Timed Writing Assessment

Once students have satisfied the writing portfolio requirement, they complete the Writing Milestone by passing a Timed Writing Assessment.

Typically, students attempt the Timed Writing Assessment in the same semester they pass the portfolio (in LIBA100 or in the semester they take WRIT111). Students in LIBA100 and WRIT111 are informed of their assessment schedling options by their writing instructor. Students who have satisfied the portfolio requirement through transfer credit will be emailed and invited to take the assessment during the first few weeks of their arrival at George Fox.

Overview and Strategy

The assessment will assign you a randomized prompt, in response to which you write a 800-1000 word essay. The assessment asks you to develop a simple argument with a main idea and to integrate sources into your writing with proper attribution. Students may take up to three hours to complete the assessment (not counting additional time for accomodations through DSO). The assessment is proctored and takes place at the Newberg campus.

Please take a look at this example (GFU login required) of one of the prompt questions.

Notice that the prompt asks you to perform a little on-the-fly research and integrate a few sources into your essay in order to help us see how well you understand sources and citation systems.

Here are some strategic points to consider as you take the assessment:

  • Since you have up to three hours (most students take 2 to 2.5 hours), you have ample time to
    • take 30-40 minutes to read about and research the prompt topic
    • take a few minutes outlining ideas and planning
    • draft your essay for about 60-90 minutes
    • revise, edit, and format for about 30-40 minutes
  • Do not worry if you get a prompt on a topic you’ve never heard of before (like “fast fashion”). The assessment does not assess your knowledge of the topic but your ability to write in a coherent and organized way, develop ideas with reasoning, and use research. Take a few minutes at the beginning to read about the topic in general terms through simple internet-based searches, for example.
  • We are not expecting you to find rigorous sources—journalistic and credible online reference works (like encyclopedias) are fine. We are interested in your ability to summarize a source's main idea and use it in an argument. So don't spend too much time looking for sources; rather, spend some time reading the sources you find.
  • We are also interested in your ability to organize a piece of writing around a single idea or claim (a thesis statement). A straightforward approach is to state your main claim in the first paragraph and support that claim in several body paragraphs. We recommend spending additional time revising your thesis statement to make it clear and definite.
  • Finally, you do not have to be flawless with your formatting, but you should demonstrate your ability to follow the standard conventions of margins, spacing, and so on. Take a few moments to make your document look like an MLA, APA, or Chicago document. This includes creating a Works Cited or Reference page.
  • You are allowed to bring style manuals for reference, although you can access all this information online during the assessment.


After your assessment has been scored, you will be notified by email. If you pass the assessment, you have satisfied the Writing Milestone. (Students will see the requirement marked as completed on their MyGFU page a few weeks after the Assessment). If you do not pass the assessment, you will be given instructions on what steps you need to take before reattempting the assessment. 

Writing Improvement Plan 

Some students may need to develop their writing skills to successfully re-attempt and pass the assessment. In these cases, the Writing Program Director will meet with you to make an individualized improvement plan. The writing improvement plan may include independent tutoring, ARC workshops, and writing courses.