San Francisco State University has one of the most dreaded writing tests by students. This test is known as Junior English Proficiency Essay Test, JEPET. JEPET test is taken after the first two years of study, upon successful 48 semesters and before their 80th semester unit to fulfill the graduation writing requirement. Those who fail must take the English 414 whish will satisfy the university that a student has fulfilled their writing requirement for graduation.
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However a student must take JEPET before taking English 414. This is usually a timed exam handwritten and student must write a well organized argumentative essay on a given topic and base it on evidence provided. The only reference materials allowed are a dictionary, a thesaurus and a spell checker. This makes it a general writing proficiency test and students end up not learning writing skills in the subjects they are taking. This essay is therefore aimed at explaining why JEPET should be scraped.
The first major reason is that JEPET is a highly generalized one-time exam and not a writing course that only tests a student’s general writing proficiency. A one time exam is not a credible criterion of measuring a students writing proficiency. As it also only test a students general writing abilities and not subject oriented writing proficiency it therefore produces students “who cannot write” (Turner para 4). Therefore CFSU needs to replace JEPET with a more intensive and subjects based writing course.
Secondly, because JEPET is just an exam and not a course, there is a very high failure rate (Turner para 17). This is occasioned by the fact that student who fail JEPET have to sit for English 414, when passed qualifies a student for graduation. The problem with this provision is that it encourages failure as students do not have to re-sit JEPET therefore defeating the purpose of the exam, which SFSU has made mandatory for graduation.
Thirdly, JEPET is not in favor with SFSU students, many of whom prefer to have “ a course intensive training within one major as it would make passing easier” (Turner para 17). Students will be motivated to be more attentive as they are being trained on subjects they have more appreciation for rather than a “general English exam” as they refer to JEPET (Turner para 23). This boosted learning morale will improve passing rates therefore necessitating the need to rethink JEPET.
Last but not the least, is that JEPET is just an exam to facilitate exit from the university rather than test writing competence. A student must first write English 114 and English 214 before writing JEPET. JEPET seems to be a re writes of these two exams. If a student passes them but fails JEPET, it defeats the logic of SFSU refusing students to graduate until they write another exam (Turner para 34).
In conclusion, even though JEPET was formulated with the intention of giving students writing proficiency it has not been successful. This is because it defeats the purpose of its own existence as students are not adequately trained to write. Furthermore those who pass only have general writing skills and not the relevant writing skills in their major subjects. This results in graduates who cannot write and if SFSU has this reputation, its graduates will loose market value as they will be unemployable.
Turner, Jack. New Writing Courses Set to Replace JEPET by 2010, [x]press. San Francisco: SFSU Journalism Department. September 2008. Web.