Junior-Level GWAR: Frequently Asked Questions

 

This page answers the most frequently asked questions about the Sacramento State University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) and other related topics. If you can't find your question answered below, feel free to contact the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (phone 916-278-6409) with further questions.

1. Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)

2. Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) / Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ)

3. English 109M / 109W

4. English 109X

5. Writing Intensive (WI) Course

6. English Diagnostic Test (EDT)

 

1.01 What is the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)?

The Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) was first conceived of by the Chancellor and Trustees of the California State University in 1977. It is a system-wide requirement, usually completed in the junior year, through which students demonstrate their proficiency at writing at an upper-division level. By completing the GWAR, CSU students show that they can respond to issues in one or more readings by writing an argumentative essay that contains a purposeful focus, relevant support, and clear sentences. Each CSU campus decides how students at that campus can fulfill the GWAR.

1.02 Why do I have to fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)?

The Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) is a system-wide graduation requirement mandated by the Chancellor and the Trustees of the California State University. All students subject to the degree requirements of the 1979-80 and subsequent catalogs must satisfy the GWAR in order to graduate.

More than just a graduation requirement, though, the first step of the GWAR (the WPJ test or the ENGL 109M/109W class) is meant to evaluate your writing skills against the more rigorous upper-division writing standards to see if you are prepared for the challenge of upper-division coursework. If necessary, it will place you into the courses that will help you to prepare to be successful as you move toward graduation.

1.03 I’m an undergraduate student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

Prior to June 2009, Sac State students fulfilled their GWAR one of two ways: by receiving a score of 8 or higher on the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) or by passing ENGL 109M/ENGL 109W.

Beginning in June 2009, the process for fulfilling the GWAR at Sac State changed. Sac State undergraduate students now fulfill their GWAR through a two-step process.

Step 1:

Each student must first receive a GWAR placement score by choosing to take EITHER the ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W class (whichever class is appropriate for the student) OR the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) essay test.

Step 2:

Each undergraduate student must then follow the instructions for her GWAR placement number (listed below). Once an undergraduate student takes and passes her Writing Intensive course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher, she has fulfilled her GWAR for Sac State.

90 GWAR fulfilled at another CSU campus. **
80 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (3 units)
70 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher and ENGL 109X concurrently. (4 units)
71 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher and ENGL 109X concurrently. (4 units)
60 Pass ENGL 109W, then pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (6 units)
50 Pass ENGL 109M, then pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (6 units)

Undergraduate transfer students, Second Bachelor’s students, and graduate students at Sac State may fulfill their GWAR requirement in slightly different ways. For more information about the GWAR placement process and what you should do to fulfill your GWAR, please refer to questions 1.04-1.10 (“I’m a [fill in the blank]. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) and find the question that is most appropriate for your situation.

**Students with a GWAR placement score of 90 will still need to take and pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher to meet general education/graduation requirements.

1.04 I’m an undergraduate student transferring to Sac State from a junior college. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

There are no exams or courses at the junior-college level that fulfill the GWAR at Sac State, so students who transfer to Sac State from a junior college will fulfill their GWAR the same way that most Sac State undergraduate students do. Please refer to question 1.03 (“I’m an undergraduate student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) for information about how you can fulfill your Sac State GWAR.

1.05 I’m an undergraduate student transferring to Sac State from another California State University campus. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

The GWAR is a requirement for all students at each of the CSU campuses. Each campus is able to decide how their students will fulfill that requirement at their school. If you completed ALL required GWAR exams and/or coursework at your previous campus, it is possible to transfer that completed requirement here to Sac State. To do so, contact the department or office at your previous campus that is in charge of that campus’ version of the GWAR (contact information is available here). Ask them to fax or mail a letter confirming your completion of that requirement to:

Fax: (916) 278-5410
Attn: Angela Stephenson
OR Writing Programs Office
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6075

Each CSU should be accustomed to performing such transfers, but if they ask, you will need the following information:

Once we receive this information, if everything is in order, we will enter a GWAR placement score 90 indicating you completed your GWAR at another CSU.

If you did not take or did not complete your previous campus’ version of the GWAR, then you will need to do so here at Sac State to fulfill that graduation requirement. Please refer to question 1.03 (“I’m an undergraduate student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) for information about how you can fulfill your Sac State GWAR requirement.

1.06 I’m an undergraduate student transferring to Sac State from a four-year university outside of the California State University system. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

University policy states that there are no equivalent courses or exams outside of the CSU system that can fulfill the GWAR. If you are transferring to Sac State from a four-year university outside of the CSU system, you will need to fulfill the GWAR requirement here the same way that other undergraduate students do. Please refer to question 1.03 (“I’m an undergraduate student. How do I fulfill my GWAR requirement at Sac State?”) for information about how you can fulfill your Sac State GWAR.

1.07 I’m a Second Bachelor’s student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

If you received a bachelor’s degree from Sac State, you have most likely already fulfilled the GWAR as part of your first degree. If you would like to check for sure, please contact the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (phone 278-6409). If you have not already fulfilled your GWAR at Sac State, please see below for more information about how you can do so.

If you received a bachelor’s degree from another CSU campus, please refer to question 1.08 (“I’m a Second Bachelor’s student  and I have a degree from another California State University campus.”) for information about how you may be able to fulfill your Sac State GWAR.

If you received a bachelor’s degree from a school outside the California State University system, please refer to question 1.09 (“I’m a Second Bachelor’s student and I have a degree from a school outside of the California State University system.”) for information about how you may be able to fulfill your Sac State GWAR.

If you received a score of 8 or higher on the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) or passed ENGL 109M/ENGL 109W at Sac State prior to Fall 2009, you’ve already fulfilled the GWAR at Sac State.

If none of the above situations apply, you can fulfill your GWAR through the following process.

Step 1:

First you must receive a GWAR placement score by choosing to take EITHER the ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W class (whichever class is appropriate for the student) OR the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) essay test.

Step 2:

Follow the instructions for your GWAR placement score.

90 GWAR fulfilled at another CSU campus.
70, 71, or 80 GWAR completed.
60 Pass English 109W.
50 Pass English 109M.

1.08 I’m a Second Bachelor’s student  and I have a Bachelor’s degree from another California State University campus. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

The GWAR is a requirement for all students at each of the CSU campuses. Each campus is able to decide how their students will fulfill that requirement at their school. If you received a bachelor’s degree from another CSU campus, you have probably already fulfilled the GWAR. It is possible to transfer that completed requirement here to Sac State. To do so, contact the department or office at your previous campus that is in charge of that campus’ version of the GWAR (contact information is available here). Ask them to fax or mail a letter confirming your completion of that requirement to:

Fax: (916) 278-5410
Attn: Angela Stephenson
OR Writing Programs Office
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6075

Each CSU should be accustomed to performing such transfers, but if they ask, you will need the following information:

Once we receive this information, if everything is in order, we will enter a GWAR placement score 90 indicating you completed your GWAR at another CSU.

If you did not take or did not complete your previous campus’ version of the GWAR, then you will need to do so here at Sac State to fulfill that graduation requirement. Please refer to question 1.07 (“I’m a Second Bachelor’s student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) for information about how you can fulfill your Sac State GWAR requirement.

