Writing Assessment and Writing Portfolio

1. What is the Junior Writing Portfolio?

The Junior Writing Portfolio (JWP) is a mid-career diagnostic to determine if students' writing abilities have advanced in ways that can handle the writing demands of upper-division courses and courses in their major. Successful completion of the Junior Writing Portfolio during the junior year is a requirement for graduation at Washington State University. The Writing Portfolio identifies students who demonstrate a need for structured writing support with upper-division writing requirements, and recognizes the standard of writing expected of all WSU graduates. There are two components of the Junior Writing Portfolio: the Timed Writing (an impromptu timed writing essay that students sign up for through the WSU Vancouver Writing Assessment Office) and a Packet (three samples of writing that the student has already completed).

2. When do Vancouver students need to have the Writing Portfolio completed?

The Junior Writing Portfolio is a mid-career assessment. Ideally students submit their completed Junior Writing Portfolio once they reach 60 credits—somewhere around their junior year. If students are not prepared to do so, they have the option of completing one component (the Timed Writing or the Packet) at 60 credits and submitting the remaining component early the following semester. For example, a student who accumulates 60 credits in the fall could take the Timed Writing in the fall and submit her/his Packet in the spring. Writing Assessment registration holds are placed on student accounts once they accumulate 60 credits. If students complete the Junior Writing Portfolio in its entirety, the hold is removed. If students complete one component of the JWP at that time, the hold will be removed for that semester. However, the hold will be reinstated the next semester and will not be removed until the student completes the second and final component.

3. How many papers do they need to collect?

Students are required to submit three papers.

4. Do they have to be WSU papers?

While we encourage students to include WSU papers, the papers can come from any accredited institution or the student’s workplace.

5. How long do Writing Portfolio papers need to be?

There are no length requirements or suggestions for the papers included in students’ packets. Instead, we ask students to focus on the quality of the work they are submitting, including papers from across the disciplines if possible.

6. If a student asks me to sign off on one of the papers that s/he wrote in my class, do I have to agree? What if I think the paper is of poor quality?

Instructors are not required to sign off on papers. If an instructor feels a paper is not appropriate for submission to the Junior Writing Portfolio, s/he has the right to tell the student the submission is not acceptable. However, we encourage instructors to keep in mind that selecting and including academic writing is part of the Portfolio process. If an instructor is unsure about signing off on a paper, s/he is encouraged to contact the Director of Composition at 360-546-9513 to discuss the paper.

7. What is the Timed Writing and when/where do students complete it?

The Timed Writing is a two-part impromptu essay, one component of the Junior Writing Portfolio. Students should complete the Timed Writing once they accumulate 60 credits. A monthly schedule and sign-up form is available on the WSU Vancouver Writing Assessment website.

8. How does the Writing Portfolio differ from Writing Assessment?

The Junior Writing Portfolio is a mid-career writing diagnostic. Successful completion of the JWP during the junior year is a requirement for graduation at Washington State University. The WSU Vancouver Writing Assessment Office is the administrative structure that houses both the Junior Writing Portfolio and Writing Placement Exam, the latter of which is a writing diagnostic used to place students into our first-year writing courses.

9. If a student is struggling with writing, should I send them to the Writing Center or to Writing Assessment for evaluation?

Students who need help with writing assignments for course assignments should be directed to the Writing Center.

10. The Writing Assessment Office administers and processes the Junior Writing Portfolio and the Writing Placement for first-year composition courses. The office helps students sign up for Writing Placement Exams and Timed Writings. The Writing Assessment Office also answers questions about, and advises regarding compiling Junior Writing Portfolios.

If students want advice on selecting composition courses, including the handful of supplemental writing courses offered at WSU Vancouver (including English 102, English 202, and U Coll 302), please direct them to the Director of Composition, 360-546-9513.