GWAR

GWE Update

Per AA 2020-04, the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) and the Graduation Writing Exam (GWE) are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 for Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. Please note that students who are graduating Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 are exempt from the GWAR. 

We thank you in advance for your cooperation during this difficult time as we strive to keep our students, families, communities, and ourselves safe and healthy.


FAQ's - Temporary Suspension of the GWAR in Response to COVID-19

What is the Graduation Writing Assessment Examination (GWAR)?

In 1976 the Trustees of the California State University passed a resolution directing that, as a requirement for graduation, "all students entering the CSU system be required to demonstrate their competency with regard to writing skills." The resolution also specified that this Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) could not be met by a lower-division writing course or by students who had not yet gained upper-division status. The GWAR program at CSU Dominguez Hills is in full compliance with this resolution and with later modifications to it described in the "Revised CSU Policy Memorandum on Student Competency in Writing," August 1, 1994, and the "Determination of Competence in English and Mathematics" (Executive Order 665), February 28, 1997.

How do I meet the GWAR?

Undergraduate: Undergraduate students must first complete their lower division English composition courses in Area A, General Education, before attempting to complete this upper division requirement. Fulfillment of GWAR should be undertaken at the beginning of the junior year (or 60 units), and satisfied by the time 72 units are completed.

Graduate: Students working toward a master's degree should meet the GWAR requirement within the first nine units of graduate work. This requirement must be met before students can begin their culminating activity (thesis/project or comprehensive exam).

What options are there to satisfy the GWAR?

Option 1: The Graduation Writing Examination

  • The Graduation Writing Examination is a one-hour examination in which students write an impromptu essay responding to a specified topic given to them when the test is administered.
    • On Campus: The GWE is offered five times per academic year in September, November, February, April, and July. The exam is $35 per exam. Students may only take the examination twice within their academic career. The exam must be paid for every time a student tests. After two examination attempts, students must then take a certifying course. 
    • Distance Learning: Students who are part of a distance learning program or live greater than 25 miles from campus may elect to complete the GWE via proctor. The distance learning GWE is offered three times a year in the fall, spring, and summer. 
    • Undergraduates can satisfy the GWAR by scoring an 8 or higher on the GWE.
    • Graduates can satisfy the GWAR by scoring an 8 or higher on the GWE.
      • Note: According to Executive Order 1100, CSUDH graduate students with a catalog year later than Spring 2018 will not need to satisfy GWAR as long as they received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the United States.

 

Option 2: Certifying Courses

  • English 350: Advanced Composition Course(offered by the English Department). The English Department regularly offers an advanced composition course (ENG 350, 3 units, A-C/NC). A Composition Cooperative exam is administered at the end of the course and counts for 25% of the grade.
  • IDS 397 & 398: Upper Division Writing Adjunct(offered by the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies). The Writing Adjunct (IDS 397, 2 units, and IDS 398, 2 units, CR/NC), provides individualized instruction in composition that is adjunctive to writing for other courses. Students must complete both IDS 397 and IDS 398. A Composition Cooperative exam is administered at the end of IDS 398 and counts for 50% of the grade.
  • Undergraduates can satisfy the GWAR by completing English 350 with a C or better or by receiving credit for both IDS 397 and 398.
    • Note: CSUDH students who complete English 350 with a C+/C in their undergrad and return to CSUDH for a graduate program will have to meet the GWAR at the graduate level.
  • Graduates can satisfy the GWAR by completing English 350 and IDS 397/398 with a B or better.
    • Note: According to Executive Order 1100, CSUDH graduate students with a catalog year later than Spring 2018 will not need to satisfy GWAR as long as they received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the United States.

 

Option 3: Transfer Certification Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR

  • Students who have satisfied the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at another CSU campus in 1984 or later but prior to matriculation at CSU Dominguez Hills may petition for exemption from repeating the requirement at CSUDH. Students must complete the Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR and submit official supporting documentation to the Testing Office.
  • Students may also petition for Fulfillment of GWAR if they have:
    • Completed an upper division composition course (equivalent to English 350 at CSUDH) at another university prior to admission to CSUDH with a grade of B or higher. Lower division writing courses (e.g. Freshman English,) upper division literature or discipline-specific courses, and specialized courses in business, technical, report, or creative writing, among other courses, are NOT acceptable. Students must submit an official set of transcripts with the applicable course highlighted and a copy of the university catalog description of the course.
    • A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing Analysis of the GMAT.
    • A score of 4.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE.
If I was denied graduation in a previous semester because I only needed the GWAR, am I eligible to graduate now?

