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Writing Placement & Support

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  Important Updates


The Writing Success Placement Tool (WSPT) is now available at:

wspt.odu.edu.



Writing Placement Requirements


All undergraduate students who have not earned credit for ENGL 110C through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) or transfer from another institution are required to score a "3" on the Writing Success Placement Tool (WSPT) to be cleared to enroll in ENGL 110C or ENGL 126C without the corequisite course, ENGL 101. Students who score a "1" on the WSPT will be required to enroll in ENGL 101 alongside ENGL 110C.

The Office of Writing Placement and Support does not make credit determinations and is not involved in the timeline for credit evaluation and awards. Newly admitted students awaiting credit evaluations for ENGL 110C may check with ODU Admissions to determine when a credit determination will be made prior to using the WSPT. If 110C credit is granted, then the student does not need to use the WSPT and may register for ENGL 211C. If no credit is awarded, the student will need to use the WSPT to determine placement in either ENGL 101+110C or ENGL 110C. If credit is anticipated but not awarded prior to orientation, students may choose to use the placement tool or to wait until orientation advising to determine best steps. Students whose credit award is delayed for 110C will not be hindered by their WSPT score either way. For more information about college credit eligibility, please visit: https://www.odu.edu/academics/academic-records/score-analysis/ap-ib

Transfer students with credit for ENGL 110C are exempt from taking the WSPT. Transfer students are eligible to use the WSPT as a diagnostic tool by contacting Mary Beth Pennington, Director of Writing Placement and Support at writingplacement@odu.edu.

If you are a transfer student who has received credit for ENGL 211C, 221C, or 231C but not ENGL 110C, contact Mary Beth Pennington, Director of Writing Support at writingplacement@odu.edu, as you may be eligible for a WSPT waiver.

Transfer students who have received credit for ENGL 211C, 221C, or 231C but not ENGL 110C may also wish to pursue the Portfolio Waiver Option for ENGL 110C. For more information about the policy and whether or not your situation qualifies, see the Undergraduate Catalog. To inquire about the process, contact Jenn Sloggie, the Director of Composition at jsloggie@odu.edu. If it is determined that the writing is equivalent to or exceeds the writing required in ENGL 110C, the student will be exempt from the ENGL 110C requirement. There would be no cost and no award of credit.



Writing Success Placement Tool (WSPT)

The Writing Success Placement Tool or WSPT measures students' writing and reading abilities and considers their previous learning experiences to determine which English composition course is the best fit for them. The WSPT uses a combination of high school GPA, performance on writing, reading, and grammar diagnostics, and self-assessment to make this determination.

The WSPT is covered by ODU's honor code, so students must sign an honor pledge before beginning the process. There is no time limit for using the tool. Students will receive their score via their ODU e-mail within 72 hours of completion. Those students who score a "1" will need to register for a section of ENGL 101 and its corresponding section of ENGL 110C (6 credit hours); these offerings can be found on the paired schedule. Those students who score a "3" may register for ENGL 110C (3 credit hours); these offerings can be found on LEO.


You can access the WSPT in several ways:

  • Go to: wspt.odu.edu
  • Find the link to the WSPT on your "admitted student checklist."
  • Find the link in Canvas as provided during your orientation session.

Students will sign-in to the WSPT with their Midas ID credentials. After the tool is completed, students will receive instructions for next steps via their ODU e-mail within 72 hours of completion.

The WSPT includes 5 sections that the Writing Placement and Support Office uses to determine students' level of preparedness for university writing. Once students complete and submit each section, they will not be able to return to that section. Each section is saved upon completion. There is no time limit for completing the tool. However, students must complete all sections of the WSPT at least 3 days prior to their respective orientation session.

Sections of the WSPT

Academic History

Students will be asked to supply high school GPA, as well as information about their last writing course taken. Students need to make sure they have this information on hand before opening the tool.

Writing Assessment

Students will write responses to two prompts and then reflect on themselves as writers.

Reading Assessment

Students will read a short passage, answer multiple choice questions about the content of that passage, and reflect on themselves as readers.

Grammar Assessment

Students will select from multiple choice options to fill in blanks requiring appropriate grammatical answers and then reflect on their comfort with and knowledge about English language conventions.

About Composition at ODU

Information about ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C will be presented, and students will be asked to draw upon their previous reflections to identify which course sequence they believe is the best fit for them and reflect on their choice.

Score Next Steps
1 Student is eligible to enroll in ENGL 101 (Composition Studio) + ENGL 110C (English Composition): co-enrollment
3

Student is eligible to enroll in ENGL 110C (English Composition)

Student has passed the initial assessment and met one of the prerequisites for the W-course in the major.