1.09 I’m a Second Bachelor’s student and I have a degree from a school outside of the California State University system. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

University policy states that there are no equivalent courses or exams outside of the CSU system that can fulfill the GWAR. If you received your first Bachelor’s degree from a four-year university outside of the CSU system, you will need to fulfill the GWAR requirement here the same way that many other Second Bachelor’s students do. Please refer to question 1.07 (“I’m a Second Bachelor’s student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) for information about how you can fulfill your Sac State GWAR.

1.10 I’m a graduate student. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?

A new page has been developed on the Writing Programs website to help graduate students answer their questions about their GWAR at Sac State. For more information, please refer to that site: http://www.al.csus.edu/writing/gewritingrequirements/gGwar.php.

1.11 What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?

Most students will go through a two step process to fulfill their GWAR at Sac State. For more specific information about how you can fulfill your GWAR at Sac State, please refer to questions 1.03-1.10 (“I’m a [fill in the blank]. How do I fulfill my GWAR requirement at Sac State?”) and find the question that is most appropriate for your situation.

The first step of that requirement is for each student to choose to take EITHER the ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W class (whichever class is appropriate for the student) OR the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) essay test. After a student completes either the class or the test, he will be given a GWAR placement score that will tell him what he needs to do to complete his GWAR. For instructions on how to find your GWAR placement score, please refer to question 1.21 (“Where can I find my GWAR placement score?”).

If you are an undergraduate student, use the following table to determine what your GWAR placement score means and what you need to do to complete your GWAR requirement:

90 GWAR fulfilled at another CSU campus. **
80 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (3 units)
70 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher and ENGL 109X concurrently. (4 units)
71 Pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher and ENGL 109X concurrently. (4 units)
60 Pass ENGL 109W, then pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (6 units)
50 Pass ENGL 109M, then pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher. (6 units)

**Students with a GWAR placement score of 90 will still need to take and pass a Writing Intensive course with a 'C-' or higher to meet general education/graduation requirements.

If you are a Second Bachelor’s student, use the following table to determine what your GWAR placement score means and what you need to do to complete your GWAR:

90 GWAR fulfilled at another CSU campus.
70, 71, or 80 GWAR completed.
60 Pass English 109W.
50 Pass English 109M.

If you are a graduate student, please refer to the graduate-level GWAR information page for more information about how you can complete the GWAR.

1.12 I’ve never taken the WPJ, but I have a WPJ placement score on my record. What’s going on?

Over the summer of 2009, we transitioned from using the WPE test to using the WPJ test to help fulfill the GWAR requirement. For each student who took the WPE on or before May 30, 2009, and did not pass, we converted their latest failing WPE score into the equivalent WPJ test score. That way, if a student decided not to take the test again, the MySacState online registration system would know which class(es) she would need to take the fulfill her GWAR. The converted WPJ test score will have the same test date as the latest failed WPE test.

If you have one of these converted WPE-to-WPJ test scores on your record but have never actually taken the WPJ test, you are still eligible to take the WPJ test one time. If you do, you will ignore the converted test score and follow the placement score you receive on the actual WPJ to complete your GWAR.

1.13 I took a placement test like this when I entered college. Do I still need to take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W)?

The placement test you took when you entered college was most likely the CSU’s English Placement Test (EPT), a test given to incoming freshmen to gauge their writing skills and place them into an appropriate first English class. As the name suggests, the Writing Placement for Juniors (WPJ) test is a test taken in a student’s junior year as he or she transitions from lower-division course work into the upper division. The exam once again gauges students’ writing skills, but this time to see if they are prepared for and will be successful in upper-division writing courses. If you took the EPT (or an equivalent entry-level placement test at another school), then you will still need to take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W) to fulfill the GWAR.

1.14 I’ve gotten good grades in all of my English classes. Why do I have to take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W)?

Most students who take the WPJ do well and receive a high GWAR placement. While good performance in lower-division composition classes does often lead to success in upper-division writing courses, this is not always the case because the demands of upper-division writing are often much more specialized.  The WPJ will evaluate your writing skills against these more rigorous standards to see if you are prepared for the challenge of upper-division coursework, and if necessary, it will place you into courses that will help you to prepare to be successful as you move toward graduation.

Similarly, most students who take the ENGL 109M/109W do well in the class and receive a high GWAR placement. However, the ENGL 109M/109W class not only evaluates your writing skills against the more rigorous upper-division writing standards, it also helps prepare you to meet those standards. Then, if necessary, it will place you into courses that will help you to prepare to be successful as you move toward graduation.

In any case, all Sac State students must fulfill the GWAR before they can graduate, and the first step toward completing that requirement is taking either the WPJ test or the ENGL 109M/109W class.

1.15 I took and passed the WPE or passed ENGL 109M/ENGL 109W prior to June 2009. Do I have to go through the GWAR placement process to fulfill my GWAR?

If you took the WPE on or before May 30, 2009, and received a score of 8 or higher, then you have completed the Sac State GWAR and do not have to take the WPJ or ENGL 109M/109W. You will still need to take and pass a Writing Intensive course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher to fulfill the Writing Intensive GE requirement.

Similarly, if you took and passed English 109M/109W during or before the Summer 2009 semester, then you have completed the Sac State GWAR and do not have to take the WPJ or retake ENGL 109M/109W. You will still need to take and pass a Writing Intensive course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher to fulfill the Writing Intensive GE requirement.

If you took the WPE or ENGL 109M/109W before the Summer 2009 switchover and did not pass, you should already have a GWAR placement score that you can follow to fulfill your GWAR. However, you do still have the opportunity to take the WPJ one time to try to receive a higher placement.

1.16 When do I have to take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W)?

It is strongly suggested that you take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W) during the first semester of your junior year—when you’ve completed somewhere between 60-74 units—after you’ve passed English 20 (or the equivalent at another school). One of the prerequisites for your Writing Intensive graduation requirement and for several upper-division courses is a GWAR placement score of 70 or above. Taking the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W) early in your junior year ensures that you will have enough time to fulfill the GWAR requirement and still complete your other graduation requirements before you reach your intended graduation date.

To ensure that you keep on track with your graduation requirements, the General Education Office will place a hold on your registration if you complete 74 units without taking the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W).

1.17 How can I decide which GWAR placement option is right for me?

Before deciding which GWAR placement option you would like to pursue—the WPJ test or the ENGL 109M/109W class—you should consider both options very carefully. Once you decide to register for the test/enroll in the class, you will only have a limited amount of time to change your mind before you’re stuck with your decision. Also, with hundreds of students competing for a limited number of seats in the ENGL 109M/109W classes each semester, making a choice that you’re not ready to follow through on (eg. by registering for the class and then dropping after the start of the semester) can make it very difficult for other students to follow through on their own GWARs.

One great way to help you decide which GWAR placement option is right for you is to use the “Making the GWAR Choice” questionnaire (available here as a PDF file). This questionnaire gives you six pairs of simple statements about your comfort level with reading and writing in English. After reading each pair of statements, choose the statement that you agree with most. Once you’ve done so with all six pairs, the questionnaire will suggest the GWAR placement option that may be best for you.

