The Writing Option: Frequently Asked Questions
Who should enroll in this option?
The MAS in Assessment – Writing Option degree is appropriate
for communications professionals with undergraduate degrees who
work with youth in non-profit organizations in improving and
assessing their literacy skills; and literacy educators, K – 16,
with undergraduate degrees who need an advanced degree with a
writing assessment specialty (literacy coaches, community college
and university writing assessors, educators fulfilling leadership
roles in developing collaborative teaching projects, curriculum
design, and professional development offerings related to improved
What are the admission requirements?
To be admitted to graduate studies at Missouri Western State
University, an applicant must complete an Application for Graduate
Admission. Admission to graduate programs at Missouri Western
State University is based upon the following:
- A bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from an
accredited college or university.
- A minimum 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (GPA).
- Minimum graduate-level entrance exam score, as designated
by the department or graduate program.
- Resumė, letters of recommendation, and interview as
required by the admitting program.
- Degree-seeking students admitted to a graduate program must
enroll and begin classes at Missouri Western State University
within one academic year after receiving official notice of
acceptance from the Graduate Office.
- Applicants who are not citizens of the United States must
receive a score of 550 or above on the Test of English as a
Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless the applicant is from a country
where English is the native language or they possess a baccalaureate
degree from a college or university in which the primary language
of instruction was English.
- Admission to the MAS in Assessment – Writing
Option degree program requires that applicants have
at least two years experience in teaching and/or working
with youth or non-readers in a literacy program. They must
also successfully complete the first 600-level course in
the Writing Option: ENG or EDU 610 Invitational Institute.
Upon completion of the Invitational Institute, they may apply
for admission to the MAS in Assessment – Writing Option
by submitting a portfolio of their writings, a video tape
or summary/synopsis of their inquiry demonstration lesson
from the Invitational Institute, letters of recommendation
from their employer; and then complete an interview with
the Writing Option graduate selection committee.
How do I apply?
Fill out an application
online. For more information,
contact the Graduate School
or the Prairie
Lands Writing Project Office.
How is this different from a traditional master’s
The MAS in Assessment degree at Missouri Western State University
is unique because of the applied nature of its curriculum.
The program provides opportunities for participants to write,
revise, share feedback, and reflect on their own writing and
teaching of writing and use writing as a means of improving
and assessing student learning.
Why is it important to gain
expertise in assessment and data-driven decision-making?
In “A Decade of Standards” in Teacher
Magazine, Lynn Olson stated that “When teachers collaborate
to really examine the quality of student work, and what students
are or are not learning, and readjust their teaching accordingly,
then I think we’re seeing standards-based education the way
it should be.” The process she is describing is well on its
way to becoming an established piece within many teacher education
programs and is usually described as learning by examining student
(K-12) work samples. In fact, Missouri Western State University
has been recognized by NCATE as excelling in this work as we have
been one of only four institutions in the nation asked to present
in national workshops for four years in a row.
Classroom teachers and literacy providers need a more rigorous
program and extended time for learning the habits of mind, contextual
influences, research methods, and resources available in order
to master this very important work of making data driven decisions
at the classroom, building, and district level. The Masters of
Applied Science in Assessment – Writing Option is uniquely
designed to provide the kind of graduate-level applied education
that will equip teachers and literacy providers to master 21st
century challenges of assessment and improvement.
What about scholarships/fellowships?
National Writing Project grant funds provide full tuition waivers
for participants accepted into ENG/EDU 610 Invitational Institute
(i.e. six graduate credits – no charge). Additionally,
partial fee waivers reducing fees to $75 per credit hour for
classroom teachers may be available. For more information, contact
the Graduate School
or the Prairie Lands Writing
When are classes held?
Classes will be scheduled to accommodate teachers and literacy
providers who may already be engaged in full-time employment.
Do I have the option of full- or part-time?
Most students should plan to complete the degree within five
academic semesters or less, taking 3-9 credits of course work
each semester. A minimum of 33 total credits are needed for degree
completion. Enrollment is considered full-time when taking 9
credits per semester.
Where are classes held?
Core courses will be held on the main campus of Missouri Western
State University in Murphy Hall. Required Writing Option courses
will be held at MWSU; some elective offerings may be offered
Who teaches the courses in this option?
Most courses required of this graduate degree program will be
taught by full-time Ph.D. faculty members approved for graduate
faculty status by Missouri Western State University. It is anticipated
that adjunct graduate faculty may be used to teach selected applied
and professional courses, and will be required to meet established
university criteria for graduate faculty status. Additionally,
faculty teaching courses in the Writing Option must be certified
as National Writing Project Teacher Consultants.