Writing Competencies Tested on the WEST-B
The WEST-B Writing Test consists of two parts: a 50 item selected-response (multiple-choice) test and a written performance assignment (essay).
Each part includes one or more objectives and is expanded upon by descriptive statements. Descriptive statements provide examples of the range, type, and level of content that may appear on the test for questions measuring the objective.
An outline showing the objectives and descriptive statements is shown below.
0007 Understand the Role of Audience and Purpose in Written Communication
- Assess the Appropriateness of a Written Selection For a Specific Purpose or Audience (e.g., a Business Letter, a Communication to Parents/Guardians/Caregivers)
- Determine the Likely Effect on an Audience of a Writer's Choice of a Particular Word or Words (e.g., to Evoke sympathy, to Raise Questions About an Opposing Point of View)
- Recognize Persuasive Techniques Used by a Writer in a Passage
0008 Understand Idea Development, Fluency, and Organization Within Writing
- Identify Organizational Methods Used By the Writer of a Selection
- Distinguish Between Effective and Ineffective Thesis statements
- Recognize Unnecessary Shifts in Point of view (e.g., Shifts from First to Third Person) or Distracting Details that Impair Development of the Main Idea Within a Written Selection
- Recognize the Appropriate Use of Transitional Words and Phrases to Convey Text Structure
- Recognize Examples of Focused, Concise, and Well-Developed Writing
0009 Recognize Writing that Effectively Communicates Intended messages
- Distinguish Between Effective and Ineffective Development of Ideas Within a Paragraph
- Understand the Use of Paragraphing to Reinforce Text Structure
- Determine Whether Supporting Details in a Written Selection are Essential or Nonessential
0010 Apply Revision Strategies to Written Works
- Apply Revision Strategies Affecting Voice, Syntax, Transitions, Organization, Clarity, Coherence, and Point of View in a Written Selection
- Make Revisions that Improve the Fluency and Focus of a Written Selection or that Improve Cohesion and the Effective Sequence of Ideas
- Improve the Clarity and Effectiveness of a Written Selection Through Changes in Word Choice
- Eliminate or Replace Unnecessary or Imprecise Words and Phrases
- Insert Appropriate Transitional Words or Phrases (e.g., however, as a result) Into a Passage to Convey the Structure of the Text and to Help Readers Understand the Sequence of a Writer's Ideas
- Recognize Wordiness, Redundancy, and Ineffective Repetition in Sentences and Paragraphs
0011 Recognize the Use of Standard Writing Conventions
- Recognize the Use of Standard Writing Conventions (e.g., Grammar) that Enhance or Impair Meaning and Clarity
- Understand the Standard Use of Verbs (e.g., Subject-Verb Agreement, Verb Tense, Consistency of Tense), Nouns (e.g., Plural and Possessive Forms), Pronouns (e.g., Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement, Standard Pronoun Cases, Use of Possessive Pronouns, Standard Use of Relative and Demonstrative Pronouns), and Modifiers (e.g., Adverbs, Adjectives, Prepositional Phrases)
- Recognize Instances in Which Incorrect or Extraneous Punctuation Has Been Used or Necessary Punctuation Has Been Omitted
- Identify Standard Initial Capitalization and Standard Capitalization With Proper Words and Titles
- Recognize the Standard Spellings of Words
- Identify Sentence Fragments and Run-On Sentences
Written Performance Assignment (Essay)
0012 Prepare an Organized, Developed Composition in Response to Instructions Regarding Content, Purpose, and Audience
- The candidate may be asked to respond to persuasive and/or expository writing exercises in which the candidate is asked to do one or more of the following.
- Compose a fluent, focused, and sustained piece of writing on a given topic using language and style appropriate to a specified audience, purpose, and occasion.
- State and maintain a clear main idea and point of view using effective organization to enhance meaning and clarity.
- Take a position on a contemporary social or political issue and defend that position with reasoned arguments and supporting examples.
- Use effective sentence structure.
- Demonstrate the ability to spell, capitalize, and punctuate according to standard writing conventions. Based on the writing exercise assigned, responses will be evaluated according to the following performance characteristics. Performance Characteristics Focus and Appropriateness The fluency and quality of the discussion, and the sustained attention on a given topic using language and style appropriate to a specified audience, purpose, and occasion. Unity and Organization The effectiveness of the organization, the logical sequence of ideas, and the clarity of the writing used to state and maintain a main idea and point of view. Development and Rationale The relevance, depth, and effectiveness of statements or arguments and examples used to support those statements or defend a position. Usage and Sentence Structure The precision in word choice and use of effective sentence structure. Mechanical Conventions The use of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation according to standard writing conventions.