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Challenging English 120

Students who wish to challenge English 120 must comply with university policies for challenging a course.

English 110 cannot be challenged, but transfer students and non-traditional students may  review the placement exceptions for English 110. Incoming students may take the CLEP exam if they wish to try and earn credit for English 110. 

Students should contact Dr. Lisa Arnold, Director of First-Year Writing (Minard 318 E52), once they have received their Petition for a Course Challenge from the Office of Registration and Records; she will function as the instructor for the course.  Students without sufficient credentials (ACTs over 33; old SAT over 1460, new SAT over 2190—all are combined scores) or experience (professional writing experience, college writing courses at other universities) will not be allowed to challenge English 120.

The English department uses a portfolio exam to evaluate whether or not students should receive credit for English 120.  Students have to be able to demonstrate through their portfolio that they can meet the expected outcomes for English 120:

  1. Communicate effectively in a variety of genres for various audiences, purposes, and situations. (General Education Outcome #1)
  2. Incorporate knowledge in a coherent and meaningful manner. (General Education Outcome #6)

English 120 exam portfolios consist of:

  • A self-reflective memo, in which the student identifies the ways in which the portfolio meets the three outcomes for English 120.

  • A profile that draws on interview(s) and observations.  The interview(s) may be with the person being profiled, and/or you might consider interviewing other people who can give you insight into that person.  Your observations may be drawn from the interview sessions, or from seeing the person in action.  Secondary research can be incorporated as well. 

  • Two other genres of your choice.  One genre should have a strong visual design component, and one genre should be a well-researched academic essay (commentary, proposal, or other). Research should be properly documented (APA, MLA, or another appropriate style guide).

  • Total of 15–18 pages, although a short, well-designed project could result in fewer pages, and the review committee will take that factor into account.

Students challenging English 120 will have six weeks to complete the portfolio from the day in which they initiate the process.  The portfolio will be read by at least two members of the English department’s First-year Writing Committee, and students will be notified of their results within three weeks of turning in their portfolio to Dr. Lisa Arnold, Director of First-Year Writing.  A successful portfolio will be above average, not simply passing work, but it does not need to be excellent or "A" work. 

Students who wish to challenge English 120 are encouraged to consult Johnson-Sheehan and Paine's Writing Today, 2nd edition, the standard textbook for English 120 at NDSU.

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Site Managers: Kevin Brooks and Andrew Mara
Published by the NDSU Dept. of English

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 9:47:48 PM
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