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CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  (CATW)Student  HandbookOffice of Institutional Research and AssessmentOffice of Academic AffairsThe City University of New YorkThe  most  up- ‐to- ‐date  CATW  information  may  be  found  atwww.cuny.edu/academics/testing/cuny- ‐assessment- ‐tests.htmlCopyright    2012  The  City  University  of  New  York

CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  (CATW)Student  HandbookContentsWhat  is  the  CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  (CATW)?  .  1Format  of  the  CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  .  2How  Your  Writing  Is  Evaluated  .  3Calculating  Your  CATW  Total  Score  .  6The  CATW  Reading  Selection  .  7How  to  Understand  the  CATW  Writing  Directions  .  8Writing  the  CATW  Response  .  9Strategies  for  Taking  the  CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  .  10Sample  Student  Papers  .  12Practice  Exercises  for  Students  .  22How  to  Understand  the  Reading  and  Get  Started  .  22How  to  Develop  Your  Response  .  24Critical  Thinking  ExerciseƐ ͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͘͘ϮϲHow  to  Demonstrate  Connections  Between  Ideas   ,Žǁ ƚŽ tƌŝƚĞ Ă ƵŵŵĂƌLJ ĨŽƌ ƚŚĞ dt ZĞƐƉŽŶƐĞ ǁ ƚŽ ZĞĨĞƌ ƚŽ ƚŚĞ ZĞĂĚŝŶŐ WĂƐƐĂŐĞ ŝŶ zŽƵƌ dt ZĞƐƉŽŶƐĞ ͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͙͘͘ϯϯHow  to  Proofread  and  Edit  Your  CATW  Response  .  34iiCopyright    2012  The  City  University  of  New  York

What  is  the  CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  Writing  (CATW)?The CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) is a standardized writing test that measuresD VWXGHQW·V DELOLW\ WR GR FROOHJH-level writing in English. Entering first-year students take thetest to determine their placement into English composition, ESL, or developmental writingcourses. In addition, the CATW is used to determine when students are ready to exit fromdevelopmental writing courses and move on to college-level courses.7KH WHUP VWDQGDUGL]HG WHVWµ PHDQV WKDW WKH WHVW LV JLYHQ WR DOO WHVW WDNHUV LQ WKH VDPH PDQQHU and under the same conditions;; it is scored by trained readers using VWDQGDUGµ UXOHV RU criteria.The CATW asks you to write an essay in response to a reading passage you are given and toshow competency in five categories. The five categories, listed here, are discussed in depthstarting on page 3. They are (1) critical response to a text;; (2) explanation and support ofideas;; (3) organization of a response that has a clear beginning, middle, and end;; and twoelements of language use: (4) sentence construction and word choice, and (5) grammar, usage,and mechanics.The purpose of the CATW is to assess your skills in these areas to see if they are consistentwith the instructional goals of college-level writing courses, and to assess your readiness forintroductory college courses in other areas.The literacy skills taught in first-year college courses are reflected in the CATW, whichassesses your ability to read, understand, and respond to a passage of 300-350 words. In thetest, you are asked to:x identify key ideas within the reading passagex write a brief summary of the key ideas in the reading in your own wordsx demonstrate basic critical thinking in response to these significant ideasx identify a significant idea in the reading passage and present a clearly written responseto that ideax write an essay that explains the progression of ideas and shows connections betweenthemx support ideas with relevant personal experience, readings, schoolwork, and/or othersources of informationx demonstrate competence in sentence construction, sentence variety, and word choicex demonstrate correct English usage, grammar, and mechanics7KH & 7: XVHV D UXEULF µ which is a tool IRU VFRULQJ WR PHDVXUH VWXGHQWV· ZULWLQJ VNLOOV The CATW scorers are guided by the rubric so that each scorer will use the same standardsor criteria as other scorers to assess student writing in five categories (see rubric on pages4/5).1Copyright    2012  The  City  University  of  New  York

