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Writing Outcomes (WP003)

Southeast Missouri State University is committed to the principle that college graduates should be competent writers.  Toward this end, the University now requires not only that its students earn credit in freshman composition but that they also pass a writing proficiency test (WP003) after completing 75 hours of coursework.  All students are required to fulfill the 75-hour writing proficiency requirement except (a) those who are pursuing a second college degree at the bachelor's level or beyond and (b) those who have completed 94 credit hours toward their degree upon enrolling at Southeast for the first time.  Hours that do not transfer and do not carry credit toward graduation are not part of the 94-hour total.

WP003 is a two part essay exam identical in format to WP002.  On Part I of the test, students are given 50 minutes to write an essay of approximately two pages based on their personal experience.  On Part II of the exam, students are given 70 minutes to write a persuasive essay of approximately two pages in which they take a stance on a controversial issue.  To complete Part II, students are given 2-3 pages of source material to refer to while drafting their essays.

WP003 is scored holistically by a team of trained readers from across campus. Upcoming testing dates are listed here.

What To Do If You Do Not Pass WP003

If you fail the 75-hour writing proficiency exam, you have three options:

  • to appeal your score,
  • to retake the exam in a subsequent semester,
  • to submit a portfolio of your writing.

Appealing Your Score on WP003

If you believe that your WP003 essays were incorrectly scored, you may appeal your score.  If you wish to appeal your score, you must schedule an appointment with the Director of Writing Assessment.  At that time, you will schedule an appointment to write a letter arguing that your essays deserve a higher score than they were given and officially requesting that they be scored again.  Each essay will be evaluated by two readers trained in holistic scoring.  Readers will take into consideration the content of your letter of appeal when they score your essays.  If the two readers make discrepant judgments, a third reader will resolve the appeal.

Retaking WP003

You may repeat WP003 as many times as necessary, once a semester, until you pass.  WP003 is offered twice in the fall, twice in the spring, and once in the summer.  Retaking WP003 is an advisable option if you feel that your performance on the day you took the exam was not your best or if you plan to seek assistance with your writing before taking the exam again.  Writing Associates in the Writing Center will help you analyze your writing and coach you on how best to prepare for the exam.

Submitting a Portfolio

You may assemble a portfolio of samples of your writing and submit it in accordance with guidelines given below.  This option is desirable if you feel that the topics and time limitations for WP003 prevent you from demonstrating your true level of writing ability.

There are three ways to prepare a portfolio:

  • Portfolio Option A
    You may sign up for a series of 3 three-hour exams administered by Testing Services.  For each exam, you will be given an appropriate topic and allowed three hours to plan, draft, and revise your essay.  Testing Services retains your essays and submits them to the Director of Writing Assessment when all three essays are completed. 
  • Portfolio Option B
    You may enroll in EN230, Intermediate Composition, and develop your portfolio with the help of your instructor in that class.
  • Portfolio Option C
    You may prepare a portfolio independently by collecting a minimum of four writing samples prepared for academic purposes during the course of a semester.  You must sign up for this option by the end of the fourth week of the semester in which you assemble your portfolio.  (The summer semester has different deadlines; contact the Director of Writing Assessment for further information.)

Special Guidelines for Portfolio Options B and C

If you choose to submit a portfolio under Option B or Option C, you must schedule a meeting with the Director of Writing Assessment, the Director of the Writing Center, or one of the Writing Associates early in the semester in which you assemble your portfolio.  At that time you will officially declare your intention to submit a portfolio, and the Director or Associate will review the portfolio guidelines with you.  Only writing completed during the semester in which you declare your intention to submit a portfolio may be included.

Portfolios that contain writing which is not clearly and demonstrably your own will not be accepted for evaluation.  Any irregularity in the use of sources, especially irregularities that make it difficult to determine whether the writing is substantially your own, can be grounds for rejecting a portfolio.


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Office of the Provost
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Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701