EdD Writing Assessment

The EdD writing assessment is a timed online essay exercise that measures a candidate’s ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills in written form. The EdD writing assessment is required of all applicants who choose not to submit a valid score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

In the assessment, you will be presented with two position statements on issues relevant to educational leadership. You will then have 30 minutes in which to compose a concise, well-reasoned response that either supports or challenges one of the position statements. The choice of position statement, and of which side to take, is up to you. Your response does not need to reflect your personal opinion on the position statement.

After completion, the writing assessment becomes part of your application and is reviewed by the admissions committee along with your other submitted materials. The Committee will evaluate your response on the basis of its logic and clarity.

A typical response will be approximately 400-500 words, although there is no set requirement – length will vary according to an individual’s writing style. As a general guideline, the essay should be structured with an introduction containing a thesis statement, a body containing your major points, and a conclusion. No advance preparation is required, and you do not need to be familiar with the issue in the position statement. You are asked not to use citations or to conduct research on the topic while writing your response.

Questions and Answers

How do I choose the writing assessment?

Indicate in the online application that you plan to complete the writing assessment option. After you submit your application, you will be sent a link for access to complete the assessment.

Will I be evaluated on my choice of position statement, or on the side I take?

No. You will be evaluated on the logic and clarity of your response.

When can I take the writing assessment?

It can take 24-72 hours after the submission of your application to receive the writing assessment link. You may take the assessment at any time after receiving the link. Please be sure to submit your application at least three days before the deadline to ensure that you receive and complete the writing assessment prior to the application deadline.

How much time do I have to complete the writing assessment?

You will have 30 minutes in which to select a question and compose and submit your response. The system will automatically submit your response when the 30 minutes expire.

What happens after I submit my essay?

You will receive an email confirmation of your submission, and your essay will become part of your application.

Please keep in mind that if you choose this option, you must submit the writing assessment online along with all other required application materials in order to complete your EdD application.

Can I repeat the writing assessment if I am not satisfied with my performance?

No. Applicants are allowed to take the writing assessment one time only. If you do not complete, or decide not to take the examination, you will need to submit a valid GRE or GMAT score.

What If I change my mind after the test and want to submit a GRE or GMAT score?
Please contact the EdD Program Office by email at mailto: rsoeedd@usc.edu to request that your selection of assessment be changed from writing assessment to GRE or GMAT.

Any advice for taking the writing assessment?

Since you will only have 30 minutes from the time of log-in to submission, it is important that you are able to complete the assessment without distractions or interruptions. Take steps to make sure that you will be able to focus completely on this task before you begin.