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RooWriter - Writing Assessment

Version :7.1

Getting Started

About the RooWriter

The RooWriter is a directed self-placement assessment designed to provide you feedback on your writing. In taking the RooWriter, you select a Reading Packet and write a documented, critical essay in response to a prompt based on the Reading Packet you chose. The criteria for assessing student performance on the RooWriter are based on the criteria used to assess student reading and writing in the UMKC Core, the 30-hour University-wide General Education Program.

The RooWriter is offered to you online at any time and place you have access to the internet, over a 72 hour period. You must take the RooWriter at least once after passing Discourse 200 (or its equivalent) and before completing 90 hours. Also, you must take the RooWriter in order to be eligible to enroll in any Writing Intensive (WI) class at UMKC.

When your essay is evaluated, rather than a grade (such as pass/fail) being assigned, a critical assessment of your essay will be composed by RooWriter Evaluators and provided to you. If your essay does not meet the minimal requirements, it will be rejected, and you must take the RooWriter again. You may take the RooWriter as many times as you wish during your career at UMKC.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability and need academic accommodations to take the RooWriter please contact the UMKC Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at (816) 235-5696 or (816) 235-5672, or email

The RooWriter Essay Process

  • Login.
  • Step 1:
    • Review the RooWriter Essay Expectations & Evaluation Rubric (the 6 scales),
    • Review the list of Reading Packets,
    • Choose a Reading Packet, and
    • Visit all the Reading Packet article web addresses and DOWNLOAD or PRINT each reading.
  • Logout.
    • Allow yourself several days or more to READ and ANNOTATE all the articles in your chosen Reading Packet in preparation for writing your RooWriter essay.
    • Choose a 72 hour (3 day) period convenient for you to write your RooWriter essay.
    • Until you click on “Start Essay” and the 72 hour clock begins to count down, you will not receive an essay prompt (question) based on your chosen Reading Packet about which to write your essay. However, before you log in again, you can analyze the arguments in the readings and organize your thoughts about them in preparation for whatever prompt you receive.
  • Login.
  • Step 2: Click on a button to confirm which Reading Packet you chose. You cannot continue to the next step unless you indicate your choice of Reading Packet.
  • Step 3: Click on START ESSAY. The 72 hour clock will begin to count down.
    • Some messages will appear that you must respond to in order to continue.
    • A Prompt (question) based on your chosen Reading Packet will be assigned to you on which to write your essay.
    • Over the 72 hour period, write your essay. You may logout and log back in during that period as you wish, but SAVE your work each time you logout. Over that period you may also seek help in improving your writing from the Writing Studio or elsewhere. However, the essay you eventually submit must be your OWN work. On each return you will be sent directly back to your essay page. Your work will be auto-saved frequently.
    • In the Works Cited section you must use the Citation Style specified by your chosen Reading Packet.
    • On the essay-writing page, we recommend you use the handy "Paste from WORD" button to paste into the essay text-box whatever text you may have copied into your clipboard, because it removes all background formatting originating from your word processor to assure a correct word count for your essay.
    • The word count includes only the essay itself and NOT the Works Cited section.Before the 72 hours end, SAVE and SUBMIT your essay. If for some reason you fail to "submit", the last auto-saved version will be your submission.
    • The minimum essay word count is 750 words. Submitted essays with fewer words will be automatically rejected by the RooWriter and a "rejection" email will be sent to you. Likewise the maximum essay word count is 1,500 words, and if exceeded a similar “rejection” email would be sent to you. Your essay can also be rejected by Evaluators before evaluation for not meeting minimal requirements or for suspected plagiarism.
    • If your essay is not rejected, two RooWriter Evaluators will evaluate your essay. When both are done, an email alert will be sent to you that their joint evaluation report, along with your essay and your essay with their embedded comments, are available. The report will include recommendations for you from the RooWriter and each Evaluator.
    • Note: Once you have completed Discourse 200, the first RooWriter essay you submit for which an evaluation is completed will satisfy the UMKC requirement.
    • Note: You are blocked from taking the RooWriter more than once every 2 weeks.


Incentives to do your best on a RooWriter Essay

  • The RooWriter is intended to act as a formative, diagnostic assessment of your reading and writing skills. The Essay Evaluation is provided by trained Evaluators, to empower you to make a better informed decision about how exactly to improve your writing.
  • You'll be able to choose from among several Reading Packets, according to your interests. You are more likely to want to write about, and to do your best on an essay about an attractive topic since you will be invested in the argument and conclusions you reach.
  • Some Reading Packets may consist of documents addressing current social, political, or cultural problems or challenges of the local community and of an urban university like UMKC. (This is language from the new General Education model.) If you choose any one of these Reading Packets, you will have the option to agree to having your RooWriter essay forwarded onward to contribute fresh ideas toward solutions of those problems or challenges.
  • You will always know exactly what is required in a RooWriter essay. The RooWriter Essay Expectations will be instantly available as a link while you type your essay.
  • In the working world after graduation, businesses tell us, and confirm in national surveys, that writing well is one of the first skills they look for in hiring new employees, or promoting existing ones.
  • You are encouraged to take the RooWriter more than once during your undergraduate career to get an updated Evaluation of how your writing has improved.
  • There is no time pressure. The RooWriter can be started at any time, and you have a 72 hour window to complete an essay. In particular, this makes much less likely any deadline pressure to frantically complete the RooWriter in order to graduate.
  • There is no location pressure. The RooWriter can be taken anywhere you have a computer connected to the internet.


Why cheating, intentionally doing poorly, or plagiarizing on your RooWriter essay is a WASTE of time!

  • Essays written for the RooWriter will be available for review by ANY instructor of ANY subsequent course you take at UMKC. Any dramatic difference in quality between your RooWriter essay and your writing in the course will be immediately apparent to your instructor. UMKC faculty are taking the RooWriter seriously.
  • Taking the RooWriter may be required in certain UMKC courses. The essay produced would then be reviewed by your instructor.
  • One way a RooWriter essay can be rejected: A RooWriter essay requires a minimum word count of 750 words. Any submission with fewer words will be automatically rejected before the essay is sent to an evaluator. You would then receive a "rejection" email explaining that. Likewise the maximum essay word count is 1,500 words, and if exceeded a similar “rejection” email would be sent to you.
  • Another way a RooWriter essay can be rejected: An Evaluator has the option to immediately reject your essay if it does not meet the minimal requirements for a RooWriter essay or exhibits intentional plagiarism according to guidelines devised by the RooWriter writing specialists. You would then receive a "rejection" email explaining that.
  • The messages that will appear when you start an essay, and which you must respond to in order to continue, will warn you of UMKC consequences of dishonest work.