Graduating seniors behind in WCII portfolios

by Matt Bower

More than 170 seniors have not completed their Writing Competency II portfolios and the final deadline, March 27, is quickly approaching.

Students at Simpson are required to pass two writing competencies to graduate. The first is fulfilled by most students when they take English 102, but the second is a portfolio that students turn in to the Hawley Academic Resource Center for evaluation.

According to Director of Hawley Todd Little, about 450 seniors should be graduating in May, but this senior class is running behind.

“In my opinion, we’re behind where we need to be,” Little said. “Historically we have processed more [portfolios] by this time of the academic year.”

Little said Hawley is willing to work with students if needed.

“If any students are unable to meet the deadline due to unusual circumstances, we will work with them the best we can to help them progress toward graduation,” Little said. “We encourage students to talk to us regarding any questions they may have about the Writing Competency II process.”

However, Little cautioned students about the consequences of not meeting the requirements.

“Students need to realize if they don’t meet the requirements of the Writing Competency II portfolio, it can jeopardize their graduation,” Little said.

According to Little, in the past about 90 percent of portfolios are passed, and this year it’s closer to 95 percent. Despite that success rate, he said there have been cases where students do not pass and therefore aren’t able to graduate.

Senior Matt Rauch is one of many who have not completed the WCII requirement for graduation.

“I haven’t done it yet because I really didn’t know what it was until senior year and I had other commitments to take care of,” Rauch said.

Rauch, an education major, transferred to Simpson as a sophomore. Although he had heard about the requirement, he said he didn’t learn the details until he talked to his roommate.

“I was talking to my roommate about what he had to do and he explained what the requirements were,” Rauch said.

Senior Nana Afriyie has completed his portfolio and said asking questions is a good way to learn about the requirements.

“I heard about it through my adviser and I heard students talk about it,” Afriyie said. “I was well-informed because I asked [my advisor] a lot of questions and he made it clear to me.”

Afriyie said he thinks many students are aware of the WCII requirement, but most don’t do anything about it until the last minute.

One reason that may account for this is students not seeing the value or importance in such a requirement.

“It seems silly to me to hand in papers that have already been graded because I’ve already got credit for them,” Rauch said. “I can see why they have it, but I don’t think it needs to be there and it’s a lot of extra work.”

Rauch said he sees it as more important for students who will be using writing in their careers.

Afriyie, an economics major, said he thinks the process is important.

“I think the process is great, but it would be unfortunate if a senior didn’t pass because they waited to the last minute,” Afriyie said. “I think Hawley is helpful because you can take your papers there and have them look at it beforehand.”

Afriyie said he had good advice from seniors when he was a sophomore. They told him not to throw away any of his papers, and he wants to pass along that same advice for future graduates.

“Don’t throw away any papers, make sure to save them so you have a back-up copy and be sure to turn in [your portfolio] as early as possible,” Afriyie said.