College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA+)

Q: What is the CWRA+?

The CWRA+ is an online assessment that includes a performance task and 25 selected-response items. The performance task measures analytic reasoning, problem solving and written communication, three essential skills for success in college and work. The selected-response questions are designed to assess students’ ability to reason quantitatively and scientifically, read critically and evaluate information and critique faulty arguments.

Each performance task presents an engaging, real-world scenario and a set of accompanying documents. Students are asked to choose among possible actions to address a problem, determine the most likely cause of a problem or classify items based on their significant features.

The selected-response section presents students with a realistic document—such as a blog post, debate transcript, political speech or newspaper editorial—and a set of accompanying questions.

Q: Who is required to take the CWRA+?

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) students enrolled in the courses listed below must take the CWRA+. Students with allowable accommodations will also take the CWRA+.

AP English 12 Literature & Composition HSA English 12 (Core and Honors)
AP Virtual English 12 Literature & Composition IB English 12
English 12 (Basic and Honors) IB Language and Literature 12
English 12 4x4 LSA English 12 (Core and Honors)
Virtual English 12 LSA Legal Research and Writing
Virtual English 12 4x4 TA English 12 (Honors)
English 111, 112: College Composition GSWLA English 12

Q: How will students enrolled in Online English 12 be expected to participate in the CWRA+?

Each student enrolled in Online English 12 will participate in the CWRA+ at his or her home school. The school improvement specialist (SIS) at each school will make arrangements with students regarding a time and place to test.

Q: When will the CWRA+ be administered? Will make-up tests be offered?

The CWRA+ will be administered in October or November. Make-up tests will be given to all students who miss their scheduled examination time. It may be necessary to schedule make-ups for students who have extended time or other accommodations because of the possibility of the CWRA+ extending past the dismissal time.

Q: Will 4x4 first-semester students and second-semester students take the CWRA+?

It is the expectation that both first- and second-semester English 12 students will participate in the CWRA+.

Q: What accommodations are allowed on the CWRA+ for students with disabilities (SWD) and limited English proficient (LEP) students?

Students should participate in the CWRA+ according to their educational plans. Special sessions will be set up for students who require extended time. Parents who have questions regarding their student’s allowable accommodations should contact the school directly.

Q: How long does it take to administer the CWRA+?

The CWRA+ may take up to two hours for students to complete the following:

  • Log in and complete a student profile
  • Complete the performance task (tutorial plus time limit of 60 minutes)
  • Take the 25 selected-response items (tutorial plus time limit of 30 minutes)
  • Respond to a few survey questions

Q: How will the results of the CWRA+ be used?

The CWRA+ will not count as an English grade. Students who actively participate in the CWRA+ will receive results that will compare them with other students who took the CWRA+ at their high school. Individual reports will be sent home to students at the beginning of the following school year.

The CWRA+ results will also allow VBCPS to evaluate our students' higher-level thinking skills, readiness for college and/or work and provide a comparisons between VBCPS juniors, other high school students and college freshmen. Insights gained from assessment results will assist VBCPS in improving instruction and learning in six areas: analysis and problem solving; writing effectiveness; writing mechanics; scientific and quantitative reasoning; critical reading and evaluation; and critiquing an argument.

Q: Will the results of the CWRA+ appear on Virginia Beach students’ transcripts?

Yes, each student’s overall score on the CWRA+ will be added to their transcript beginning with the February 2014 administration of the CWRA+. Results of the CWRA prior to the 2013-2014 school year will not appear on Virginia Beach students’ transcripts.

Q: How do students' scores on the CWRA+ compare with their PSAT and SAT scores?

The CWRA+ scores of most (but not all) students tend to reflect their overall performance on the PSAT and SAT, especially in the Critical Reading and Writing sections. Because the format of the CWRA+ is different from the test format of the PSAT/SAT, some students will do better on one assessment than on the other. For more about the correlations between the scores of these tests, read An Analysis of the Relationships Between Assessments.

Q: Where can I get more information regarding the CWRA+?

More information about the CWRA+ including an example performance task and two examples of selected-response questions can be viewed at /UserFiles/Servers/Server_78010/File/Students/Academics/High School/College and Work Readiness/CWRA_Student_Guide_Institution.pdf. Another example CWRA+ performance task with a sample of a high-quality response is at /UserFiles/Servers/Server_78010/File/Students/Academics/High School/College and Work Readiness/CWRA_Plus_Practice_PT.pdf.

More information about the CWRA+ is available here.