In general, if you don’t feel comfortable with timed writing exams and/or feel like you would benefit from an additional semester of writing instruction, the ENGL 109M/109W may be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you feel like you are a relatively strong writer even under timed conditions and/or don't feel you would benefit from taking another semester of English, the WPJ test option may be right for you.

Either way, you will need to choose one GWAR placement option or the other. Students will not be allowed to be registered for both the ENGL 109M/109W class and the WPJ exam at the same time.

1.18 I’m afraid I won’t do well on the WPJ. Can I just take the ENGL 109M/109W class instead?

Yes. Students can choose to take EITHER the WPJ test OR the ENGL 109M/109W class to receive their GWAR placement numbers. If you don’t feel like you would do well on the WPJ exam, you can choose to take the ENGL 109M/109W class instead.

1.19 I’ve decided not to take the WPJ essay test. Which English class should I take to receive my GWAR placement score?

If you’ve decided that you would prefer to take the class option to receive your GWAR placement score, you can use the table below to help you figure out which English class you should register for:

What is your EDT score? Are you multilingual? Then you should take:
N/A No ENGL 109W
N/A Yes ENGL 109M
2-5 Yes ENGL 109M

If you’re not sure if you have taken the EDT or what your score is, please refer to question 6.01 (“What is the English Diagnostic Test [EDT]?”).

1.20 I’m registered to take the ENGL 109M/109W class to receive my GWAR placement number, but I don’t feel like it’s the right choice for me. Can I still change my mind and take the WPJ test instead?

Students are strongly encouraged to consider their GWAR placement options carefully before deciding to take either the ENGL 109M/109W course or the WPJ test. However, if you chose to take ENGL 109M/109W and feel that it’s not the right choice for you, you may still have a chance to change your mind.

If you register for ENGL 109M/109W but drop the class before the end of the fourth week of instruction (the University Census Date), you will not receive a grade for the class and it will not appear on your transcript. Once the class is dropped, you will be allowed to register for and take the WPJ test to receive your GWAR placement score.

If you register for ENGL 109M/109W and you stay in the class for more than four weeks (past the University Census Date), you have chosen to take the class to receive your GWAR placement score. Since you have made that choice, you cannot now choose to take the WPJ test and should complete your ENGL 109M/109W class to receive your GWAR placement number. Students who drop or stop attending ENGL 109M/109W after week four will receive a GWAR placement score of 50 or 60 for their time in the class and will need to retake the course to complete their GWAR.

1.21 Where can I find my GWAR placement score?

If you chose to take the WPJ test to receive your GWAR placement score, it should be posted online for you at MySacState approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the exam date. If you chose to take ENGL 109M/109W to get your GWAR placement score, it should be posted for you online at MySacState approximately two to three weeks after you submit your final portfolio.

To find your GWAR placement score, sign in to MySacState, go to the main page of your Student Center, and select "Test Score Summary" from the drop down menu located near the middle of the page. This will bring up a list of your Sac State test scores. Your GWAR placement number will be posted as a WPJ test score and will look something like this:

  Test ID Test Descr Component Descr Score Letter Score Test Dt Data Srce Dt Loaded
1 WPJ Writing Placement for Juniors Total 80.00   01/09/2010 E 01/19/2010

If you’re not sure what your GWAR placement score means, please refer to question 1.11 (“What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?”).

1.22 I took the WPJ test (or ENGL 109M/109W) and did well, but my Degree Progress Report still says that I haven't completed my GWAR. What's going on?

Your degree progress report currently shows that you haven’t completed your GWAR because—unless you’ve passed your Writing Intensive course—you technically haven’t done so yet. If you did well on the WPJ (or in ENGL 109M/109W) then you will have the appropriate GWAR placement score to be able enroll in a Writing Intensive course in a future semester. Once you pass your Writing Intensive course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher, your degree progress report will show that you’ve completed your GWAR.

For more information about what you need to do to fulfill your GWAR, please refer to questions 1.03-1.10 (“I’m a [fill in the blank]. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) and find the question that is most appropriate for your situation.

1.23 I have a hold on my registration because I have not taken the WPJ yet. How can I get that hold removed?

There are two kinds of holds that might be placed on your record for the WPJ—one that won’t prevent you from registering for classes and one that will.

The first kind of hold is placed on every student who takes the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W) and receives a GWAR placement number below 80. This hold WILL NOT stop you from registering for classes, and is placed on your record to let you know what you need to do to complete your GWAR. Once you complete your GWAR placement and pass your WI course, that hold will disappear from your record.

The General Education Office places the second kind of hold on students who have completed 74 units (including both units taken at Sac State and units transferred in from other schools) and haven’t begun the GWAR placement process (by choosing to take either the WPJ test or the ENGL 109M/109W class). This kind of hold WILL prevent you from registering for classes until it is temporarily lifted or removed.

The Genereal Education Office does not place these registration holds to prevent you from taking classes, but to get your attention and make sure you stay on track toward completing your graduation requirements by the end of your senior year. One of the prerequisites for your Writing Intensive course and for several other upper-division courses is a GWAR placement score. Starting the GWAR placement process in your junior year ensures that you will have enough time to fulfill the GWAR and still complete your other graduation requirements by the time you intend to graduate.

You can temporarily lift the registration hold by contacting the General Education Office in Sacramento Hall room 234 (phone 278-5344) and signing a one-time, temporary waiver form. By signing this form, you promise to take the next available WPJ test or ENGL 109M/109W class. Once that form is in, the registration hold will be lifted for one semester. If you do not start the GWAR placement process as promised in that time, the registration hold will be reapplied and you will need to speak to the General Education Office to discuss your options for moving forward with your education.

Once you start the GWAR placement process, regardless of the GWAR placement score you receive, the General Education Office will see that you are attempting to complete your graduation requirements and will remove the registration hold permanently.

1.24 I have a WPE hold on my registration but I have taken the WPE/have a GWAR placement score. How can I get that hold removed?

Contact the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (phone 278-6409) with your name and student ID number. We will check into your records to verify that you have taken the WPE/have a GWAR placement score and will work to correct any error that may have been made.

1.25 I haven’t taken the WPJ or ENGL 109M/109W yet, but I need to take a class that requires a certain GWAR placement score this semester in order to graduate on time. What can I do?

That depends on the class that you need to take. If the class fulfills the Writing Intensive graduation requirement (check the Registration & Advising Handbook or the online catalog  [catalog.csus.edu]), the General Education Office MAY be willing to override the prerequisite to allow you to sign up for the course on the promise that you’ll take the WPJ or ENGL 109M/109W in the same semester. This is NOT an option that the General Education Office offers to many people. For more information or to see what options the General Education Office can offer you, contact them in Sacramento Hall room 234 (phone 278-5344).

If the class that you need to take is not Writing Intensive, but is an upper-division course that requires a certain GWAR placement score to register, the department in charge of the class (eg. COMS 100B is in the Department of Communication Studies) may be willing to override the prerequisite to allow you to sign up for the course on the promise that you’ll take the WPJ or ENGL 109M/109W during that same semester. This is NOT an option that is open to many students—the prerequisite is in place to ensure that you have the best chance to succeed in your upper-division courses—and each department has its own policy for this situation. For more information and to see what options are open to you, contact the appropriate department office (see a campus phone book, go online to the CSUS homepage, or call the Information Desk at 278-6977 for contact information).

