Dates and times:  The Writing Placement Exam (WPE) will be administered online, on Canvas, between Wednesday, June 9, at 11:00 am and Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 11:00 amIt is a timed essay exam that students can take only once.

Explanation:  You will be provided an article to read and then you will write a text-based essay response.  The WPE is voluntary; you do not have to take it.  However, if your English ACT is below 18, but you believe you have strong critical thinking, reading and writing skills, then you should consider taking the WPE. Also, if you do not have an ACT score then you should consider taking the WPE. If not, you will be placed in ENG 100, a 3-credit college level course.  For further information about ENG 100:  https://www.missouriwestern.edu/communication/eng-100/

Overview:  You can only take the WPE once during this time period and you will be allowed 1 hour to take the exam.  Once you have logged into the WPE, you will not be permitted any other access.  Any evidence of plagiarism, cheating or outside help will result in a zero for the exam and you will not be permitted to retake the exam.  The WPE will not be administered after August 11 and will not be administered once classes begin.

Instructions: 

All students who have registered for a GO session and are eligible to take the WPE have been sent a Canvas invitation to take the exam on their Missouri Western State University email.  If you have not received an email or have not registered for a GO session, please contact Dawn Terrick at terrick@missouriwestern.edu.

Once the WPE course is open (at the above stated dates), students MUST login to Canvas and ACCEPT the invitation to the WPE.

Students will choose one day/time they wish to take the exam.  To access the WPE on Canvas:

-Go to Missouri Western home page.

-Go to the bottom of the page and select “Quick Links”.

-Click on Canvas and you will be taken to the WPE course.

Once you access the exam, you will have 1 hour to complete the essay assignment. Carefully read all instructions first. Then read the assigned article and directly type your essay into the text box. Submit your essay even if you do not complete it.

All essays will be read and evaluated by MWSU faculty on the Griffon Orientation (GO) dates and scores will be administered through Canvas.

Students may contact their advisor, Student Success and Academic Advising Center or the Director of Writing and Placement, Dawn Terrick, at terrick@missouriwestern.edu With any questions regarding the WPE.


All students will be placed in a composition course based on EACT English subscore. If you wish to challenge this placement, you can take the WPE, Writing Placement Exam.

  • 17 or lower  – ENG 100
  • 18 or higher – ENG 104
  • 26 or higher – ENG 112

Note:  For the additional Reading prerequisite for ENG 104, please go to: https://intranet.missouriwestern.edu/cas/reading-exam/

In addition to the English prerequisite for ENG 104, there is also a Reading prerequisite:  REACT score of 18 or higher OR a passing grade in RDG 095 OR a passing score of 250 on the Accuplacer Reading Placement Exam.  For further information and to schedule a reading placement exam, please go to the above URL or contact Nancy Nelson, Developmental Reading Program Coordinator, at nnelson5@missouriwestern.edu, (816) 271-4314, or visit The Center for Academic Support.


The WPE is administered prior to registration for the fall and spring semesters.

If you need to have your placement determined or have any questions, contact the Director of Writing Placement at 271-4313.


The WPE is an essay written on the assigned topic during a 45-minute period. You will be given a test folder containing the topic and a supply of lined paper. Please bring a black ink pen with you. You may prepare for the WPE as much as you wish, but you may not bring any notes or written materials with you.

Your essay will be scored by trained and expert readers.  It will be read and scored:

  • to evaluate your critical reading, thinking, and writing skills,
  • see how well you limit and shape the general topic,
  • to evaluate how well you control the essay form, and
  • to judge how well you select and develop supporting detail.

Each evaluator will score your paper using a scale of 1 (weak) to 6 (extremely strong), using the criteria set out below. The scores will be averaged to give a range of scores from 1 (lowest) to 6 (highest).


After your test has been scored, you will receive a placement card listing your WPE score and your placement in ENG 100, 104, or 112. We will also place a record of your test results in your electronic registration file so that you will be able to register for the right course.


Placement in ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing:

If your score is below our cut-off, you will enroll in ENG 100 Introduction to College Writing. This is a three-credit course which counts toward graduation in all two-year and four-year programs. You must also complete ENG 104 and, if you are a four-year degree seeking student, ENG 108 in order to satisfy the General Studies requirement.

ENG 100 is a three-credit, college level English course that is Missouri Western’s “Introduction to College Writing.”  It prepares students to succeed in ENG 104 and ENG 108, the composition courses that count toward completion of General Studies requirements, as well as many other classes that require academic writing.  In this course, students will refine their writing process, engage in critical reading, thinking and writing and be required to write both personal and text-based essays.  ENG 100 has both a classroom and workshop component; the class meets three hours a week and the Writer’s Workshop meets one hour a week.  In Writer’s Workshop, you will meet with other ENG 100 students and a trained Student Assistant/Tutor for small group tutorials.  Students who have taken this course acknowledge its benefits and claim that it prepared them for the rigors of college-level writing and introduced them to college expectations. MORE INFO


Placement in ENG 104 College Writing and Rhetoric:

If your score is above our cut-off, you will enroll in ENG 104 College Writing and Rhetoric. ENG 104 counts toward graduation, fulfilling the General Studies composition requirement for a two-year degree. For a four-year degree, you will also need to take ENG 108 College Writing and Research.


Placement in ENG 112 Honors Composition:

Students who have an adjusted score of 6 on the regular WPE may also enter ENG112. Students who successfully complete ENG112 fulfill the General Studies composition requirement in just one three-credit course. If they do not already have ENG104 credit, students who pass ENG112 also receive three additional hours of credit toward graduation.


Writing Assignment

We expect college writers to be able to critically read a text and write in response to that text.  Please read the following article.  Then, write an essay in which you describe and explain why you agree or disagree with the author’s argument.  You must offer reasons and support those reasons with your own experiences as well as with the author’s experiences and claims.  For this essay, you must have a balance between information from your own life and from the text.  If you only write about your own experiences, you will not pass this placement exam.  Furthermore, if you do not accurately assess and explain the author’s points, you will not pass this placement exam.


Goals for Successful Essays

Length:  The essays should be long enough to completely address the topic as well as to demonstrate all of your abilities.  For most writers, that has proven to be about 3 handwritten pages.

Purpose:  Your essay must show proof that you have understood the author’s article/argument and made connections to the article/argument.

Focus:  The essay should clearly focus on the assigned topic.

Thesis:  The essay should support one main idea, and that idea should be clearly identified.  The thesis should include the author’s thesis as well as your connection (agreement or disagreement) to the text.  More interesting and challenging ideas will earn higher ratings.

Detail and Support:  The essay should be full of facts, examples, quotes and explanations from the article as well as your own opinions and experiences that support the main idea.

Order:  The essay should use an effective order that is easy to follow. Your essay must contain an introduction with thesis, focused body paragraphs and conclusion.

Clarity:  The paragraphs, sentences, and words should make sense to readers without too much effort.


Essay Scores and Placements

Your essays will be scored by expert readers.  Those scores will result in the following placements and reflect the following judgments:

Score Course Judgment
1
English 100
The writer also needs additional assistance to pass English 100.
2
English 100
The writer will be strongly challenged by English 100.
3
English 100
The writer would struggle in English 104 but should do well in English 100.
4
English 104
The writer should be able to pass English 104 with a C or higher.
5
English 104
The writer will do well in English 104.
6
English 112
The writer clearly should thrive in English 112 and be placed in English 112.