Within 72 hours of completing the tool, students will receive an e-mail in their ODU account with their score as well as detailed instructions for registration. In addition to this e-mail, students may access their score by logging back into wspt.odu.edu should they need to. Tool content, however, is not accessible upon completion.

How do I know if I need to use the WSPT?

If ODU Admissions has awarded you credit for ENGL 110C, then you do not need to use the WSPT. If you anticipate being awarded credit for ENGL 110C, please contact ODU Admissions to inquire about the timeline for that credit evaluation by e-mailing transfereval@odu.edu. If you do not know your credit evaluation status by at least 3 days prior to your scheduled orientation, then you should use the WSPT to receive a placement result. For more information about college credit eligibility, please visit: https://www.odu.edu/admission/undergraduate/credit

What is the Writing Success Placement Tool (WSPT)?

The WSPT measures students' writing and reading abilities and considers their previous learning experiences to determine which ODU English composition course sequence is the best fit for them. The WSPT uses a combination of high school GPA, performance on writing, reading, and grammar diagnostics, and self-assessment to make this determination. Anyone entering Old Dominion University without credit for ENGL 110C English Composition should use the WSPT.

Students who score a "1" will need to register for a section of ENGL 101 and its corresponding section of ENGL 110C (6 credit hours total). Those students who score a "3" will enroll directly into ENGL 110C (3 credit hours). Students will receive their score and directions for registration via email within 72 hours of completion.

The WSPT must be submitted at least 3 BUSINESS DAYS (Monday through Friday) prior to the start of your orientation. If you fail to meet this deadline, your placement data may not be updated in the system, which can affect your ability to register for courses. If you run into any issues, concerning writing placement, please e-mail writingplacement@odu.edu or contact the Director of Writing Support, Mary Beth Pennington at mpenning@odu.edu. Please check your ODU email thoroughly and wait at least 72 hours after using the WSPT before emailing to ask about your score.

How long will the WSPT take?

You are encouraged to take the WSPT when you can devote a couple of hours to reading and responding to questions, drafting and revising written responses, and answering the survey questions. Students who have completed the WSPT report that it takes an average of 75 minutes to complete. Of course some students take longer, and some finish more quickly.

What does the WSPT include?

The WSPT includes the following modules: Honor Pledge, Academic History, Writing Assessment, Reading Assessment, Grammar Assessment, and About Composition at ODU.

What is the time limit for taking the WSPT?

While the tool, itself, is not timed, students should not leave a section inactive for longer than 15-20 minutes, as it may cause the tool to time out, potentially losing previous work. Students who wish to take a break should complete the section in which they are working and close out the tool. When ready to return, they may log back in and pick up with the next section when they are ready.

Do I need to have anything prepared or with me when I do the WSPT?

You will need to know your high school GPA and the grade earned in your most recent English class, so you may find it helpful to have your high school transcripts close.

Do you have any tips?

We suggest that you draft your written responses in a document and copy and paste them into the WSPT so, if something goes wrong, you have a copy. Also, anything you write for this tool may be used in determining your placement. It is in your best interest to respond to questions with full sentences.

What if I have concerns with my score?

If you do not feel that the score you have received is an accurate representation of you as a writer, contact the Director of Writing Support, Mary Beth Pennington at writingplacement@odu.edu, and she will put you in contact with a writing advisor with whom you can discuss your score.

How will I gain access to the WSPT?

You will see a link to the WSPT in your admitted student checklist and/or your advisor will direct you to the link in your Canvas orientation site. The tool can also be accessed through wspt.odu.edu and the Writing Placement and Support website. Students will log-in with their Midas credentials. Please note that you will need to access and complete the WSPT at least 3 business days prior to your orientation session.

When does my access to the WSPT expire?

Once completed, previous responses cannot be accessed. However, students can log back in to the WSPT to be reminded of their score and to retrieve basic information about registration at any point.

What if I have taken an equivalent composition course at a different university?

If the ODU Admissions Office has not granted transferrable credit for ENGL 110C upon processing your official transcripts, please refer to the Transfer Course Equivalency tool to review how courses from your previous institution are accepted into ODU. After reviewing the Transfer Course Equivalency tool you may contact the Director of Composition, Jenn Sloggie at jsloggie@odu.edu. Please note that you should be prepared to present a syllabus from the previous composition course, as well as other supporting materials, to be reviewed by ODU for course equivalency.

How does Writing Support know whether I--not someone else--took my WSPT?

