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College Composition Modular

On July 1, 2010, CLEP introduced two new exams College Composition and College Composition Modular. These exams replaced three current exams, which have been discontinued:

  • English Composition has been replaced by College Composition Modular.
  • English Composition with Essay has been replaced by College Composition.
  • Freshman College Composition has been replaced by College Composition Modular.

Each college decides its own policy for the new exams, so check with your admissions office, test center, or academic adviser before taking a test.

Description of the Examination

The CLEP College Composition examinations assess writing skills taught in most first-year college composition courses. Those skills include analysis, argumentation, synthesis, usage, ability to recognize logical development and research. The exams cannot cover every skill (such as keeping a journal or peer editing) required in many first-year college writing courses. Candidates will, however, be expected to apply the principles and conventions used in longer writing projects to two timed writing assignments and to apply the rules of standard written English.

College Composition Modular contains a multiple-choice section that is supplemented with an essay section that is either provided and scored by the college or provided by CLEP and scored by the college. College Composition Modular is available for colleges that want a valid, reliable multiple-choice assessment and greater local control over the direct writing assessment. College Composition Modular contains approximately 90 questions to be answered in 90 minutes and, if the essay section provided by CLEP is chosen, two essays to be written in 70 minutes. Some colleges may opt to provide their own locally scored writing assessment or some other assessment or evaluation.

The exam includes some pretest multiple-choice questions that will not be counted toward the candidate's score.

Colleges set their own credit-granting policies and therefore differ with regard to their acceptance of the College Composition examinations. Most colleges will grant course credit for a first-year composition or English course that emphasizes expository writing; others will grant credit toward satisfying a liberal arts or distribution requirement in English.

The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) recommends the awarding of three credit hours, or the equivalent for a score of 50 on the 90 minute multiple-choice College Composition Modular exam. If colleges elect to supplement the Modular version of the examination with an essay available from CLEP or with a writing assessment of their own, the credit recommendation is six credit hours, or the equivalent, for a score of 50.

Knowledge and Skills Required

The exam measures candidates' knowledge of the fundamental principles of rhetoric and composition and their ability to apply the principles of standard written English. In addition, the exam requires familiarity with research and reference skills. In one of the essays, candidates must develop a position by building an argument in which they synthesize information from two provided sources, which they must cite. The requirement that candidates cite the sources they use reflects the recognition of source attribution as an essential skill in college writing courses.

College Composition Modular

College Composition Modular allows institutions to administer and/or score test takers' essays themselves. The knowledge and skills assessed are the same as those measured by College Composition, but the format and timing allow a more extended indirect assessment of test-takers' knowledge and skills. The percentages of exam questions on each topic are the same in both exams:

10%
Conventions of Standard Written English

40%
Revision Skills, Including Sentence-Level Skills

25%
Ability to Use Source Materials

25%
Rhetorical Analysis

After completing the multiple-choice section, candidates take the direct writing assessment module based on the policy established by their college. Options include:

  • An essay section developed and provided by CLEP that requires candidates to respond to two essay prompts designed to assess the same skills measured in the College Composition essay section. Copies of the handwritten essays are sent to the college designated by the candidate, along with the CLEP Optional Essay Scoring Guidelines.
  • An essay/writing assessment developed, administered and scored by the college.
  • Colleges can also choose to associate the College Composition Modular score with another assessment or evaluation determined by the college.

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