1.26 I was an undergraduate student at Sac State, but I’m transferring to another CSU campus. Can I get my GWAR transferred to my new school?

If you completed the Sac State GWAR while you were a registered student here and you have decided to complete your degree at another CSU, then yes, you can transfer your completed GWAR requirement to your new school. You have completed your Sac State GWAR requirement if one of the following statements applies to you:

Contact the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (916-278-6586 option 1). You’ll be asked to provide a fax number or mailing address for your new school along with the following personal information:  at least the last four digits of your Social Security Number, your first and last name, and your phone number. We can usually process score transfer requests within 2-3 business days.

It is our office policy to send official GWAR completion verification reports directly to the school to which you are transferring; we cannot send official reports to students. Unofficial reports of your WPE scores/GWAR placement scores are available online at MySacState (click on the “Test Score Summary” link on the main page of your Student Center).

If you did not complete your GWAR requirement while you were studying at Sac State, you will need to speak with an advisor at your new campus to determine what you need to do to fulfill your GWAR at your new campus.

1.27 I graduated from Sac State as an undergraduate. I am now applying to a graduate/certificate program here on campus. The application says I need to provide verification that I fulfilled the GWAR. How can I get that verification?

If you finished your undergraduate degree at Sac State since 1980, you almost certainly fulfilled your GWAR as part of that degree. You have completed your Sac State GWAR if one of the following statements applies to you:

If you completed your GWAR at Sac State, that information will be posted on your permanent student record and should be readily available to the staff in your graduate/certificate program. Because that’s the case, our office does not provide official printed GWAR completion reports for other departments/offices on campus. Unofficial reports of your WPE scores/GWAR placement scores are available online at MySacState (click on the “Test Score Summary” link on the main page of your Student Center). Contact your graduate/certificate program office, discuss your situation with them, and see what they would like you to do to complete your application.

Back to Top

2.01 Are there any prerequisites to taking the WPJ?

It is strongly recommended that you take the exam in the first semester of your junior year—after you’ve completed 60 units but before you complete 74—and after you’ve passed English 20 (or the equivalent at another school). While neither of these suggestions is a firm prerequisite, both will help you to be successful when you take the exam. Since you are only allowed to take the WPJ one time, you may as well go in as prepared as possible.

2.02 What is the WPJ test like?

The standard WPJ test is a two-hour essay exam: 15 minutes for instructions, 15 minutes to read the prompts and brainstorm, 1 hour for the first essay, and 30 minutes for the second essay.

For the first essay, students are given four or five sources (e.g. newspaper articles, short essays, tables/charts, political cartoons, etc.) to read and think about. Students are then asked to write a short essay in which they make an argument about a topic arising from those sources. For the second essay, students will be asked to respond to a specific prompt about either their past experiences with writing or their writing processes.

If you would like more detailed information about the exam, go online to www.al.csus.edu/gwar. There you can find an informational packet that includes a sample exam you can look over as well as other helpful information that can you can use to prepare for the test. Also, when you go to register for the WPJ test online, you will be given the opportunity to sign up for a free, one-hour, informational workshop. This workshop will go over the informational packet mentioned above, but will also give you a chance to ask any questions that you may still have about the test.

Students who are approved for special testing accommodations can receive extra time to take the exam. Please refer to question 2.11 (“I am a student with a disability. How can I request accommodations for taking the WPJ?”) and/or question 2.12 (“I am a multilingual student [English is not my first/primary language]. How can I request accommodations for taking the WPJ?”) for more information.

2.03 How is the WPJ different from the WPE?

There are only a few main differences between the WPE and the WPJ. First, while the WPE was a pass/fail test that you could take up to twice, the new WPJ is a placement test that you take just once. Second, whereas the WPE asked students to write one long essay in two-and-a-half hours, the WPJ is a two-hour test that has students write two shorter essays. Finally, prior to the switchover, passing the WPE fulfilled the GWAR. Now with the WPJ, undergraduate students must also pass their Writing Intensive course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher to fulfill their Sac State GWAR.

All that said, in practice the two tests are very similar. Consider the following:

WPE WPJ In the end you have...
If you do well on the test, then...
(WPE 8-12, WPJ 80)
you’ve fulfilled your GWAR and can now move on to your Writing Intensive course. you can move on to your Writing Intensive course to fulfill your GWAR.
  • taken the test
  • taken a WI course
  • fulfilled GWAR
If you don’t do so well on the test...
(WPE “7”, WPJ 70- 71)
your test will be read a third time, but you may have to take ENGL 109M/109W to fulfill your GWAR requirement and move on to your Writing Intensive course. you can take ENGL 109X in the same semester as your Writing Intensive course to fulfill your GWAR requirement.
  • taken the test
  • taken a WI course
  • fulfilled GWAR
If the test shows you need more help with your writing...
(WPE 0-6, WPJ 50-60)
you will need to pass ENGL 109M/109W to fulfill your GWAR, then move on to take your Writing Intensive course. you will need to pass ENGL 109M/109W before you move on to your Writing Intensive course to fulfill your GWAR.
  • taken the test
  • taken ENGL 109M/109W
  • taken a WI course
  • fulfilled GWAR

2.04 When is the WPJ offered?

The WPJ is offered five times a year, usually in January before Spring semester, in March at Spring semester midterm, in May at the end of Spring semester, in July before Fall semester, and in October at Fall semester midterm. The exact dates vary from year to year, but the tests are generally held on Saturday mornings. For the most up-to-date schedule of WPJ test dates and registration deadlines, see www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

2.05 I want to take my Writing Intensive class next semester. When would be the best time to take the WPJ to make sure I can register for that class in time?

The WPJ is currently offered about five times a year, with test dates staggered throughout the academic year. If you are planning to take your Writing Intensive class in an upcoming semester, you can use the table below to help you decide when you should take the WPJ test to make sure you have your GWAR placement score in time for class registration.

If you plan to take your WI class... ideally, you should take the WPJ... Your last chance to take the WPJ and possibly still get into your WI class (no guarantees) is...
Spring semester on or before the October test date of the previous year the January test date
Summer session on or before the March test date the May test date
Fall semester on or before the March test date the July test date
Winter session on or before the October test date the October test date

2.06 How many chances do I get to take the WPJ?

The WPJ is a placement test that students take just one time. After you take the test, you will be given a GWAR placement number that will tell you which class(es) to take to complete your Sac State GWAR.

2.07 I took the WPE before it was replaced by the WPJ and I didn’t pass. Do I still have a chance to take the WPJ?

Students who took the WPE on or before May 30, 2009, and did not pass should now follow the new GWAR placement process to fulfill their GWAR at Sac State. Regardless of the number of times a student may have failed the WPE before June 2009, she will still be given the option to take the WPJ test to receive her GWAR placement score. For more information about the GWAR placement process and what you should do to fulfill your GWAR, please refer to questions 1.03-1.10 (“I’m a [fill in the blank]. How do I fulfill my GWAR at Sac State?”) and find the question that is most appropriate for your situation.