Format  of  the  CUNY  Assessment  Test  in  WritingThe CATW has two parts: a reading passage of 300-350 words, and Writing Directions toguide students in preparing their written responses. Students have 90 minutes to complete the test,and they may use a non-electronic dictionary, bilingual, if preferred.SAMPLE TEST:AssignmentBegin  by  reading  the  passage  below.HypeAdvertisements  are  the  most  prevalent  and  toxic  of  the  mental  pollutants.    From  themoment   your   alarm   sounds   in   the   morning   to   the   wee   hours   of   late- ‐night   TV,commercial   pollution   floods   your   brain   at   the   rate   of   about   three   thousandmarketing  messages  per  day.    Every  day  an  estimated  12  billion  display  ads,  3  millionradio  commercials,  and  more  than  200,000  TV  commercials  are  dumped  into  North ŵĞƌŝĐĂ͛Ɛ ĐŽůůĞĐƚŝǀĞ ƵŶĐŽŶƐĐŝŽƵƐ͘   The   increase   in   commercial   advertising   hashappened   so   steadily   and   relentlesslLJ ƚŚĂƚ ǁĞ ŚĂǀĞŶ͛ƚ ƋƵŝƚĞ ǁŽŬĞŶ ƵƉ ƚŽ ƚŚĞ absurdity  of  it  all.    No  longer  are  ads  confined  to  the  usual  places:  buses,  billboards,stadiums.     Anywhere   your   eyes   can   possibly   come   to   rest   is   now   a   place   that,   inĐŽƌƉŽƌĂƚĞ ŵĞƌŝĐĂ͛Ɛ ǀŝĞǁ͕ ĐĂŶ ĂŶĚ ŽƵŐŚƚ ƚŽ ďĞ Ĩilled  with  a  logo  or  product  message.zŽƵ Ĩŝůů LJŽƵƌ ĐĂƌ ǁŝƚŚ ŐĂƐ͕ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞƌĞ͛Ɛ ĂŶ ĂĚ ŽŶ ƚŚĞ ŶŽnjnjůĞ͘  You  wait  for  your  bankmachine   to   spit   out   money   and   an   ad   scrolls   by   in   the   little   window.     You   drivethrough  the   countryside   and   the   view   of  the   wheat   fields   is   broken   at   intervals   byenormous   billboards.     Your   kids   watch   Pepsi   and   Snickers   ads   in   the   classroom.     Acompany  called  VideoCarte  installs  interactive  screens  on  supermarket  carts  so  thatyou  can  see  ads  while  you  shop.    (A  company  executive  calls  ƚŚĞ ůŝƚƚůĞ ŵŽŶŝƚŽƌƐ ͞ƚŚĞ ŵŽƐƚ ƉŽǁĞƌĨƵů ŵŝĐƌŽŵĂƌŬĞƚŝŶŐ ŵĞĚŝƵŵ ĂǀĂŝůĂďůĞ ƚŽĚĂLJ͘͟Ϳ  There  is  nowhere  to  run.No   one   is   exempt   and   no   one   will   be   spared.     In   the   silent   moments   of   my   life,   IŽĨƚĞŶ ƵƐĞĚ ƚŽ ŚĞĂƌ ĞĞƚŚŽǀĞŶ͛Ɛ EŝŶƚŚ LJŵƉŚŽŶLJ ƉůĂLJ ŝŶ ŵLJ ŚĞĂĚ͘    Now  I  hear  thatkid  singing  the  Oscar  Meyer  wiener  song.Excerpted  from  Kalle  Lasn.  ͞,LJƉĞ͕͟  in  Signs  of  Life  in  the  USA:  Readings  on  Popular  Culture  for  Writers,th4  ĞĚ͘ ŽŶŝĂ DĂĂƐŝŬ Θ :ĂĐŬ ŽůŽŵŽŶ͕ ĚƐ͘ ŽƐƚŽŶ͗ ĞĚĨŽƌĚͬ ƚ͘ DĂƌƚŝŶ͛Ɛ͕ ϮϬϬϯ͘ Ϯϭϳ- ‐220.Writing  DirectionsRead  the  passage  above  and  write  an  essay  responding  to  the  ideas  it  presents.    In  your  essay,  be  sure  toƐƵŵŵĂƌŝnjĞ ƚŚĞ ƉĂƐƐĂŐĞ ŝŶ LJŽƵƌ ŽǁŶ ǁŽƌĚƐ͕ ƐƚĂƚŝŶŐ ƚŚĞ ĂƵƚŚŽƌ͛Ɛ ŵŽƐƚ ŝŵƉŽƌƚĂŶƚ ŝĚĞĂƐ͘ ĞǀĞůŽƉ LJŽƵƌ essay   by   identifying   one   idea   in   the   passage   that   you   feel   is   especially   significant,   and   explain   itssignificance.    Support  your  claims  with  evidence  or  examples  drawn  from  what  you  have  read,  learned  inschool,  and/or  personally  experienced.Remember  to  review  your  essay  and  make  any  changes  or  corrections  that  are  needed  to  help  yourreader  follow  your  thinking.    You  will  have  90  minutes  to  complete  your  essay.2Copyright    2012  The  City  University  of  New  York

