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HEIghten® Written Communication Assessment

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

Test Design

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.

Sample 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.

Download the sample questions.

Test Review

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.

For more information about how the HEIghten Written Communication assessment can be used at your institution, contact an ETS Advisor.

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