The WSPT may be one of the first opportunities an admitted student will have to uphold the ODU Honor Pledge. The WSPT is covered by ODU's honor code, so students must sign an honor pledge before beginning the process. Students who violate this pledge, even those who are newly admitted, are subject to university sanctions for honor violations. However, the most substantial consequence will be felt by the student. Accurate placement ensures that the student is provided the support and instruction needed to be successful in their writing courses and at ODU, in general. For example, if a student is placed into ENGL 110C before they are ready to succeed in the course, chances are much greater that the student will fail the course.

What if technical problems arise as I am taking the WSPT?

Please consult the Writing Placement and Support website for updates regarding the status of the WSPT if you are experiencing technical problems. If no updates exist on the website, please contact ODU's ITS help desk. Should ITS be unable to solve your problem, you may contact the Director of Writing Support, Dr. Mary Beth Pennington, at writingplacement@odu.edu.

May I reuse the WSPT to achieve a different score?

Students may only use the tool once. Since the WSPT uses a combination of factors to determine the best placement for students, it cannot be reused to achieve different results.





ENGL 101: Composition Studio (formerly UNIV 150)

Course Description

English 101 Composition Studio is an immersive study of writing, rhetoric, and composing concepts and strategies designed to complement and extend the English 110C curriculum. English 101 provides additional instruction, guided practice, and support as writers learn to successfully compose and revise in multiple genres for multiple purposes and audiences and navigate university literacy expectations.

  • 3 credits
  • Co-enrollment/ corequisite with ENGL 110C, which means that students take ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C at the same time.
  • Students who place into ENGL 101 will sign up for both courses through ENGL 101.

Prerequisite: A score of 1 on the Writing Success Placement Tool (WSPT) or an override from the Director of Writing Support.


Students who have scored a "1" on the WSPT will need to enroll in corequisite courses, ENGL 101+110C (6 credits). The paired ENGL 101+110C courses for the upcoming semester can be found here:

Fall 2022: ENGL 101+110C Paired Course Schedule

These course pairings are not available on LEO, so you must consult this schedule to find a unit of paired ENGL 101+110C sections that suits you. Register using the ENGL 101 CRN (course reference number), and when prompted enter the corresponding ENGL 110C CRN.

See instructions for enrolling in your selected section of ENGL 101 and its paired ENGL 110C section (PDF)

*Please note that if you do not have the corresponding ENGL 110C CRN when you attempt to register for ENGL 101 in LEO, you can simply enter a series of random numbers when prompted for the 110C CRN and an error message will pop up with the correct CRN.




Tips for ensuring you are prepared to register:

  • Log back into the WSPT: wspt.odu.edu where you can find your score, as well as a link to the paired schedule.
  • Save, print, or take a photo of the score e-mail you receive for later reference.
  • Find the ENGL 101+110C paired schedule here on the Writing Placement and Support website when you begin registration.

Curriculum

ENGL 101 follows an Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) Studio Curriculum that will include an individual writing plan with goals for each student that culminates in an ePortfolio, a live journal that provides them practice writing on a daily basis through prompts that connect them with the campus and resources therein, and a culminating project in which the class works together to compose a resource for the next cohort of students. The bulk of the remaining curriculum will be responsive to the real-time needs of the students in the class.

Benefits

Individualized Instruction

ENGL 101 is capped at 12 (while other general education writing courses are capped at 19), which means students have access to more individualized instruction and support from their instructor. Students have the same instructor for ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C, so students have the space and time to ask questions and for the instructor to expand upon concepts discussed in ENGL 110C.

Mainstreaming Model

The ENGL 101 course follows the model of "accelerated learning placement" or ALP, a form of placement developed at Community College, Baltimore County. Students who placed directly into ENGL 110C with a score of "3" on the WSPT are joined by a cohort of students who were placed into ENGL 101+110C with a score of "1" on the WSPT. Those students taking ENGL 101 then break out to a different class space to:

  • revisit concepts and assignments from their previous ENGL 110C class,
  • create a writing portfolio that emphasizes reflection and self-awareness as a writer, and
  • familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of university life.

The table below illustrates the structure of an ALP course. The figures in green represent those students who are co-enrolled in ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C.

Diagram illustrating structure of Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)

Since the ENGL 101 class meets right after ENGL 110C in most cases, students can ask additional questions or obtain additional instruction to help them better understand and apply concepts learned in ENGL 110C.

Research shows that students thrive when they can remain with their cohort and move more quickly into their major classes. Additionally, group work activities are more effective for ENGL 101 students when they have the opportunity to work with peers with more developed writing skills.

To learn more about the ALP model, please visit: "What is ALP?"

