COE Graduate Writing Assessment

The John H. Lounsbury College of Education graduate applicants must pass the on-site writing assessment as part of the admissions process. Persons who do not meet minimum requirements on the College of Education writing assessment will not be admitted to the graduate program. Applicants not meeting the minimum requirement may retake the assessment. Scores will be sent by email approximately 5-6 weeks after the test date. Graduates of Georgia College may waive the Graduate Writing Assessment.

  • Dates, locations, and registration information can be found at  Click on “COE Graduate Writing Assessment” and follow the instructions.

  • What to bring: Official picture identification is required. Acceptable forms of ID include driver's license, government issued identification card or passport, or a school-issued photo ID. Applicants may bring a dictionary and/or a thesaurus; however, neither will be provided. Access to the dictionary, thesaurus and spell check in Word is allowed. Food, drink, phones or other electronic devices are not allowed in the testing rooms.

  • About the Assessment: Applicants are given a prompt that includes a short summary of current research on a specific topic. They write an essay addressing topic. The primary emphasis for evaluation is how well the applicants integrate their own prior experiences with the current research. The assessment is based upon the quality (not quantity) of written expression along with the analysis and synthesis of ideas. Evaluation is blind and by multiple readers.

Exemplary papers tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They fully address the related research, potential arguments inherent in the issue and the assigned task.

  • They have a well-developed position with key ideas which are fully illustrated with specific examples. The exemplary essay presents a coherent whole-thereby complementing the writer's personal and professional experiences with the research provided. Exemplary papers go beyond a simplistic restating of the research provided.

  • The writing demonstrates a variety of sentence structures, strong and precise word choice, and no errors in mechanics, usage and sentence structure. The essay's structure relies on the writer's key ideas and examples rather than a trite or predictable composition structure (which might include, but is not limited to a formulaic five-paragraph essay).

  • They analyze and critique the issue by examining the issue's contexts in addition to the writer's personal biases. In other words, these papers ask difficult questions of commonly accepted research and assumptions about specific educational issues.

  • They identify complex implications that follow logically from the key ideas that the writer offers.

  • The writers of exemplary papers clearly communicate their own perspective through a strong, confident and distinctive voice.

The prompts ask you to synthesize your own experience with the data provided in the prompt. Often, students who receive unsatisfactory ratings do too much of one or the other, without balance between the two tasks. Because we take seriously our motto that we educate students to become "Architects of Change," the readers of this exam value strong voices who base their arguments in their own careful observations, with consideration of other perspectives and research that might corroborate or contradict those viewpoints. Readers of this exam value originality and passion; in addition, they tend to eschew essays that only repeat the information provided in the prompt. Readers typically value essays that use the opportunity to explore key examples fully throughout the essay, rather than listing multiple examples with superficial support.



The faculty of the COE voted to replace the Miller's Analogy Test (MAT) and the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) with an on-site writing assessment. This change went into effect January 1, 2007. From that point on, neither the MAT nor the GRE would be accepted for admission into a COE graduate program. Applicants may retake the assessment if they made an unsatisfactory score.


When application packets are complete, including writing assessment scores, they are sent to individual program committees for acceptance decisions. If an applicant has not made a satisfactory score on the writing assessment, but all other components of the packet are acceptable, the program committee may petition the dean for an exception. If a program committee petitions for a student, a specific plan of action for helping that student must be submitted with the petition. Specific and valid reasons for requesting a petition should also be included.

If a program committee denies admission to an applicant, the applicant may petition the dean for an exception.

All petitions must be supported with excellent evidence as to why an exception should be made.



Prompt Development

Prompts are developed and reviewed by members of the writing assessment training committee.



Scoring of the writing assessments is done by blind reading. Each paper is holistically scored by two readers. If the readers agree, then the score is the one recorded for the applicant. If, however, the two readers disagree on the score for a paper, it will be read by a third reader.



All readers must attend reader training sessions. These sessions help develop benchmark papers and assure inter-reader-rater-reliability. Readers use a rubric for scoring assessments.


Quality Control

Members of the writing assessment training committee reread randomly selected papers to validate reader reliability. These readings occur after each assessment date.


Help Fop Applicants

Applicants who want help on the writing assessment are given these options:

  • Access to the Advice - Characteristics of an Exemplary Paper section on this page.

  • Access to group help sessions. One is scheduled in both fall and spring semesters. Please see the writing assessment website for the dates for this year.

  • Since the writing assessment is a summative rather than formative measure, individual analysis will not be given to applicants concerning their personal assessments.


Reschedule/Refund Policy

You may reschedule a test session without additional charge one time if you contact the testing office at 478-445-5016 at least one week before your original session.  If you find that you will be unable to attend or if you miss your session, you may request a partial refund of $41. We must receive your request in writing (letter or email) within 30 days of your test date. Please let us know as soon as you can if you do not plan to attend your test session so we can release your seat to another examinee.


For questions contact:

Center for Testing
100 Lanier Hall
CBX 74
Milledgeville, GA 31061

Phone toll free in Georgia: 800-342-0471 ext. 5016