability. The essay:
- Provides a thesis that responds to all or most of the topic at least implicitly
- Is organized in sequential (if not always logical) manners that are consistent with paragraph conventions
- Offers some supporting evidence/reasons and attempt to elaborate with some details
- Is written in correct sentences, and word choices are correct, although possibly vague and/or repetitious at times
- Demonstrates basic control of grammar, punctuation and mechanics so that sentence level errors, if present, do not confuse the reader
The “3” essay demonstrates marginal writing ability with one or more weaknesses. The essay may:
- Provide a weak or unclear thesis and/or an inadequate response to the topic
- Use an improper or confused organizational structure;
- Provide general, superficial, sparse or irrelevant supporting evidence/reasons
- Contain confusing sentence structure and vague or imprecise word choice
- Demonstrate limited control of grammar, punctuation and mechanics through distracting or confusing errors
The “2” essay demonstrates weak writing ability with more than one serious weakness. The essay may:
- Respond with a weak or no thesis, or the writer appears to misunderstand the topic
- Provide very little organizational structure
- Offer little or no supporting evidence or only evidence that is irrelevant to the topic
- Be difficult to read or understand due to problems in sentence structure and word choice
- Contain numerous errors in grammar, punctuation or mechanics that interfere with meaning and suggest a lack of control of written English conventions
The “1” essay demonstrates very weak writing ability with severe weaknesses. The essay may:
- Demonstrate little or no understanding of the topic
- Have no discernible organization and appear random in thought
- Include no evidence or reasons and may only repeat the central idea
- Demonstrate an inability to form sentences or choose correct vocabulary
- Contain numerous errors in grammar, punctuation or mechanics that suggest a lack of familiarity with written English conventions
Cal Poly Pomona reserves the right to cancel any test score if the test taker engages in misconduct or if there is a testing irregularity. The test administrator is encouraged to report each instance of academic dishonesty to the Director of Judicial Affairs and appropriate action will be taken. For additional information, please view the Judicial Affairs website.
- Article 1.1, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, states that students may be expelled, suspended, placed on probation or given a lesser sanction for one or more of the following campus-related causes:
a. Cheating or plagiarism: Exam cheating includes unauthorized "crib sheets," using any prohibited material, copying from another, looking at another student's exam, opening books when not authorized, and obtaining advance copies of exams. Plagiarism is intentionally or knowingly presenting words, ideas or work of others as one's own work. Computer-assisted plagiarism is still plagiarism.
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of campus documents, records, or identification or knowingly furnishing false information to a campus. This includes falsifying signatures and forging another student's signature.