Students who took the WPE on or before May 30, 2009, may notice that they have a WPJ test score posted on their record. Please refer to question 1.12 (“I’ve never taken the WPJ, but I have a WPJ placement score on my record. What’s going on?”) for more information about this placement score.

2.08 How do I register for the WPJ?

You can register for the WPJ online during the two-week registration period open before each test (for an up-to-date list of test dates and registration periods, please refer to www.al.csus.edu/gwar). Go to www.csus.edu/testing and follow the links that refer to the WPJ registration until you find the online registration system.

Once you sign in using your SacLink ID and password (the same as you use to sign in to MySacState) you’ll be asked two registration questions to see if you’re eligible for special testing accommodations. Read those questions carefully and answer each question appropriately. If you don’t understand what these questions are asking, please refer to question 2.09 (“I’m trying to register for the WPJ online, but I don’t understand the registration questions. What do these questions mean?”).

You will then be asked to enter an email address. Use an email address that you check frequently. If we have any problems with or need to cancel your test registration, this is how we will contact you. You are responsible for checking this email address for updates on your test registration.

Before you complete your registration process, you’ll be asked to review all of the information that you’ve entered. Look this page over carefully. If it says that you requested multilingual or disability testing accommodations and you did not intend to do so, press the back button to go back to the registration questions and reread them carefully before answering. If the email address is incorrect, press the back button and reenter it correctly.

Once everything is in order, read over the policy statements toward the bottom of the page. You will need to check the boxes saying that you understand and agree to those statements before you’ll be allowed to finish registering for the test.

At the end of the registration process you will be shown a confirmation page with information about where you should go, when you should go, and what you should bring with you on the day of the exam. Print this page if you can or copy the information carefully as it will be vital to know on the day of the test.

If your confirmation page says that you requested multilingual or disability testing accommodations and you did not intend to do so, contact the Testing Center in Lassen Hall room 2302 (phone 278-6296, press 0 to speak to the desk attendant) as soon as possible to have them help you re-register correctly. Your test registration will be cancelled if you request testing accommodations for which you are not eligible.

2.09 I’m trying to register for the WPJ online, but I don’t understand the registration questions. What do these questions mean?

After you sign into the online WPJ registration system and confirm your name, you will be asked two registration questions to see if you’re eligible for special testing accommodations.

The first question will ask if you are a student with a disability who is registered with the Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) office here at Sac State.

If you are a student with a disability and you would like more information about how you could receive accommodations to take the WPJ, STOP. DO NOT complete the WPJ registration process until you contact the SSWD Office in Lassen Hall room 1008 (phone 916-278-6955). For more information about requesting special testing accommodations, please refer to question 2.11 (“I am a student with a disability. How can I request accommodations for taking the WPJ?”).

The second question will ask if you are a multilingual student.

Be advised, your test registration will be cancelled if you request testing accommodations for which you are not eligible.

2.10 How much does the WPJ cost and how do I pay?

There is a test fee of $25 for the WPJ which pays for test materials and staffing. You can pay the $25 fee with either check or money order (NO CASH) at the door to your testing room on the day of your exam.

Our previous policy had students pay the $25 fee prior to the day of their exam. If you paid to take the WPE prior to 2008 and you did not take that exam (eg. if you missed the test due to illness), you can bring your receipt to the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 during an open WPJ registration period to have your previous payment transferred to that upcoming test.

2.11 I am a student with a disability. How can I request accommodations for taking the WPJ?

To be eligible to receive testing accommodations for the WPJ, you must first be registered with the Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) Office in Lassen Hall room 1008 (phone 278-6955).

At least one week before the WPJ registration deadline, visit SSWD to let them know you will be registering for the WPJ. They will notify the Testing Center of the accommodations you will need to help you be successful on the test. You will then need to register for the WPJ online.

During the online registration process, you will come to a question that asks if you are a student with a disability who is registered with the SSWD Office. Answer yes to this question to request testing accommodations.

2.12 I am a multilingual student (English is not my first/primary language). How can I request accommodations for taking the WPJ?

The online WPJ registration system will ask you if you are a multilingual student. If you feel you would benefit from additional time on the WPJ exam, please select "yes." You will be placed into a test room where you’ll be given an additional hour and 15 minutes to take the exam.

2.13 My registration for the WPJ was cancelled. Why? Can I still take the test?

If you are not a student with a disability who is registered with the Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) Office and you answered “yes” to the first question, your registration was cancelled because you are not eligible for disability testing accommodations for the WPJ. If you did not mean to request disability testing accommodations, you can go back in to the online registration system during the open registration period and re-register. This time make sure that you answer “no” to the first question. If you are a student with a disability and you would like to register with the SSWD office to be able to receive testing accommodations for the WPJ, contact them in Lassen Hall room 1008 (phone 278-6955) before trying to re-registering.

If you have already taken the WPJ or if you’ve received a grade (including a ‘W’ or ‘WU’) in ENGL 109M/109W since the end of the Summer session 2009, your registration has been cancelled because you are not allowed to take the test after you have a GWAR placement score. You will not be allowed to re-register for the test and should follow the instructions for your placement score to complete your GWAR.

If you are currently registered in an ENGL 109M/109W class and the Census Date for the semester has passed (at the end of week 4), you will not be able to re-register for the test. The first step of the GWAR placement process requires students to choose to take EITHER the ENGL 109M/109W class OR the WPJ test to receive their GWAR placement score. By staying in the ENGL 109M/109W class for more than four weeks, you have chosen to take the class to receive your GWAR placement score. Since you have made that choice, you cannot now choose to take the WPJ test and should complete your ENGL 109M/109W class to receive your GWAR placement score.

If you are currently registered in an ENGL 109M/109W class and the Census Date for the semester has NOT passed (at the end of week 4), you will need to drop that class before you re-register. The first step of the GWAR placement process requires students to choose to take EITHER the ENGL 109M/109W class OR the WPJ test to receive their GWAR placement score; students are not allowed to be registered for both the class and the test at the same time.

If you took the WPE on or before May 30, 2009, and received a score of 8 or higher OR if you took and passed ENGL 109M/109W during or before the Summer 2009 semester, then your registration was cancelled because you have completed the Sac State GWAR. You do not need to take the WPJ. You will still need to take and pass a Writing Intensive  course with a grade of ‘C-‘ or higher to fulfill the Writing Intensive GE requirement.

2.14 I received an email saying that my WPJ test registration was in jeopardy. What does that mean? Can I still take the test?

If you are currently registered in an ENGL 109M/109W class and the Census Date for the semester has not yet passed (before the end of week 4), you may not be allowed to take the test.

The first step of the GWAR placement process requires students to choose to take EITHER the ENGL 109M/109W class OR the WPJ test to receive their GWAR placement score. Students are not be allowed to be registered for both at the same time. You will not be able to take the WPJ test unless you drop your ENGL 109M/109W class.

Read the instructions in the email carefully and respond promptly to let us know if you would like to take the class or the test option. If you do not respond in a timely manner, we may make the choice for you and cancel your test registration.

