West Virginia University will seek approval from its Board of Governors next month to change the Universitys admissions policy to require incoming students to report their scores on the new writing components being introduced on the SAT and ACT entrance exams.

The College Board, a national nonprofit association that administers the SAT , unanimously voted last June to add a writing test that includes multiple choice questions and a student-written essay. It will be first administered in March 2005the month high school juniors typically take the examso the high school graduating class of 2006 will be the first to take the new SAT .

Former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton is president of the College Board, and says the new component will improve the tests current strengths.

Similarly, University officials say, the ACT is also adding an optional writing test beginning in February 2005 for students applying to college for the fall semester of 2006.

It is expected that WVU would begin requiring the new writing test scores in fall 2006.

“Writing has always been an important skill for success in college, and requiring these new tests as soon as they are available acknowledges the priority WVU places on promoting strong writing skills and instruction,”said Rosemary Haggett, WVU s associate provost for academic programs.”Writing is critical at the elementary age all the way through college. We, like the College Board, agree that in ones life and career, writing clearly and effectively is essential.”

Haggett said WVU has been an advocate of this movement for some time, introducing a Center for Writing Excellence in 2000 to support WVU faculty, students and staff in teaching and improving writing. The CWE currently coordinates three programs and their related courses: the Undergraduate Writing Program, the Creative Writing Program and the Professional Writing Program.