Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Writing Standards

Communicating ideas clearly and appropriately to a variety of audiences in both oral and written form is a hallmark of an effective educational leader. Therefore, writing is one of the central activities of the ELPS program through which students accumulate, communicate, and demonstrate learning.

All writing in the ELPS classes from postings on electronic bulletin boards and power-point presentations, to personal essays, to formal research papers will be evaluated according to the conventions of Standard American English mechanics, grammar, usage, and organization and in the general format of APA style. (See ELPS Student Writing Rubric).

General Format for APA Style

  • Typed
  • Double-spaced
  • Standard paper (8.5 X 11 inches)
  • Margins of 1 inch on all sides
  • 12 point font size
  • The preferred typeface font for APA formatted papers is Times New Roman

Your essay, if required by the professor, can include any of the following:

Title page:

Depending on your instructor’s guidelines, the title page is on a separate page. APA style includes five elements: running head, title of paper, author name, your institutional affiliation, and author note

Page header:

Placed in the upper left-hand corner, the header is the first two or three words of the title. The page number is on the same line right justified.


If your instructor requires an abstract, write a 75-100 word overview of your essay, which should include your main idea and your major points. You may also want to mention any implications of your research. Place the abstract on its own page immediately after the title page. Center the word Abstract and then follow with the paragraph.


Although not absolutely necessary, headings can be helpful. APA recommended style consists of five levels of section headings, with the most common being 1) centered, bold, upper and lower case and 2) flush left, bold, upper and lower case (see any APA style resource).


Create your list of references on its own page after the last page of your text. Center the title “References” one inch from the top of the page. Double space. All citation sources listed in the body of your paper should be included in your reference list. Alphabetize the list of references by the last name of the authors.


Please see the following suggested resources for heading levels, sample papers, and proper formatting of citations in the body of your text as well as in the reference list.

For resources regarding proper grammar and usage as well as interactive grammar exercises, see the following:

ELPS Writing Rubric

Paragraph for ELPS Department Syllabi

Presentation of Written Materials:

The ELPS department has adopted the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citations, references, and editorial style for use by our students to create uniformity in the written materials submitted over the course of the program. Information about the “APA Style” can be obtained through the Oviatt Library at the following website:

Another excellent website for APA guidance is:

The ELPS Department also encourages students to contact the CSUN Writing Center and Lab (818 677-2033), located in the Learning Resources Center in Bayramian Hall 408, for help with academic writing, research papers, and/or note taking techniques.