How  Your  Writing  Is  EvaluatedThe CATW uses an analytic scoring guide, called a rubric, to evaluate student writingsamples. Each test is scored independently by two faculty raters and both raters assignscores in each of five grading categories.The  Five  Scoring  Categories1. &ULWLFDO 5HVSRQVH WR WKH :ULWLQJ 7DVN DQG the 7H[Wµ 7KLV category emphasizes yourability to complete the entire writing task and to demonstrate understanding of the mainideas in the reading text, using critical analysis, and integrating your own ideas andexperiences to respond to the main ideas in the text.2. 'HYHORSPHQW RI the :ULWHU·V ,GHDVµ In this category you are evaluated on your abilityto develop your ideas (for example, by using summary, narrative, or problem/solution)in a clear and organized way. Your response should include both general statementsand specific details and examples. These details and examples can be drawn from yourpersonal experiences, what you have read, or other sources. You must make specificreferences to ideas in the reading with these details and examples.3. 6WUXFWXUH RI WKH 5HVSRQVHµ 7KLV category evaluates your ability to organize ideas intoan essay that supports a central focus, or thesis. The structure of your essay is evaluatedfor evidence of clear connections between ideas and the use of appropriate language toconvey these connections.4. /DQJXDJH 8VH 6HQWHQFHV DQG :RUG &KRLFHµ 7KLV category evaluates the degree towhich you demonstrate sentence control and variety in sentence construction. Thiscategory also evaluates your ability to use appropriate vocabulary to make your ideasclear.5. /DQJXDJH Use: Grammar, Usage, and 0HFKDQLFVµ 7KLV category evaluates your abilityto follow the conventions of standard American English language use in terms ofgrammar and mechanics (i.e. punctuation, spelling, use of capitals, etc.), so that yourmeaning is clear.3Copyright    2012  The  City  University  of  New  York

CATW Analytic Scoring RubricCritical Response to theWriting Task and theText6x A thoughtful and skillfulresponse to the task effectivelyintegrates a critical discussionof ideas in the text withrelevant elements of theZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG experience.x The discussion demonstrates athorough understanding of themain ideas and the complexityof ideas in the text.5x The response effectivelyintegrates a criticaldiscussion of ideas in the textwith relevant elements of theZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG experience.x The discussion demonstratesa good understanding of themain ideas and thecomplexity of ideas in thetext.4Development of the :ULWHU¶V Ideasx Ideas are fully developed, andapproaches to development (e.g.,summarizing, evaluating,narrating) are used skillfully toVXSSRUW DQG FRQYH\ WKH ZULWHU¶V ideas throughout the response.x Reasons and specific details andexamples from the text and from theZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG H[SHULHQFH DUH used effectively to develop ideas.x Ideas are well developed, andapproaches to development (e.g.,summarizing, evaluating, narrating)are usually used skillfully to supportDQG FRQYH\ WKH ZULWHU¶V LGHDV x Reasons and specific details andexamples from the text and from theZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG H[SHULHnce areusually used effectively to developideas.x The response competentlyintegrates a criticaldiscussion of ideas in the textwith relevant elements of theZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG experience.x Most ideas are competentlydeveloped and approaches todevelopment (e.g., summarizing,evaluating, narrating) arecompetently used to support andFRQYH\ WKH ZULWHU¶V LGHDV x The discussion consistentlydemonstrates anunderstanding of the mainideas and of some of thecomplexity in the text.x Reasons and specific details andexamples from the text and fromWKH ZULWHU¶V UHDGLQJ DQG H[SHULHQFH are competently used to developideas.Structure of the Responsex Organization demonstrates awell-designed progression ofLGHDV WKDW VXSSRUWV WKH ZULWHU¶V central focus and the clarity ofideas throughout the response.x Sophisticated, effective use oftransitions conveys relationshipsamong ideas throughout theresponse.x Organization generallydemonstrates a clear plan withsome progression of ideas thatVXSSRUWV WKH ZULWHU¶V FHQWUDO focus and the clarity of theZULWHU¶V LGHDV x Transitions clearly conveyrelationships among ideasthroughout the response.x An organizational structure isevident and competentlyVXSSRUWV WKH ZULWHU¶V centralfocus and the clarity of theZULWHU¶V ideas. Relevant ideas aregrouped together, and there maybe some evidence of progressionof ideas.x Though often simple andobvious, transitions are usuallymade to convey relationshipsamong ideas.Language Use: Sentencesand Word Choicex Sentences are consistentlywell controlled, witheffective variety in structure.x Word choice is sophisticated,precise, and effectivelyconveys the complexity of theZULWHU¶V LGHDV WKURXJKRXW WKH response.x Sentences are usually wellcontrolled, and there is someeffective variety in structure.x Word choice is usually specificand usually effective inFRQYH\LQJ WKH ZULWHU¶V LGHDV x Most sentences demonstratecompetent control, and there isenough structural variety tosupport the clarity of theZULWHU¶V ideas.Language Use:Grammar, Usage, andMechanicsx Though there may be a fewerrors in grammar, usage,and mechanics, strongcommand of language isapparent, and meaning isclear throughout theresponse.x Though there may be a fewerrors in grammar, usage, andmechanics, good commandof language is apparent, andmeaning is usually clear.x Language use is competent.Grammar, usage, andmechanics are generallycorrect, and meaning isusually clear.x Word choice is somewhatgeneral but clearly conveysmeaning.4Copyright    2012  The  C