Writing assessments for undergraduate and graduate students

Writing Center Contact Information

Academic Building, Room 1403
Madonna University
36600 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150-1173

Writing Center Administration
Dr. Neal Haldane
Writing Center Director/Writing Program Director
ext. 5559 | nhaldane@madonna.edu

Frances FitzGerald
Writing Center Specialist
ext. 5379 | ffitzgerald@madonna.edu

 Online Writing Assessment Instructions

Below are instructions for students taking the writing assessment online via Blackboard.

How to log in to Blackboard

  • Visit https://madonna.blackboard.com
  • Enter your student number as your username
  • Enter your student PIN as your default password
  • If you have difficulty logging in, send an email to helpdesk@madonna.edu. Be sure to include your full name and student ID along with the fact you are trying to log into either the online undergraduate or online graduate writing assessment.

Online writing assessment

  • When your Blackboard screen opens up, hit the “courses” tab on top left
  • In the search box, type “undergraduate writing assessment” (or, for graduate students, “graduate writing assessment”) 
  • Click on the drop-down arrow to the right of “MU_Writing_Assessment” (or, for graduate students, “MU_Graduate_School_Writing_Assessment”)
  • Click the “Enroll,” “Submit”, and “OK” buttons to complete the enrollment process
  • Read the general information
  • Complete and return the cover sheet with your personal information
  • Access and complete the writing assessment within the one-hour time limit (or, for graduate students, 1½ hours)
  • You will submit the cover sheet and writing assessment to the Writing Center via Blackboard.

If you experience technical difficulties while completing the writing assessment, please send an email to writingcenter@madonna.edu and/or helpdesk@madonna.edu.

 Results from the writing assessment

After submitting your writing assessment, our panel of composition professors will score your essay. Within three or four days, you can find your score in “My Grades” on Blackboard.

 Who needs to take the writing assessment

The undergraduate writing assessment applies to all first-year students, as well as transfer students who have not transferred over the equivalent of WRT 1010 and/or 1020, and/or who are not MACRAO- or MTA-satisfied. Following are three exceptions:

  1. Students who have scored 5 or higher on the writing portion of the SAT
  2. Students who have 6 or higher on the writing portion of the ACT
  3. Students who have already earned a bachelor's degree

The graduate writing assessment is required for the following graduate programs:

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Religious Studies
  • MA Liberal Studies and Leadership (MALSL)

The only exceptions are:

  1. Students who have continuously attended fall- and winter-semester classes in their graduate Nursing program since fall 2012 or earlier
  2. Students who have continuously attended fall- and winter-semester classes in the other above-mentioned graduate programs since winter 2013 or earlier

Graduate students who are not in the nursing program are asked to fulfill their writing assessment requirement before or within their first two semesters. Graduate students in nursing must take their writing assessment before the end of their first semester.

However, we strongly encourage graduate students to complete their writing assessment before meeting with their advisor and registering for classes. The score will help advisors and students determine their appropriate class schedule for the first semester.

There is a $50 fee to take the graduate writing assessment.

More details about undergraduate and graduate writing assessments

  1. Undergraduate students are required to complete the writing assessment online before or during orientation. They will not be permitted to register for classes until they have completed the writing assessment.
  2. If an undergraduate or graduate student has taken the writing assessment only once, and is dissatisfied with the score, he/she may retake it one more time. We will honor the higher score.
  3. No undergraduate or graduate student will get an exemption for the writing assessment based on papers he/she has written in the past.
  4. Graduate students with a writing assessment score of 3 or lower are expected to complete 1, 2, or 3 semester hours of WRT 5000 within their first three semesters at Madonna University. However, students in the graduate nursing programs must take WRT 5000 in their first or second semester.


 Writing Assessment FAQs

I have credits for a writing course I took at another school. My advisor said the credits will transfer to Madonna. Do I still have to take the assessment?
No. If you come with the equivalent of WRT 1010 and/or 1020, and/or are MACRAO- or MTA-satisfied, you are exempt from the writing assessment requirement.

I’ve never attended a college before. What happens if I get a low score on the assessment?
If your score is low, the essay readers will place you in a brush-up course for first-time college students, WRT 1000: Writing Workshop. Depending on your score, you will be advised to take it for one, two, or three semester hours.

If I score a “4,” does that mean I can skip WRT 1010 and 1020?
No. It means you don’t have to take WRT 1000, but you still need to complete WRT 1010 and 1020.

I got a low score on the assessment, and I disagree with the essay readers. What can I do about it?
If you think your assessment essay doesn’t accurately reflect your abilities, you may re-take the writing assessment once. You don’t need to ask permission, but you should tell the Writing Center Coordinator that this is a re-take for you. You should also make a note of this on the cover sheet of your assessment essay. We will use the higher of the two scores. If you think the essay readers made a mistake, see below.

What can I do if I’m not satisfied with my second score?
Begin by contacting the Writing Assessment Administrator. She will check for any possible scoring error by reviewing the information on your cover sheet and talking with you about your concerns. If the Writing Assessment Administrator doesn’t find an error, you may contest your score by making an appointment with the Director of Writing Programs.

I’m going to graduate soon, but I 1) never took the assessment, or 2) took it but ignored my placement. My graduation audit says I can’t graduate because I didn’t fulfill the writing requirement. What can I do?
In either case, contact the Writing Center Coordinator and take (or re-take) the writing assessment as soon as possible. Your goal will be to place out of whichever writing class is still required. If your score does not exempt you from further writing courses, contact the Director of Writing Programs to discuss your next step.

Why can’t I just submit some papers I’ve written and ask for an exemption?
We don’t have enough faculty or resources to make this option available to each student.

More Information