2.15 I’m not able to make it on the day of the exam, but I need to take this test. Is there a make-up exam date?

A make-up exam is available after each WPJ for students who aren't able to attend the day of the exam for religious, academic, medical, emergency, or other compelling reasons. To qualify for the make-up exam, students must first register for the regular test online, then email a request to english@csus.edu including the following information by 12PM on the Tuesday following the exam:

Please note: Confirmation for the make-up exam will only be sent to your SacLink email account.

Once the online registration period for the WPJ closes, make-up requests will only be considered for students who already registered online for the Saturday exam.

2.16 I forgot to register during the registration period. Is there any way I can still sign up for the WPJ?

Unfortunately no. Typically at least 2,000 students take the WPJ each time it’s offered. A test this size requires a lot of organization and preparation in advance to make sure everything is successful on the day of the exam. Because of this need for advance planning, no late registration for the exam can be accepted. See our website at www.al.csus.edu/gwar for the next available WPJ test date and registration period.

2.17 Are there workshops to help me prepare for the WPJ? How do I register for one?

Yes. At the end of the online registration process, at the bottom of your registration confirmation page, you will find a link to help you sign up for a GWAR workshop. These workshops are free, one-time, one-hour informational sessions for students who are getting ready for the WPJ. The workshop will give you information about the test, show you a sample WPJ test, and give you a chance to ask any questions you might have about the exam.

We offer several potential dates and times during the two weeks prior to each test, so hopefully you can find one that fits into your schedule. If you are unable to find a workshop time that works for you, you can find the workshop packet online at  www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

There is no writing practice in the WPJ workshops. If you feel you would benefit from working with a tutor prior to the exam, contact the Writing Center in Calaveras Hall room 128 (phone 278-6356) to see what services they may be able to offer you.

If you didn’t sign up for a workshop when you first registered for the WPJ, you can still do so online. Return to the online registration system at www.csus.edu/testing. Sign in as you did before as if you’re going to re-register for the test. This should bring you back to your registration confirmation page and the link that you can use to sign up for a workshop.

2.18 Where is the WPJ held?

The WPJ is held in classrooms across the Sac State campus. Check your WPJ registration confirmation sheet to see which room you should report to. If you have misplaced that confirmation sheet, return to the online registration system at www.csus.edu/testing. Sign in as you did before as if you’re going to re-register for the test. This should bring you back to your registration confirmation page with information about where you should go, when you should go, and what you should bring with you on the day of the exam. Print this page if you can or copy the information carefully as it will be vital to know on the day of the test.

2.19 What time of day is the WPJ held?

Because of the number of students who generally take the WPJ, we typically hold two different test times on the morning of each WPJ test day (one at 8:30AM and one at 11:30AM). The online registration system places students into the first open test time available when they register. Because of the large number of students taking the exam each test date, we are unfortunately unable to accept test time requests. All students requesting multilingual or disability testing accommodations will be placed into the 8:30AM test time.

Your WPJ registration confirmation page, which will come up at the end of your registration, will tell you which test time to report to. Print this page if you can or copy the information carefully as it will be vital to know on the day of the test.

2.20 Can I choose which test time I’d like to take?

Because of the large number of students taking the exam each test date, we are unfortunately unable to accept test time requests. When you register, the online registration system will place you into the first open test time available. All students requesting multilingual or disability testing accommodations will be placed into the 8:30AM test time.

2.21 What do I need to bring on the day of the test?

On your WPJ test day you should bring all of the following:

Scratch paper for prewriting and a bluebook for your final draft will be provided for you.

2.22 I signed up for the WPJ, but something came up and I won’t be able to make the test. How do I cancel my registration?

During the open registration period, you can cancel your WPJ registration by contacting the Testing Center in Lassen Hall room 2302 (phone 278-6296, press 0 to speak to the desk attendant). After registration closes, cancellation is not necessary.

If you are not able to make it to the test and you do not cancel your registration, don’t worry! It will not count against you if you are not there to take the exam. You will just want to make sure you sign up for the next available WPJ to keep on track with your graduation requirements. To find the most up-to-date schedule of WPJ test dates and registration periods, go to our website at www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

2.23 I overslept and I missed the test! Will this count against me?

No. It will not count against you if you are not there to take the exam. You will just want to make sure you sign up for the next available WPJ to keep on track with your graduation requirements. To find the most up-to-date schedule of WPJ test dates and registration periods, go to our website at www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

2.24 I missed the test because of an emergency. What can I do?

A make-up exam is available after each WPJ for students who aren't able to attend the day of the exam for religious, academic, medical, emergency, or other compelling reasons. To qualify for the make-up exam, students must first register for the regular test online, then email a request to english@csus.edu including the following information by 12PM on the Tuesday following the exam:

Please note: Confirmation for the make-up exam will only be sent to your SacLink email account.

Once the online registration period for the WPJ closes, make-up requests will only be considered for students who already registered online for the Saturday exam.

If you missed the test and you are unable to attend the make-up exam, don’t worry! It will not count against you if you are not there to take the test. You will just want to make sure you sign up for the next available WPJ to keep on track with your graduation requirements. To find the most up-to-date schedule of WPJ test dates and registration periods, go to our website at www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

2.25 How long does it take for the scores to be posted?

GWAR placement scores for the WPJ are generally posted on MySacState 3 to 4 weeks after the exam date. Scores will not be available to students until they are posted online.

2.26 How can I find my WPJ test score?

Please refer to question 1.21 (“Where can I find my GWAR placement score?”).

2.27 What is a passing score on the WPJ?

The WPJ (unlike the test it replaced, the WPE) is a placement test; therefore technically there are no “passing” or “failing” scores, only different placements. For more information about the GWAR placement options and what they mean, please refer to question 1.11 (“What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?”).

2.28 What happens if I don’t pass the WPJ?

The WPJ (unlike the test it replaced, the WPE) is a placement test; therefore technically there are no “passing” or “failing” scores, only different placements. After you’ve taken the exam and received your GWAR placement score, follow the instructions for your placement to complete your GWAR. For more information about the GWAR placement options and what they mean, please refer to question 1.11 (“What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?”).

2.29 I’m really surprised I didn’t do well on the WPJ. Can I have my test looked at/graded again?

The faculty members who graded your WPJ test went through an hour-and-a-half-long re-training session (called “norming”) before grading each session to review the standardized grading rubric and to ensure that they would grade consistently and correctly based on that rubric. Once the readers were “normed,” your test book went through a three-tier grading process during which your test book was read 2-3 times (each time by a new reader) and your final placement score was determined. Once the scores for all the books were entered into a computer database, they went through two auditing processes to ensure that the score in the database matched the score on the test book. The information in the database was then run through a computer program that entered all of the test scores onto MySacState.

The steps that we have set in place ensure that each test book receives the grade that it should receive based on the standardized grading rubric and that that grade is entered correctly on MySacState, therefore we do not regrade test books.

The standardized rubric that your test was graded on is included in the informational workshop packet available on our website at www.al.csus.edu/gwar.

2.30 I want to know why I didn’t do well on the WPJ. Can I see my graded test book?

If you register for ENGL 109M/109W, you will have the opportunity to go through your WPJ test book with your instructor. Each of the ENGL 109M/109W instructors has experience with grading the WPJ and interpreting the grading rubric and they will be able to discuss with you why you received the score you did; and through the course of the class, they will work with you to improve on the skills where you had trouble before. Outside of ENGL 109M/109W, there is no process for you to review your test book. When the readers graded your test book, they left no marks or notes in it aside from your score. Without an experienced grader to review your test with you and to help explain the score you received, seeing your test booklet would not be helpful for you.

