Advisor Information

Writing Placement

Washington State University’s English department offers six variations of the first-year composition course. None of the six options are remedial, as students earn graded WSU credits for each option and the cost of each course is the same as all other WSU courses. The placement of students into these individualized courses is one of the hallmarks of the WSU Writing Program.

All incoming students who intend to take English 101 (or English 105) are required to complete Writing Placement. Please see the Exam Credit Chart or the Transfer Clearinghouse page for information on English 101 fulfillment routes.

Students may be placed into English 100 or 104 (for multilingual students), English 101+102 or English 105+107 (for multilingual students), or English 101 or English 105 (for multilingual students). The 3-credit courses (i.e. English 100) are facilitated by the English department; the 1-credit courses (102 and 107) are facilitated by the Writing Center.

The placement essays are read by the instructors of the first-year composition courses and participate in regular trainings in the Writing Program.

The University Writing Portfolio

The University Writing Portfolio is intended as a diagnostic aid. It is meant to identify students whose writing ability puts them at risk in managing the requirements of upper-division courses that assign writing. However, the University Writing Portfolio is also a graduation requirement; if students delay this evaluation, it becomes a last-minute hurdle they must clear before graduation.

Students are required to submit after attaining 60 credit hours (2002 WSU Catalog, p. 40), but they are welcome to submit before that deadline. Students should complete this requirement prior to enrolling in their Writing-in-the-Major courses. Transfer students entering with more than 60 credit hours must submit the University Writing Portfolio during their first semester on the WSU campus.

Students will receive a registration hold at 60 credits as the final reminder to submit the Portfolio if they have not yet done so. The hold ensures the Portfolio remains a mid-career assessment rather than an exit exam.

Completing the Portfolio

Students should aim to select two academic essays or papers that best demonstrate their abilities to write at the college-level. They will be directed to reflect on these essays or papers within the submission site; answers to these reflection questions will be considered along with the academic essays and will serve as verification that the documents uploaded are, in fact, the student’s own work. The team of UWP trained readers are expecting to see answers that are carefully crafted, thoughtful, and detailed, and that provide additional evidence of a writer’s abilities.

Students can submit writing from any college-level course from any institution. The papers do not need to come from WSU. We no longer require faculty signatures on student papers. We no longer require the Timed Write component of the portfolio, a move in alignment with agreed-upon best practices of writing assessment.

Portfolios are read in their entirety by faculty members from across the university. Readings are led by the Writing Assessment office, and readers are trained by the Assessment Coordinator.

Portfolio Results

Students will receive one of two results on their University Writing Portfolio: Completed or In Progress.

If readers designate the Portfolio as Completed, that designation is entered in the student’s records, and the student has fulfilled the Portfolio requirement.

If the Portfolio earns an In Progress rating, the student will need to complete additional course work to satisfy the requirement. On the Pullman campus, the additional requirement is either WRIT 205 or WRIT 302; Tri Cities and Vancouver offer English 202 or WRIT 302; and Global Campus offers WRIT 302. Regardless, students should enroll in their further requirement concurrently with an upper-division writing-intensive course in the student’s major (M-course). Upon fulfillment of the required course, transcripts will show the milestone as completed.

Please note: The results are shown as “holds” but do not impede a student’s ability to register for classes. The results are indicators that the student has additional coursework to complete before graduation.

Call the WSU Writing Program with questions at 509-335-7959 or e-mail the office at

Additional Notes Regarding the Writing Portfolio

The University Writing Portfolio is a requirement for all students who have entered an institution of higher learning. Since this is an upper-division graduation requirement, it applies even to transfer students who come with an AA degree. There is only one exception to the portfolio requirement: Students with a WSU recognized four-year degree from another institution are not responsible for the requirement.

Hours transferred from non-accredited institutions will not figure in establishing date of matriculation, e.g., “A level” work from international institutions and Advanced Placement earned in high school. In problematical cases, check with the WSU Admissions Office at 509-335-5586.

Writing Assessment Contacts for Non-Pullman Students

Contact the representative of your campus if you have questions about the Writing Placement Exam, the University Writing Portfolio, and/or releasing a registration hold related to the University Writing Portfolio.