Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

8
FROM 2 TO 3 Rs: THE EXPANDING USE OF
WRITING IN ADMISSIONS
Hunter M. Breland Educational Testing ServiceA look at developments in a number of admissions testing programs over the last several years makes it obvious that many changes are taking place. Computers are, of course, being used more in testing programs. But another change that is quite remarkable is the increasing use of writing assessment, and the increasing proportion of total testing time used for it. Consider the following testing programs:
MCAT. The Medical College Admission Test introduced a writing skill assessment in 1991. This writing skill assessment consists of two 30-minute essays. The MCAT is an all-day test, with almost 6 hours of actual testing time, so that the writing portion represents only about one-sixth of the total testing time.
GMAT. The Graduate Management Admissions Test now includes a writing assessment, introduced in 1994. Like the MCAT writing assessment, the GMAT writing assessment also consists of two 30-minute writing tasks. Since the GMAT is a 4-hour test, the writing tasks represent one-fourth of testing time. The GMAT Verbal Reasoning measure also includes a 25-minute sentence correction test in multiple-choice format.

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