seal  Purdue News

July 15, 2003

Purdue to require future freshmen to take ACT, SAT writing test

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Applicants to the Purdue University freshman class of 2006 will be required to take a writing test, which will first be offered in 2005 as part of the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

Douglas L. Christiansen, dean of admissions and assistant vice president for enrollment management, said the additional testing component will be required by Purdue University West Lafayette, Purdue University Calumet, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Purdue University North Central. He said most top-ranked public universities, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, Penn State, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin, also will require students to take the test.

"In order to remain competitive with our peer institutions, we feel it is imperative that we require this new component," Christiansen said. "The development of effective writing skills is critical to an individual's success in his or her educational and workplace experiences. By including the new writing component in our admission evaluation criteria, we will continue to enhance the depth and breadth of the quality of students we are able to enroll and retain for our programs."

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, which administers the SAT, said the additional writing component will provide universities like Purdue another tool to evaluate prospective students.

"By requiring writing for admission and emphasizing the importance of writing throughout college, Purdue is providing a tremendous service to its students," Caperton said.

Purdue Provost Sally Mason said the requirement also will reap long-term benefits.

"Investment in writing skills will enrich the academic lives of Purdue students and will ensure they are well-prepared for the demands of the workplace," Mason said.

The writing test for both the ACT and SAT will be structured to measure skills necessary for effective writing. The essay will be scored by at least two writing teachers who will independently evaluate students' ability to organize ideas, express ideas clearly, support a main idea and use conventions of standard written English.

The writing test will be a required part of every SAT. The writing score will be reported as a third component on SAT score reports, along with the critical reading (formerly verbal) and math components. The writing portion also will be scored on the familiar 200-800 scale and will include a sub-score for the essay. Whereas the top score on the current SAT is a combined score of 1600, the addition of the writing component will increase the SAT top score to 2400.

For the ACT, the writing test will be offered as an option. Students taking an ACT must register to taking the writing component to satisfy Purdue admission requirements. ACT's current English and new writing test results will be combined and reported as an additional score. This new score will not be included in the composite, which will retain a top score of 36, but will be available as a separate essay sub-score.

More than 3.2 million SAT tests and 2 million ACT exams were administered nationally in 2001-02. Ninety percent of four-year colleges and universities require admission test scores.

Writer: Marydell Forbes (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Douglas Christiansen, (765) 494-7014,

Debra Larr Swartz, associate director of admissions, (765) 494-5938,

Sally Mason, (765) 494-9709,

Wes Lukoshus, assistant vice-chancellor of advancement, Purdue University Calumet, (219) 989-2217,

Carol B. Isaacs, director of admissions, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, (260) 481-6147,

Jeff Jones, assistant vice-chancellor for enrollment management, Purdue University North Central, (800) 872-1231 ext. 5281,

Kristin Carnahan, College Board, (212) 713-8175,

Related Web site:
Purdue University Admissions

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