What’s the score?

by Staff

Once a student is admitted to San Diego State, they may hold the assumption that the only tests they will take will be in their classes 8212; but that isn’t the case. All SDSU students have to take the Writing Placement Assessment and certain majors have required evaluations to complete before entering the program. The Daily Aztec has compiled a list of pass / fail rates for four different tests, one that is mandatory and three that are specific to certain programs.

For more information, visit SDSU’s Student Testing, Assessment and Research website at sa.sdsu.edu/testofc/index.html.

Writing Placement Assessment

Cost: $45

Majors: All

The WPA is a timed writing test that is mandatory for all SDSU students. According to the Department of Testing, “All undergraduates must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for the baccalaureate degree within the California State University System.” Students need to take this test before or during the semester they reach 60 units. If the WPA has not been taken by that time, they will not be permitted to register for future courses.

Last year, more than 7,800 students took the test and only 11.2 percent of those people earned a score of 10 or higher, which means they did not have to take a writing class unless it was required for their majors.

Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

Cost: $25

Majors: Journalism, advertising and public relations

Students pursuing a degree in the school of Journalism and Media Studies are evaluated on their editing skills with the GSP. There are 100 multiple-choice questions divided into three sections, which students have 90 minutes to answer. The school of Journalism and Media Studies uses this test to determine which students will be admitted into its majors, except for the media studies specialization.

In Spring 2007, the passing score was changed from 75 to 80, which is when the percentage of failing grades increased more than 7 percent.

Precalculus Proficiency Assessment

Cost: $20

Majors: Astronomy, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geological science, mathematics, physics, statistics, chemical physics, kinesiology and multiple engineering specializations

This hour-long test is used for students who wish to take Math 150, a mandatory class for a multitude of math-based majors. However, students who passed the Advanced Placement test for Calculus AB and / or Calculus BC are exempt from this assessment, as their credits count toward Math 150.

California Government Exam

Cost: $20

Major: none

The California Code of Regulations states that it requires, “All students demonstrate an (understanding) of American history, the United States Constitution and California state and local government.” Because of this, students attending SDSU must satisfy an American Institutions Requirement that can be fulfilled by passing a pair of two specified classes described in the General Catalog; the list includes 20 pairs to choose from.

However, those who wish to opt out of those pairs must take the California Government Exam. These students must have either passed an American history, politics or government Advanced Placement course, or have enrolled in classes that taught more than 100 years of U.S. history including specialization in the U.S. Constitution or American government.