Second Writing Competency II deadline fast approaching

by Allison UllmannStaff Writer

The senior class of 2006 experienced some problems with the Writing Competency II portfolio, and Simpson hopes to avoid such problems this year.

Before a senior can graduate, he or she must turn in a portfolio of writing to complete the WC II. The next deadline is Nov. 13.

“We want students coming out of Simpson to have good writing skills,” said Kara May, assistant director of Hawley Academic Resource Center. “This process is a good assessment of students’ writing skills.”

There are many requirements for the portfolio, but the key criteria are that all of the papers must have been written after English 102 was completed, and the portfolio must contain four papers from at least two different departments.

One paper must be from the student’s major and one must demonstrate source documentation. The papers must be at least 500 words in length, and one paper must be at least 1500 words. A reflective essay about why certain pieces were chosen for the portfolio is also required.

All of the requirements for the portfolio are checked as the portfolio is submitted to the Hawley Academic Resource Center.

After the portfolios are turned in, they are reviewed by a panel of evaluators, which are made up of two readers from each of the five divisions on campus. Sixty-two portfolios were turned in Sept. 25, and each reader read approximately nine portfolios. If the reader gives the portfolio a non-passing grade, then it goes to a second reader and possibly a third.

“I stressed out about it more than I should have,” senior Breanna Byers said. “The likelihood of not passing is pretty low and it’s not that hard to put together.”

According to Todd Little, assistant dean of student academic achievement and director of Hawley Academic Resource Center, there’s a high pass rate for the portfolios. Last year, 98 percent passed compared with the usual rate of 95 percent.

“We encourage students that graduate in May to submit [their portfolios] earlier rather than later,” Little said.

There are four deadline dates for students to turn in their portfolios. Two deadlines are in the fall, Sept. 25 and Nov. 13, along with two in the spring, Feb. 5 and March 26. The four deadlines are in order to give students plenty of time to get their portfolios put together.

“As a tutor, I’m familiar with the WCII process, so I think I was less concerned with turning it in right away,” senior Danielle Farrel said.

It is requested that seniors who plan to graduate in May to turn in their portfolios this upcoming deadline, if they have not all ready.

“I would encourage any students with questions about the process to come to Hawley and ask,” Little said.