However, you can review the standardized rubric that your test was graded on; it is included in the informational workshop packet available here. This may help give you an idea of what the graders saw when they read your book.

2.31 If I paid to take the WPE before, do I still have to pay to take the WPJ?

Yes. The fee goes to pay for your testing materials (bluebook and scratch paper) as well as for all of the staff involved with the exam (proctors on the day of the exam, faculty readers to grade your exam, etc.) and must be paid each time you go to take the exam.

There is one exception to this rule: Prior to 2008, students were required to pay the WPE registration fee in advance at the cashier’s office. If you paid in advance to take a WPE test, but never actually took that test, it’s possible to transfer that payment to a new test. Just bring your original receipt for your payment to the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (916-278-6586 option 1) after you register for a WPJ test.

2.32 I took the WPE/WPJ, but my score isn’t on MySacState. What can I do to fix that?

If you took the WPJ less than a month ago, your results may not be posted online yet. As soon as they are available, you will be able to see them on MySacState in your Student Center—just click on the “Test Score Summary” link located toward the middle of the page.

If you took the WPE/WPJ more than a month ago and your results still have not appeared on MySacState (be sure you’re checking the right place: click on the “Test Score Summary” link on the main page of your Student Center), contact the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103 (phone 278-6409) with your name and student ID number. We will check into your records to verify that you have taken the test and work to correct any error that may have been made.

2.33 I don't live in the Sacramento area. Can I have the WPJ sent to a test proctor where I live so I don't have to travel to Sacramento?

Because we offer multiple test dates and make-up test dates throughout the year, there are very few situations where we will send the WPJ test off-campus to be be proctored elsewhere. If you are a Sac State student who attends classes on campus during Fall and/or Spring semesters, you will need to find a time when you can take the WPJ test on campus. For an up-to-date list of WPJ test dates, make-up test dates, and registration periods, please refer to www.al.csus.edu/gwar. For more information about registering for a make-up exam date, please refer to question 2.15 ("I'm not able to make it on the day of the exam, but I need to take this test. Is there a make-up exam date?").

If you are a Sac State student who lives outside the Sacramento area and you are fulfilling your degree requirements by taking online courses through the College of Continuing Education (CCE), you may be able to have your test proctored at a location closer to where you live. Contact CCE (phone 916-278-4433) for more information.

If you have another, compelling reason for not taking the WPJ test on campus, submit a written request to the Writing Programs Office:

Fax: (916) 278-5410
Attn: Julie Ly
OR Writing Programs Office
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6075

Be sure your request includes your contact information, student ID number, and a detailed explanation why taking the test on campus would cause you undue hardship. Each request will be considered for approval on a case-by-case basis by the GWAR Coordinator.

2.34 I'm a student at Sac State who needs to take the WPJ, but none of the scheduled test dates work in my schedule. Can I take a test that's equivalent to the WPJ at another CSU campus and transfer the score back to Sac State?

No. California State University policy states that students must fulfill the GWAR at the campus where they are matriculated (i.e. enrolled as a student and pursuing a degree). While another CSU campus may allow you to take an equivalent exam--if you are a Sac State student at the time--the score that you receive on that exam will not help you fulfill your GWAR at Sac State.

If you're having troubles finding a WPJ test date that fits in your schedule, please remember that we offer several exam dates and make-up exam dates throughout the year. For an up-to-date list of WPJ test dates, make-up test dates, and registration periods, please refer to www.al.csus.edu/gwar. For more information about registering for a make-up exam date, please refer to question 2.15 ("I'm not able to make it on the day of the exam, but I need to take this test. Is there a make-up exam date?").

Also, remember that the WPJ test is only one of the two GWAR placement options available to you. If you absolutely cannot find a WPJ test date that works in your schedule, you can register to take the ENGL 109M/109W class instead. Once you finish that class, you will be given a GWAR placement score just as if you had taken the exam.

Back to Top

3.01 Are there any prerequisites to taking ENGL 109M/109W?

To take ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W, you will first need to complete 60 units toward your GPA (have junior standing) and have passed English 20 or the equivalent at another school.

3.02 What is ENGL 109M/109W like?

ENGL 109M/109W is a writing class designed to review academic reading and writing skills, help you improve upon those skills, and prepare you to be successful in upper-division writing courses. Through the semester you will write and revise several documents about the research and writing methods in your major discipline; you will use these to create a GWAR Portfolio. Your instructor, in consultation with other ENGL 109M/109W instructors, will grade your GWAR Portfolio at the end of the semester using a standardized grading rubric (which you can see here). Once your portfolio is graded and you’ve been given a final grade for the class, you will also be given a GWAR placement score that you will follow to complete your GWAR at Sac State.

3.03 What is the difference between ENGL 109M and ENGL 109W?

ENGL 109M and ENGL 109W are equivalent classes. They both help students get their GWAR placement scores and/or help students complete their GWAR. The difference between the two classes is that ENGL 109M is meant specifically for multilingual students (students whose first language is not English). ENGL 109M is taught by instructors who are experienced with teaching multilingual students and who know many of the common difficulties multilingual writers can have when writing in English. These instructors use their experience to help their students improve their writing skills.

ENGL 109M is neither easier nor more difficult than ENGL 109W, simply more specialized. Students in both classes will fulfill the same course objectives and will have their portfolios graded using the same standardized grading rubric (which you can see here).

If you do not yet have a GWAR placement number and you need help deciding if you should take ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W, please refer to question 1.19 (“I’ve decided not to take the WPJ essay test. Which English class should I take to receive my GWAR placement score?”). If you already have a GWAR placement score, that number will instruct you which class you should choose. Please refer to question 1.11 (“What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?”) to help you determine which class you’ve been placed into.

3.04 I’ve heard that ENGL 109M/109W students have to write a “diagnostic essay” in the first week of class. What does that mean?

In the first week of class, ENGL 109M/109W students may be asked to write a brief “diagnostic essay” for their instructor. There are two reasons for this essay. The first is to give the instructor an idea what her students’ writing strengths and weaknesses may be. It also gives instructors a chance to identify students who might be more successful taking a different class and to arrange for those students to change classes. For example, a multilingual student who enrolled himself in ENGL 109W might be moved into an ENGL 109M class depending on his diagnostic essay.

3.05 If I pass ENGL 109M/109W, do I have to take the WPJ?

No. The first step to fulfilling the GWAR requirement at Sac State is for a student to choose to take EITHER the WPJ test OR the ENLG 109M/109W class. If you choose to take the ENGL 109M/109W class to receive your GWAR placement score, that means that you will not (and cannot) take the WPJ test.

3.06 Are there any classes at the local junior colleges that are equivalent to ENGL 109M/109W?

No. If you are a Sac State student and you are trying to fulfill your GWAR, you will need to take any GWAR coursework (e.g. ENGL 109M/109W) here at Sac State.

