Written communication has been identified by higher education institutions and employers as a skill critical to success. The HEIghten® Written Communication assessment addresses four dimensions:
- Knowledge of social and rhetorical situations:
- adapting or identifying writing for particular purposes, tasks, contexts and audience
- adhering to genre conventions, such as argument or exposition
- Knowledge of conceptual strategies:
- incorporating information from source texts to support ideas; accurately representing the source's meaning by using summary, paraphrase and quotation with appropriate citations
- developing ideas using sufficient reasons, examples and evidence; presents ideas in an organized, logical and coherent sequence to make complex ideas clear and understandable
- adhering to discipline-specific conventions (e.g., standards of evidence, text organization)
- Knowledge of language use and conventions:
- composing text that conveys meaning clearly by using apt word choice, sentence variety, tone, voice and style appropriate to the context, purpose and genre
- composing text relatively free of errors in grammar, usage, mechanics, syntax and spelling; demonstrating command of the fundamental skills needed to produce fluent text
- Knowledge of the writing process:
- demonstrating strategic knowledge of the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, reviewing, revising and editing
The HEIghten Written Communication assessment is administered in a single 45-minute testing session. The first section consists of an essay task that requires the test taker to compose an original response which adopts or defends a position on a claim. In the second section, the test taker is presented with two passage-based sets, each of which includes 12 selected-response questions.
The HEIghten Written Communication sample questions provide examples of the skills measured, contexts covered and the difficulty of the questions. The sample questions and answers are for reference only. They are not actual questions currently used on the test.
While the HEIghten Written Communication assessment is developed to measure a common set of skills, judging the appropriateness of the test is an important first step in considering its use. Assessment directors and faculty members should review the test content and skill area coverage to determine whether it is consistent with your institution's expectations.
ETS provides resources to help institutions evaluate the appropriateness of the HEIghten assessment suite.
- The ETS Research Report Assessing Written Communication in Higher Education: Review and Recommendations for Next-Generation Assessment explains the operational definition and assessment considerations for this assessment.
- The HEIghten Written Communication Test at a Glance provides detailed information about the format of the assessment and the knowledge and skills required.
- A confidential review copy of the HEIghten Written Communication assessment gives assessment directors and faculty the opportunity to review actual test questions that will be administered to test takers. To review a copy of the HEIghten Written Communication assessment, complete the Confidential Review Copy Request Form. You will receive an email with a link to the test, which can be accessed for 30 days.
For more information about how the HEIghten Written Communication assessment can be used at your institution, contact an ETS Advisor.
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