Southeast Missouri State University Center for Writing Excellence

Writing Assessment Program - Writing Proficiency Exams

Writing assessment is an important part of writing across the curriculum at Southeast Missouri State University.  Through assessment, the university is able to place the student in the composition course best suited to his or her needs, monitor the effectiveness of the writing experience at Southeast, and ensure that all students who graduate from Southeast Missouri State University have basic writing competencies.


It is important to remember that the purpose of the Writing Assessment Program is not just to certify the student's individual competency.  The State of Missouri is increasingly concerned that its institutions of higher learning conduct extensive assessment to determine the effect of curriculum and instruction on levels of performance in key areas.  In order to respond to this concern, the university cannot rely merely upon student grades to draw conclusions about performance levels.  The writing assessment component of writing across the curriculum collects and analyzes supplementary data which can be used to improve curriculum and instruction and assess the effectiveness of instructional programs.


The university administers three major assessments of writing proficiency:

(1) the Writing Placement Essay (WP001),

(2) the Written Expression Exit Exam (WP002),

and (3) the Writing Proficiency Exam (WP003). 

All entering first-year students with an ACT English subscore below 22 must take the placement test.  All students completing a course in Written Expression (usually EN140) must take the Exit Exam.  And all students, regardless of whether they have taken the previous two tests, must take the Writing Proficiency Examination.


It is strongly recommended that students acquaint themselves with these tests and the manner in which they are scored.  A handbook, Writing Proficiency Exam: Student Essays Evaluated and Annotated (1997), is available at the Southeast Missouri State University bookstore for this purpose.  This Web site also provides information on the writing proficiency tests, information adapted from that handbook.




Photo by Allen Gathman

2008 Southeast MO St. U.
Updated October 15, 2008
by Allen Gathman