City Tech Professors’ ‘CATskills’ Handbook Helps CUNY Students Pass Exam

November 20, 2012 | New York City College of Technology

Ostrom (left) and Hellman

Brooklyn, NY  — New York City College of Technology (City Tech) English faculty members Rob Ostrom and Caroline Hellman have written a handbook that prepares City University of New York (CUNY) students for the writing test they must pass to begin college composition and, in the process, readies them for college writing expectations.

CATskills: Mastering the CATW and College Writing (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2012) provides insight into navigating the CUNY Assessment Test in Writing (CATW) exam, whether a student is taking the test at the end of high school or at the end of a developmental writing course, according to the authors.

The 62-page handbook includes an explanation of the test directions and scoring process, a breakdown of the components of successful student essays and sample practice exam passages. It teaches successful approaches to all components of essay writing — from outline to paragraph construction and development to the use of evidence.

Professors Ostrom and Hellman teach developmental writing, literature and creative writing at City Tech. “The approaches in the book have proven successful for our students on the CATW and in subsequent English courses,” they say. “We wanted to share with other CUNY faculty the methods we’ve developed that have helped our students.”

Ostrom is the author of The Youngest Butcher in Illinois (YesYes, 2012) and two chapbooks, To Show the Living (The New York Center for Book Arts) and Nether and Qualms (Projective Industries). A lecturer at City Tech, his poems have most recently appeared in Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Gulf Coast, and Cut Bank. He also teaches creative writing at Columbia University.

Hellman directs the developmental writing program at City Tech. Associate Professor of English, she is author of Domesticity and Design in American Women’s Lives and Literature: Stowe, Alcott, Cather, and Wharton Writing Home (Routledge, 2011) and articles on American literature. She received a Fulbright grant in 2011 to teach at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the College enrolls more than 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs.