College Composition Modular

The College Composition Modular exam is a multiple-choice exam that covers material usually taught in a one-semester college course in composition.

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The College Composition Modular exam assesses 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 College Composition Modular exam contains approximately 90 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 95 minutes. It is designed for colleges that want a valid, reliable multiple-choice assessment, and most colleges award credit based on the College Composition Modular exam alone.

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

Knowledge and Skills Required

The knowledge and skills assessed by College Composition Modular 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. Like the College Composition exam, College Composition Modular measures test takers' 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.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the approximate percentages of exam questions on those topics. The bulleted lists under each topic are meant to be representative rather than prescriptive.

Conventions of Standard Written English (10%)

This section measures candidates’ awareness of a variety of logical, structural, and grammatical relationships within sentences. The questions test recognition of acceptable usage relating to the items below:

  • Syntax (parallelism, coordination, subordination)
  • Sentence boundaries (comma splice, run-ons, sentence fragments)
  • Recognition of correct sentences
  • Concord/agreement (pronoun reference, case shift and number; subject-verb; verb tense)
  • Diction
  • Modifiers
  • Idiom
  • Active/passive voice
  • Lack of subject in modifying word group
  • Logical comparison
  • Logical agreement
  • Punctuation

Revision Skills, Including Sentence-Level Skills (40%)

This section measures candidates' revision skills in the context of works in progress (early drafts of essays):

  • Organization
  • Evaluation of evidence
  • Awareness of audience, tone, and purpose
  • Level of detail
  • Coherence between sentences and paragraphs
  • Sentence variety and structure
  • Main idea, thesis statements, and topic sentences
  • Rhetorical effect and emphasis
  • Use of language
  • Evaluation of author's authority and appeal
  • Evaluation of reasoning
  • Consistency of point of view
  • Transitions
  • Sentence-level errors primarily relating to Standard Written English conventions

Ability to Use Source Materials (25%)

This section measures candidates' familiarity with elements of the following basic reference and research skills, which are tested primarily in sets but may also be tested through stand-alone questions. In the passage based sets, the elements listed under Revision Skills and Rhetorical Analysis may also be tested. In addition, this section will cover the following skills:

  • Use of reference materials
  • Evaluation of sources
  • Integration of resource material
  • Documentation of sources (including, but not limited to, MLA, APA, and the Chicago Manual of Style)

Rhetorical Analysis (25%)

This section measures candidates’ ability to analyze writing. This skill is tested primarily in passage-based questions pertaining to critical thinking, style, purpose, audience, and situation:

  • Appeals
  • Tone
  • Organization/structure
  • Rhetorical effects
  • Use of language
  • Evaluation of evidence

Score Information

ACE Recommendation for College Composition Modular

Credit-granting Score 50
Semester Hours 3

Note: Each institution reserves the right to set its own credit-granting policy, which may differ from the American Council on Education (ACE). Contact your college to find out the score required for credit and the number of credit hours granted.

Add Study Guides

CLEP College Composition and College Composition Modular Examination Guide

This guide provides practice questions for the CLEP College Composition and College Composition Modular Exams.

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Study Resources: College Composition Modular

A study plan and list of online resources.


ACE Credit Recommendations

Recommendations for credit-granting scores from the American Council on Education.