Please remember, we offer several sections of ENGL 109M and ENGL 109W each Spring and Fall semester. We also typically offer at least one section of each class during each six-week session of the Summer semester. On rare occasions, we may also offer ENGL 109M/109W during the Winter intersession.

3.07 I'm a new transfer student to Sac State and I'm trying to sign up for ENGL 109M/109W, but I keep getting a "prerequisites not met" error. What's going on? Can I add this class?

When you first transfer to Sac State from another school, it can take up to a semester for the Degree Evaluations Office to look at your final transcripts from your previous school, evaluate them, and put your course credit into your computer record. One of the prerequisites for ENGL 109M/109W is a course (ENGL 20 or equivalent) that most transfer students take before they transfer to Sac State. When you attempt to register for ENGL 109M/109W, the computer looks to see if you've completed that course; because that course hasn't been entered into your record yet, the computer thinks you don't meet the prerequisites for the class.

If you are transferring to Sac State from another school in California, the Writing Programs Office staff should be able to help you register you for your ENGL 109M/109W class. Just bring a copy of your unofficial final transcripts from your previous school to the English department office in Calaveras Hall room 103. The staff there will work with you to override the class requirements and manually add you to the section of your choice.

If you are transferring to Sac State from a school outside of California, you will need to wait until the Degree Evaluations Office has evaluated your final transcripts and entered your course credit into your computer record. This may take up to a semester to complete.

Back to Top

4.01 What is the ENGL 109X class?

If you received a GWAR placement score of 70 or 71, you will need to take ENGL 109X in the same semester as your Writing Intensive course. ENGL 109X is a one-unit tutorial course that is meant to help you with your writing assignments from your Writing Intensive course. The course will meet one day each week in the classroom, but will also have an online component.

Passing ENGL 109X and your Writing Intensive course in the same semester completes your GWAR.

4.02 Can I choose to take the ENGL 109X class instead of ENGL 109M/109W?

No. Students can only take ENGL 109X if they have a GWAR placement score of 70 or 71. You may not self-place yourself into the ENGL 109X class.

4.03 ENGL 109X says that it’s “WEBONLINE,” but it also has a room number and a class day/time. Is it an online course?

ENGL 109X has BOTH a classroom component AND an online component. Students must attend class in the classroom and complete any online assignments to pass the ENGL 109X class.

4.04 I can’t find a section of ENGL 109X that fits in my schedule. Can I take my Writing Intensive course now and ENGL 109X some other semester?

No. ENGL 109X is a one-unit tutorial course that is meant to help you with your writing assignments from your Writing Intensive course. If you have a GWAR placement score of 70 or 71, you must take both ENGL 109X and your Writing Intensive course together in the same semester.

4.05 I passed ENGL 109X this semester, but not my Writing Intensive course. Have I fulfilled my GWAR?

No. If you have a GWAR placement score or 70 or 71, you must take and pass both ENGL 109X and your Writing Intensive course in the same semester to fulfill your GWAR. If you passed your ENGL 109X course but failed your Writing Intensive course, you will need to repeat both courses to fulfill your GWAR.

Back to Top

5.01 According to my GWAR placement score I’m ready to take a Writing Intensive course. Which Writing Intensive course should I take?

There are dozens of Writing Intensive courses offered at Sac State through dozens of departments. To help you choose which Writing Intensive course you should take to complete your GWAR requirement, you should speak with your major advisor. Your advisor should be able to point you to a Writing Intensive course that is built into your major’s required coursework, one that fits well into your required curriculum, or one that can fulfill a number of GE requirements for you at the same time. If not, they can still sit down with you and help you find a Writing Intensive course that works for you.

5.02 I took a writing intensive course at another school before I transferred to Sac State. Do I still have to take one here?

Most likely, yes. While many classes could probably be described as being “writing intensive,” at Sac State, the term “Writing Intensive (WI) course” refers to a very specific set of upper-division (junior level or higher) classes that have been approved by the General Education Office and fulfill the Writing Intensive GE requirement. A full list of approved WI classes can be found in the Registration and Advising Handbook or the online catalog  (http://aaweb.csus.edu/catalog/default.html) To fulfill the WI requirement at Sac State, you will most likely need to take one of the classes from that list.

If you have taken a junior-level or higher writing course at another university and you would like to know if it could fulfill your Writing Intensive requirement at Sac State, contact the General Education Office in Sacramento Hall room 234 (phone 278-5344).

5.03 Can I register for a Writing Inetensive (WI) course before I have received a GWAR placement score?

No. One of the prerequisites for all Writing Intensive (WI) courses is a GWAR placement score of 70 or above. If you do not have an appropriate GWAR placement score on your academic record when you attempt to register for a WI course, the CMS registration system will block your enrollment.

The General Education Office MAY make exceptions to this rule in the case of exceptional circumstances. They MAY be willing to override the prerequisite to allow you to sign up for a WI course on the promise that you’ll take the WPJ or ENGL 109M/109W in the same semester. This is NOT an option that the General Education Office offers to many people. For more information or to see what options the General Education Office can offer you, contact them in Sacramento Hall room 234 (phone 278-5344).

For more information about the GWAR placement scores and what they mean, please refer to question 1.11 ("What are the GWAR placement scores and what do they mean?").

Back to Top

6.01 What was the English Diagnostic Test (EDT)?

Please note: Effective Summer 2014, the EDT is no longer given or required at Sacramento State.

The EDT was a test for multilingual students (students whose first/primary language is not English) to gauge their English writing skills. Among other things, the EDT tested to see if a multilingual student could be more successful if he had more time to take the WPJ or if he would benefit from taking our multilingual track of English classes. Multilingual students entering Sacramento State as freshmen may have received an EDT score on their English Placement Test (EPT). Otherwise, students may have elected to take the EDT through the English department office.

To see if you have an EDT score or to find out what that score is, just log onto MySacState, go to your Student Center, and click on the “Test Score Summary” link located toward the middle of the page.

6.02 Do I have to take the EDT before I take the WPJ (or ENGL 109M/109W)?

Please note: Effective Summer 2014 the EDT is no longer given or required at Sacramento State.

If you are a multilingual student and you feel like you would benefit from additional time on the WPJ, please do the following: Select "yes" when the WPJ online registration system asks if you are a multilingual student.

If you would like to sign up for ENGL 5M, ENGL 10M, or ENGL 109M, the EDT is no longer a prerequisite for those courses.

6.03 How can I find my EDT score?

To see if you have an EDT score, or to find out what your score is, log onto MySacState, go to your Student Center, and select "Test Score Summary" from the drop down menu located toward the middle of the page.

6.04 What does my EDT test score mean?

An EDT score of 2, 3, 4, or 5 indicates that you may need more time to process written English and that you could benefit from multilingual track English courses, including ENGL 5M, ENGL 10M/11M, ENGL 20M, and ENGL 109M.

If your EDT score is blank, that means that your test was evaluated and it was determined that you do not need multilingual accommodations to be successful in your English instruction.

6.05 I have an EDT test score, but I don't remember taking the EDT test? What's going on?

As a part of the CSU English Placement Test (EPT), you may have been asked to fill out a survey that asked if English was your first language or if you speak another language at home. Based on your answers to that survey and your performance on the EPT, you may have been given an EDT score.

Back to Top