Adding ENGL 101

If a student who is placed directly into ENGL 110C without the ENGL 101 requirement feels that they need extra support to be successful in ENGL 110C and wants to enroll in ENGL 101, they should contact Mary Beth Pennington, the Director of Writing Support, at mpenning@odu.edu before the Add/Drop date for the semester has passed to see if they are eligible. Students who are not eligible or who seek additional writing support after the Add/Drop date should contact the Writing Center.

Dropping and Withdrawal from ENGL 101

Please note that because ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C are co-enrollment courses, once enrolled, students cannot drop or withdraw from one course without also dropping or withdrawing from the other. Should you find yourself needing to drop or withdraw from these courses, be sure to speak with your advisor right away to discuss how this might impact your scholarships, financial aid, and full-time status.

Grades in ENGL 101

Students who earn a D or higher in ENGL 101 will have earned a passing grade. They will earn three credits for the course, and their GPAs will be impacted accordingly. Students should keep in mind, however, that the co-enrollment course, ENGL 110C, must be passed with a C or higher in order to move on to the required 200-level composition course. There are also some classes that require a grade of C or better in ENGL 110C as a prerequisite to enrollment.

More information about grades in ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C:

  • Students who fail both ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C are required to retake ENGL 110C but are strongly recommended to retake ENGL 101.
  • Students who earn a passing grade in ENGL 101 but do not pass ENGL 110C with a C or better are required to retake ENGL 110C but are not required to retake ENGL 101.
  • Students who do not earn a passing grade in ENGL 101 but pass ENGL 110C with a C or better are not required to retake ENGL 101 but can opt to retake the course to improve their GPA.

The university will offer a standalone, permission only section of ENGL 101 about once per year or as needed for students who wish to retake ENGL 101. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the Director of Writing Support, Mary Beth Pennington at mpenning@odu.edu, so she can help you best choose when to take the course. It is strongly suggested that students who plan to retake the course do so the same semester they are taking a writing intensive course, such as ENGL 211C, 221C, or 231C or a writing-intensive course in their major.

Is ENGL 101 the equivalent of UNIV 150?

Yes and no. While ENGL 101 is replacing UNIV 150 as the course in which those students with a score of "1" on the WSPT must enroll, the course itself, as well as the process for registering and taking ENGL 101 are much different than UNIV 150.

What happens if I have failed UNIV 150?

Starting in Spring 2020, those students who have failed UNIV 150 can retake the WSPT to see if they place differently, or they can automatically enroll in ENGL 101 +110C.

Can a student take ENGL 101 online and ENGL 110C on-site/face-to-face (or vice versa)?

ENGL 101+110C courses share the same delivery type. If your ENGL 101 course is face-to-face, your ENGL 110C course will be face-to-face, also. If your ENGL 101 course is delivered as online synchronous, your ENGL 110C course will either be online synchronous or online asynchronous.

What do I do if I have failed 101 but not 110C?

Students who pass 110C with a "C" but who fail the connected ENGL 101 (by earning lower than a D) do not need to retake ENGL 101, although retaking 101 is encouraged. Students who wish to retake only ENGL 101 should contact Dr. Mary Beth Pennington at writingplacement@odu.edu or mpenning@odu.edu to discuss registration options. Please review the "ENGL 101 Policies" tab above for further clarification.

What do I do if I have failed 110C but not 101?

Students who pass 101 but do not pass 110C with a "C" of above should contact the instructor on record for the 110C section they wish to re-enroll in to request a "pre-requisite override." They are not required to retake ENGL 101. Students may also contact Dr. Mary Beth Pennington at writingplacement@odu.edu or mpenning@odu.edu to discuss registration options. Please review the "ENGL 101 Policies" tab above for further clarification

What do I do if I have failed both ENGL 101 and ENGL 110C?

Students who fail both ENGL 101 (by earning a D- or lower) and ENGL 110C (by earning a C- or lower) are required to retake ENGL 110C and are strongly recommended, but not required, to retake ENGL 101.

Does it matter which section of 101 and 110C I register for?

Yes, it matters. Students who score a "1" on the WSPT must use the paired schedule to find linked 101 and 110C courses and must enroll in a pairing. Because each 101+110C pairing has a single instructor, students need to be sure they are signing up for the correctly paired courses. The CRN for the 110C section for "1" students is hidden, cannot be found on LEO, and is only available on the paired schedule.

Do I have to sign up for both 101 and 110C?

If you score a "1" on the WSPT, you are required to take 6 total credits hours (101+110C) the same semester. You must sign up for a selected pair of courses, and you will receive an error message if you attempt to sign up for one course without the designated other. Students who do not properly enroll will be notified and dropped from their courses.