By: Carlos Flemming López and Salvador Saulés Estrada. Subdirectorate of Transversal Examinations Language and Communication DICTIA-CENEVAL

“Writing is important in school because it is important outside of school, and not the other way around,” psychologist, pedagogue and writer Emilia Ferreiro once said. The specialist emphasized one of the postulates that should permeate each one of us: that the scope of the written word goes beyond the school environment. Today this is a palpable reality. We realize when we see how essential WhatsApp messages have become in our communication, being immersed in areas where the dizzying world of Twitter overwhelms us, when using that means of work communication par excellence that email has become. or when faced with the innumerable forms that must be completed to apply for a procedure, be it a scholarship, admission to a university, a job, a license, a passport or a vaccine.

However, those who write always do so with an idea in mind: “how can I be sure that what I write is well organized and presented?” And if it were the case, “how can I improve this skill to achieve the communicative objective I want?” Many times the answers do not take a professional course and we only solve them from the reading of our receiver. It is a valid path, but not entirely academic. Another path that can be followed to verify if our ability to write reaches the levels we want is to assess it through a test or evaluation instrument. These instruments are key tools because they are used to make important decisions throughout life and, of course, writing properly is also an important decision in life.

The National Evaluation Center for Higher Education (Ceneval) developed the Written Expression Test in Spanish (EXPRESE), a test that allows the student, professional or any interested person to know the level of their ability to write. To do this, write an argumentative text based on a particular topic, which must meet specific characteristics, such as using a language appropriate to the requested context, presenting ideas in an orderly and hierarchical manner based on the position you want to support, presenting a structure logic and, of course, comply with grammar and spelling rules.

A virtue of EXPRESE is that for the writing of the argumentative text, the supporter starts from the motivation generated by answering a question of daily knowledge that poses real scenarios, does not require specialized knowledge and that could be of interest to him. These questions or writing tasks, as they are technically called, contain different themes and the applicant is presented with three, from which he must choose only one. Below are the types of tasks that the applicant can select to prepare their argumentative text, in addition to some of their main characteristics.

Simple task. This task briefly presents a real situation and provides the necessary elements so that the applicant knows what type of text is expected to be written and who should direct it. Example:

Task with complementary texts. In addition to the elements of the simple task, include one or two short passages, quotes, or background that serve to contextualize the situation presented. It is important that the applicant does not copy these texts, since the objective is to express his own ideas. Example:

Task with complementary texts. In addition to the elements of the simple task, include one or two short passages, quotes, or background that serve to contextualize the situation presented. It is important that the applicant does not copy these texts, since the objective is to express his own ideas. Example:

Qualification and example of results. The rating is determined by at least a couple of experts in the Spanish language, based on an analytical rubric that includes four levels of performance (insufficient, sufficient, good and notable).

Example of improvement suggestions. The EXPRESE is the only Ceneval exam that gives applicants, along with the results of their evaluation, suggestions for improvement. The feedback allows the evaluated to consider the items in which there are areas of opportunity to continue improving their writing, since mastering this skill requires time and dedication.

If the question is “how do I know if my text is well organized and presented?”, the answer is “with EXPRESE, the instrument that offers students, professionals and any interested person the possibility of knowing their level of performance (insufficient , sufficient, good and remarkable) in each of the six criteria evaluated (adequacy, organization, argumentation, coherence, cohesion and language conventions)”. And if the question is “how can I improve my ability to write?”, the answer is also “with the EXPRESE”, since it is one of the few tests that offer suggestions for improvement for each of the criteria evaluated.

To learn more about EXPRESE, see: https://ceneval.edu.mx/examenes-diagnostico-exprese/

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