CUNY Trustees Vote to Strengthen Academic Requirements Via New Writing Test

The Board of Trustees voted on November 23rd, 1998 to require that beginning next year all new students pass a University Proficiency Examination before graduation or transfer from community colleges and prior to advancing to the upper divisions of CUNY’s four-year colleges.

“The University Proficiency Examination will be an important mid-point assessment of student achievement and will help insure that graduates are fully prepared to succeed when they complete college,”said Interim CUNY Chancellor Christoph M. Kimmich.

The decision authorizing the reading/writing test was another major step in the University’s ongoing campaign to strengthen academic standards and better prepare its 200,000 for-credit students for the rapidly changing job market and requirements of post-graduate study, according to CUNY Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dr. Anne A. Paolucci.

“The Proficiency Examination will benefit both the University and its students,” said Dr. Paolucci. “The process of developing and piloting the proficiency exam was lengthy, exhaustive and meticulous.”

The Chairwoman said that similar testing has already been adopted by several states with large public universities, including Texas, California, Florida and Georgia.

The University Proficiency Examination will help determine ability to perform upper division academic work, and will require:

  • All students who have acquired 45-60 credits must take and pass the two- hour essay test.
  • Transfer students would have to meet the same requirements in the Fall of 2000.
  • The University Proficiency Examination will replace the current CUNY Writing Assessment test as a graduation requirement for Associates degrees.

Work on the development of the proficiency exam began more than a year ago, and included ongoing input from CUNY faculty representatives, University administrators and outside consultants.

The Board’s Committee on Academic Program, Planning and Research, chaired by Trustee Nilda Soto-Ruiz, recommended the establishment of the proficiency exam. The Board’s November 16 public hearing included testimony on the resolution.