If you were denied graduation for Fall 2019 or a previous semester and all that was outstanding was the GWAR, you may be eligible to graduate. Please make an online appointment with an advisor in the University Advisement Center to go over the process to clear your degree

I took the GWE (Graduation Writing Exam) previously and did not pass. Can I get a refund?

No, the GWE administration and scoring is funded from the exam fees collected at registration. If you sat the exam and received a score the fee you paid covered these services.

How do I know if I am exempt from satisfying the GWAR for graduation?

Per AA 2020-04, the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) and the Graduation Writing Exam (GWE) are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 for Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. Please note that students who are graduating Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 are exempt from the GWAR. 

I have already applied for graduation, but the GWAR still shows as UNMET on my Academic Requirements Report. When will it be changed to COMPLETED?

The University is in the process of reviewing graduation candidates’ records in light of the temporary limited suspension of the CSU Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).  Your record will be updated accordingly before the end of the Spring 2020 semester, prior to the awarding of degrees.

Do I need to submit any paperwork to be cleared for the GWAR?

There is nothing further you need to do at this time.

I am currently enrolled for ENG 350, will the course still meet the requirement?

Yes, ENG 350 will still satisfy the GWAR for graduation.

I applied for Spring 2020 graduation and am currently taking ENG 350. If I do not pass ENG 350, will I still be able to graduate?

That depends. If you need the units in order to meet the 120 units required for graduation and you do not pass or receive an NC in the course, then no, you will not be able to graduate. If you have met all other graduation requirements and were only taking ENG 350 to fulfill the GWAR, then you can still graduate, even if you do not pass or receive an NC in ENG 350.

In order to fully understand your own situation, we strongly encourage you to speak with an advisor in the University Advisement Center to review all of the implications of an NC or W for ENG 350.

I will be graduating in Summer 2020/Fall 2020 and have enrolled in ENG 350. Should I drop the class from my schedule?

Although the GWAR will be waived, taking ENG 350 enhances students’ overall writing abilities, so taking it may be recommended. Also, ENG 350 meets other graduation requirements such as the overall number of units needed to graduate. We therefore strongly encourage all students to speak to an advisor in the University Advisement Center to review their options.

I registered for the April 18 th (Graduation Writing Exam) and it was cancelled. Can I obtain a refund?

Refunds were processed and issued for students registered for the April 18th GWE. If you have not received your refund, please contact Andrea Giordano, Student Financial Services Specialist - student Accounts, at agiordano@csudh.edu or 310-243-2452.

What if I completed the graduation writing requirement at another CSU campus or took an upper division writing composition course at another university, can I use that to meet the GWAR?

Students can petition the GWAR with coursework taken at another CSU or university by filling out the Petition for Fulfillment of the GWAR Form
For more information on the petition process, visit Petition for Fulfillment of GWAR.  

Who can I speak to if I have additional questions?

For any additional assistance with the Temporary Suspension of the GWAR, please contact:

GWAR Coordinator:
Sumino Otsuji
Email: sotsuji@csudh.edu

Testing Center:
Email: testing@csudh.edu
Phone: (310) 243-3909

For Advising questions contact:
Sal Valdez, Retention and Innovation Specialist
Email: svaldez@csudh.edu
Phone: (310) 234-3953

Does this policy extend to students graduating in Spring 2021 and Summer 2021?

Yes. GWAR requirement is suspended for Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021.

Per the policy, it states in section 3.2, “Students who have catalog rights through Fall 2020…” would this also extend to incoming matriculating students this Fall 2020 semester, as their catalog will be Fall 2020, regardless if they graduate after Summer

At this point, the policy only applies to students graduating in a semester when the GWE is not offered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.