Academic Communication Assessment

The Academic Communication Assessment (ACA) is a pre-application requirement for the following Community Services programs: Child & Youth Care, Disability & Community Support, Early Childhood Education (ECE), and ECE Workplace.

The ACA tests your ability to read and write at a college level. You will read a short article and will then complete a written response (an essay) based on what you have read.

Details on the assessment:

  • It tests your comprehension of a reading related to 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-paragraph 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 the assessment.

Register for the academic communications assessment


Here are some resources to help you prepare:

  1. Red River College’s Academic Success Centre has developed support material to help you prepare for the 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 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.