A note from the Editor

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Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Time is running out, and you’ve only presented half of your argument. Sweat begins to bead on your forehead as the graphite etches away at the paper, and you wonder if you’ve presented enough supporting detail to pass this time, and then, “Time is almost up. Please finish your thoughts.”
Writing proficiency exams may be completed, but the stress doesn’t end with turning in the papers. It may not even end with the results.

Walking through the halls of Dewey, I have heard student after student freak out about the exam; from whether this is their first time taking it to whether they are seniors and this could be the one requirement keeping them from graduating in May.

What does the writing proficiency exam really tell the college administration? Can one’s ability to write persuasively be accuarately decided from one test? And when out in the real world, is it realistic to believe that students will have to be able to memorize long lists of facts, rather than have their facts and research right in front of them while writing a persuasive letter or article?
With students required to pass two expository English courses in their college career, it would seem that professors should know whether or not their students can write with college-level proficiency without having to administer yet another timed exam.

While I realize that proficiency in writing is a Vermont State College graduation requirement, I think that there must be a better way to test students’ competency.

Maybe submission of a writing portfolio collected from the English classes that students are required to take would be more apt, or simply a refining of the nature of the questions being asked.

What really needs to happen is an evaluation of how students are being tested on their writing proficiency, and whether a better method can be established.

The way students are assessed on the VSC graduation standards is different across the state college system anyway, so why not change it at JSC, as long as the standard is still met?

Measuring competence at a single point in time, with a single essay, provides little insight into how students obtained the skill set and information required to pass, and I don’t think it illustrates a clear picture of how well students actually write.

-Kayla Friedrich, Editor-in-Chief

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