Diagnostic Testing

The Writing Lab’s Diagnostic Test is a 70-item multiple-choice test, which will help professors and their students determine their students’ areas of weakness in the mechanics of writing.  The test measures students’ knowledge of language skills appropriate for standard written and spoken American English and appropriate for academic and professional writing, the kind of writing expected of college-trained professionals. Questions 1-40 cover word usage and grammar; questions 41-55 cover sentence construction; and questions 56-70 cover punctuation and capitalization. The number of items each student misses in a particular area will determine the follow-up skills he or she should work on in the Writing Lab. After taking the diagnostic test, all students receive an inventory of errors sheet, or Lab Work Form, with specific skills checked.  Professors may require Lab work (a series of tests) based on the areas/skills checked on each student’s Lab Work Form and/or based on the data provided on the Item Analysis Sheet each instructor receives for his or her class.

In addition to the general diagnostic test that is administered to students in composition classes and Intro to Lit classes, the Writing Lab has designed the following content-specific diagnostic tests:

  • Diagnostic Test for Prospective Educators
  • Diagnostic Test for Communication Arts Students
  • Diagnostic Test for Environmental Studies Students
  • Diagnostic Test for Legal Studies Students

 Beginning Week 3 of each semester, the Writing Lab offers Skill-of-the-Week tutoring sessions on the 14 writing skills covered in the diagnostic test. These tutoring sessions are by appointment or on a walk-in basis and are offered every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with the last appointment being at 4:00 p.m.  These sessions provide 20 minutes of instruction, 20 minutes of assessment, and 20 minutes of interactive discussion about the skill.

Grammar Live @ 5 on Elluminate Live! sessions are available Mondays at 5:00 p.m. for students who need to make up a missed session.  These sessions are offered the Monday of the week following each Skill-of-the-Week.

Study materials, including PowerPoints, self-scoring practice tests and mini-lessons, and handouts are available online at www.uwf.edu/writelab and in the Writing Lab (51/157).

Diagnostic Testing and Writing Lab Work Options

The Writing Lab will have three options for instructors who want their students to do Lab Work. Please select the option that best meets the needs of your class.  Each option – with or without diagnostic testing – requires Lab Work.  Lab Work requires students to attend one-hour Skill-of-the-Week tutoring sessions in the Writing Lab. These tutoring sessions are by appointment only and are offered every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with the last appointment being at 4:00 p.m.  Whichever option you choose, your students must ensure that they complete the required or requested skill during the week it is offered as the Skill-of-the-Week.  The Skill-of-the-Week tutoring sessions begin Week 3 of each semester and run for 10 consecutive weeks through the end of Week 12, focusing on a different skill each week. Two skills are covered during some weeks.  No tutoring is available during the last three weeks of each semester.
The Lab will no longer offer make-up lessons for missed skills/lessons
When one of your students misses a weekly skills lesson, an “Incomplete” will be recorded on his or her Lab Work form.  Since we will not have staff available to provide make-up lessons, we request that you not send notes by students with extenuating circumstances such as absence from class because of an extended illness.  Instead, we recommend that you, as the instructor, waive the Lab Work requirement for the specific lesson(s) the student missed during his or her absence. 


During the first two weeks of the semester, a member of the Writing Lab staff will come to your classroom and administer the Writing Lab’s Diagnostic Test, a 70-item multiple-choice test that measures students’ knowledge of standard written American English. The Lab will score the tests, and a lab assistant will return the test scores to your class at the next scheduled class meeting. During this second visit, the lab assistant will also explain the Lab Work forms, the deadline policies, and other Lab services.  

All students will receive an inventory of errors sheet with specific skills checked.  You may require Lab work (a series of tests) based on the areas/skills checked on the Writing Lab's Recommendation Sheet.

We would appreciate your submitting an electronic request (click here) for diagnostic testing so that a complete packet can be prepared for you.  If you want the test administered to more than one class, you will need to indicate this information on the form. 


This option is for Lab Work that does not require administration of the Writing Lab’s Diagnostic Test.

You, as the instructor, should select all fourteen of the Writing Lab’s skills or seven or so of the Writing Lab’s 14 skills for your students to do in the Lab in order for them to receive credit for required Lab Work or to receive bonus points and extra credit.


You may send your students to the Lab to do required Lab Work or extra credit Lab Work on an as-needed basis. To take advantage of this option, use the attached form to indicate the date (during the first two weeks of the term) you want a lab assistant to come to your classroom and discuss the kind of Lab Work option you are requiring. During this visit, the lab assistant will have your students complete the student identification information on the Lab Work forms, explain the deadline policies, and review other Lab services. Since your students will not be taking the Lab’s Diagnostic Test, the lab assistant could come to your classroom on the first day of classes if you prefer. This option should be taken before Week 3 since the Lab’s Skill-of-the-Week tutoring lessons begin the first Monday of week three.
Beginning Week 3, your students will then do the required follow-up Lab Work by attending the Skill-of-the-Week tutoring sessions according to the attached schedule. These tutoring sessions are by appointment only and are offered every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with the last appointment being at 4:00 p.m. Remember, though this is an extra-credit option, your students must complete each skill during the week it is offered.