WCII misunderstood by many students

by Rob Stewart

Simpson students ought to be saving their academic papers. Notto proudly hang on the refrigerator, but to graduate.

Of the requirements Simpson College demands its studentscomplete, the Writing Competency II portfolio is one of the mostdreaded.

According to Todd Little, director of the Hawley AcademicResource Center, a common complaint from students is that theydon’t understand why they have to complete the portfolio.

Students defend themselves by saying information about WCII isnot provided in a timely manner.

“I don’t think that they let us know about it soon enough,”sophomore Tia Nearmyer said. “My freshman year I threw away aperfectly good paper.”

Professor of English Todd Lieber explained the reasoning behindthe submission of the portfolio. He said it was “to ensure a baselevel of competency in freshmen and then maintain and build on thatcompetency in subsequent years.”

To judge whether a student’s writing is competent, Simpsonfaculty read and evaluate the papers using a rubric.

According to both Little and Lieber about 90 percent of studentspass the portfolio requirement on their first attempt.

Regardless of the how long it has been since the WCIIrequirement was established, it still encounters problems everyyear.

“From a submission standpoint, an increasing number of studentswait until the final semester before graduation to submit,” saidMichelle Yeoman, assistant to the director of Hawley AcademicResource Center.

Yeoman said there were a variety of other reasons studentsstruggle with the WCII requirement. She said some students don’tpick up final papers from their professors. Others choose not torevise a paper even when their professor has listed specificsuggestions about what can be done to use it in their WCIIportfolio.

The Hawley Center sends out e-mail reminders to students andposts fliers listing all the requirements. Students can also getany information they need about WCII from the Simpson Web site.