My Doctoral Journey: Walden’s Doctoral Writing Assessment

Kimmy Porter2When starting your doctoral journey, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially when you begin to learn more about program requirements and courses. One of the requirements of Walden’s doctoral programs is to complete a Doctoral Writing Assessment (DWA). Personally, when I first heard about this requirement, I know that I was pretty nervous. I had always done well in my writing courses, but what if my writing wasn’t strong enough for the doctoral level work that Walden was expecting?

The Doctoral Writing Assessment is designed to assess current writing capabilities, including writing strategies, grammar, punctuation, and scholarly writing. During your second term, you will submit your original writing piece by Day 7 of Week 2 based on the prompt in the classroom, and you will receive your assessment score by the end of week 4. Depending on your score, you will be required to take Graduate Writing I and II, Graduate Writing II, or review resources from the Walden Writing Center. To learn more about the process and scoring, visit the Doctoral Writing Assessment Requirement page.

The assessment itself is not meant to be stressful. In fact, it is a chance for you to show who you are and what you are capable of! Use this assessment as an opportunity to allow Walden to learn more about who you are outside of the classroom and what you have accomplished throughout your academic career.

After completing the writing assessment, I was placed into Graduate Writing II where I was able to focus on my writing and using the MEAL plan to help develop my scholarly voice. My instructor encouraged collaboration and peer reviews to clarify our writing and provided personal, meaningful feedback that really helped to impact my writing. At first, I was very uneasy about taking the course; but after the feedback and interactions from the first assignments, I realized that the class was really designed to be helpful rather than an extra burden.

It’s important to remember that the assessment and the courses are not designed to give you more work or to provide negative feedback. Instead, they are designed to strengthen and build upon your current scholarly writing skills. The ultimate goal of the assessment and writing courses are to prepare you to meet Walden’s expectations for scholarly writing at the doctoral level. Developing these writing skills early will help later on when you reach the dissertation phase of your program.


Kimmy Porter is a doctoral student and Doctoral Peer Mentor who is currently enrolled in the PhD in Educational Technology program at Walden University. Kimmy lives in Maryland her advice to incoming doctoral students is: “You are stronger and capable of much more than you believe. Take a breath, believe in yourself – you can do this!!! Follow your passion and trust your gut – it will lead you to your dissertation topic.”

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