Academic Communication Assessment

The Academic Communication Assessment tests your ability to read and write at a college level and includes two parts:

1. A reading comprehension test, called Degrees of Reading Power (DRP).

Details on this section of the assessment:

  • It is a test that determines how well you understand what you’re reading.
  • There are 70 multiple choice questions.
  • As you work through the test, the passages become more challenging.
  • It is an untimed test, that is, you will have as much time as you need to write this part of the assessment. On average, the DRP takes approximately two hours to complete.
  • Consider reviewing these examples.
NOTE: The Degrees of Reading Power is a test for English first language speakers, i.e. people who learned to speak English at home as a child, were educated in English and now live and work in English. If you aren’t sure if the DRP is the right test for you, please see ouEnglish Skills Assessment. If you require more information please contact Assessment Services or call 204.632.2458.

2. A textbook reading assessment and a written response called the Program Specific Assessment (PSA).

Details on this section of the assessment:

  • It tests your comprehension of a reading from your RRC program of interest.
  • It tests your writing skills through the completion of a 5-paragraph essay writing task. You will be assessed on your ability to:
    • Produce basic, structured academic paragraphs on presented and familiar topics.
    • Effectively introduce, support and conclude an idea within a 5-paragrah structure and within each paragraph.
    • Correctly employ grammar, sentence structure, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, tone, and word choice and usage.
  • You will have 90 minutes to complete this part of the assessment.

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Here are some resources to help you prepare:

  1. Red River College’s Academic Success Centre has developed support material to help you prepare in your written component of the Academic Communications Assessment. Learn more about the Five Paragraph Essay below and download the checklist.
  2. Purdue University provides an excellent writing support site called the Online Writing Lab (OWL) or Purdue Writing Lab. Simply click the link below and it will take you to the OWL page. Use the “Search the OWL” from the left hand menu or use the magnifying glass to search the topic link. You can also click on the link in each section below to go directly to the OWL site.

The sections below are very helpful in preparing for College-level writing:

  • The Expository Essay – This resource explains how to develop this type of essay.
  • Paragraphs and Paragraphing – The purpose of this resource is to provide some basic instruction and advice regarding the creation of understandable and coherent paragraphs.
  • Transitions and Transitional Devices – This resource discusses transition strategies and specific transitional devices to help students’ essays and sentences flow more effectively.
  • Conciseness – This resource explains the concept of concise writing and provides examples of how to ensure clear prose.
  • Sentence Variety – This resource presents methods for adding sentence variety and complexity to writing that may sound repetitive or boring. Sections are divided into general tips for varying structure, a discussion of sentence types, and specific parts of speech which can aid in sentence variety.
  • Using Appropriate Language – This section covers some of the major issues with appropriate language use: levels of language formality, deceitful language and Euphemisms, slang and idiomatic expressions; using group-specific jargon; and biased/stereotypical language.
  • Punctuation – This resource will help clarify when and how to use various marks of punctuation. When speaking, we can pause or change the tone of our voices to indicate emphasis. When writing, we must use punctuation to indicate these places of emphasis.
  • Proofreading Your Writing – This section provides information on proofreading, finding and fixing common errors.
  • Commas – This resource offers a number of pages about comma use.

If you are uncertain about your ability to read a college-level text and write a 5-paragraph essay, please contact us to join an upcoming Reading/Writing Information Session & Workshop.