Challenging English 102
Occasionally, a student will have had instructional experiences in postsecondary settings in which they have written papers similar to what is required in English 102, and for some reason the course(s) have not transferred in for credit for English 102. The University of Idaho allows these students to challenge English 102 via Petition for Advanced Credit Exam (also known as the Challenge Exam).
Before you proceed with this lengthy and complicated process, you’re encouraged to investigate the U of I Registrar’s Transfer Credit process. You can check the U of I Course Transfer Guides to see if your course(s) would already satisfy English 102. If your course(s) are not on the current transfer guides, you can submit previous course syllabi to the U of I Registrar for review.
English 102 Challenge Process
There is a two part process to challenge English 102.
- First, submit a letter of application and a writing portfolio with a collection of college-level writing that demonstrates how you have met the outcomes for English 102. Your writing portfolio application will be assessed on how well you argue that your writing samples demonstrate mastery of English 102 outcomes and qualify you to take the English 102 Challenge Exam.
- Second, if your application to take the Challenge Exam is approved, you will be scheduled to complete the two-hour written Challenge Exam. You will be given short passages to read on a specific topic, and you will be asked to synthesize the arguments and write a response analyzing the selections. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher.
Be aware that you cannot:
- Be enrolled in English 102 at the time you challenge the course.
- Use papers you have written or are writing for English 102 to challenge this class.
- Apply to take the Challenge Exam if you have taken an upper-division course that listed English 102 as a prerequisite.
- Submit papers written for high school for the English 102 writing portfolio application.
Part I: Writing Portfolio Application
To submit an application to challenge English 102, compile a writing portfolio that meets the following requirements:
- Select three or four college-level, extended argumentative papers that use multiple outside sources and follow the conventions for scholarly writing of a recognized professional body (i.e., MLA or the APA). These papers should demonstrate proficiency of the learning outcomes for English 102 (see below). Ideally, it’s best if you can turn in work that contains the comments and/or grades from the original instructors.
- Write a formal letter that argues how your writing samples demonstrate proficiency in the learning outcomes for English 102, and how these writing samples qualify you take the Challenge Exam. Successful application letters will articulate specific instances in the course papers in which the English 102 outcomes are demonstrated.
- Send your completed writing portfolio application as one Microsoft Word or PDF document to Barbara Kirchmeier, Acting Director of First-Year Composition, Director of Composition.
- English Department faculty will evaluate your writing portfolio to determine if you qualify to take the Challenge Exam. You will be notified via email of this decision.
University of Idaho English 102 Learning Outcomes
- Accurately assess and effectively respond to a wide variety of audiences and rhetorical situations.
- Comprehend college-level and professional prose and analyze how authors present their ideas in view of their probable purposes, audiences and occasions.
- Present ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of others (including the ability to paraphrase, summarize and correctly cite and document borrowed material).
- Focus on, articulate and sustain a purpose that meets the needs of specific writing situations.
- Explicitly articulate why they are writing, who they are writing for and what they are saying.
- Write critical analyses and syntheses of college-level and professional prose.
- Make connections between questions and problems in life both within and outside of college.
- Gather and evaluate information and use it for a rhetorical purpose in writing a research paper.
- Attend to and productively incorporate a variety of perspectives.
- Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing and proofreading.
- Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work.
- Give and receive constructive feedback from peers. Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation and practice appropriate means of documenting their work.
- Locate, evaluate, organize and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources.
Part II: English 102 Challenge Exam
If your writing portfolio qualifies you to take the Challenge Exam, do the following steps:
- Go to the Registrar’s Office to get the form, Petition for Advanced Credit (Challenge) Exam.
- Bring this petition to Barbara Kirchmeier, Acting Director of First-Year Composition, who will sign it and get the signature of the English department chair.
- Take this petition to your own college office and get the approval and signature of your dean (or his or her designee).
- Go to the cashier’s window at Business and Accounting Services and pay a $35 fee. They will stamp the petition.
- Return the completed form to the Registrar’s Office. Once you have completed this step, the Registrar’s Office will notify Barbara Kirchmeier via email that you have approval to complete the Challenge Exam.
- At this point, you will be scheduled to write an exam in a controlled setting. You will be given short passages to read on a specific topic, and you will be asked to synthesize the arguments and write a response analyzing the selections. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher. If the English Department faculty judge this essay to be at a level of C or higher, you will receive credit for English 102. Please note: the U of I Registrar does not allow the Challenge Exam to be scheduled during dead week — the week before final exams.
- If your exam passes, you must pay for the English 102 credits; currently the charge is $25 per credit, so the total for this three-credit course is $75. The entire process will cost $110 if you are successful. The grade will appear on your transcript as a P (it has no effect on your GPA).