FAQs | First-Year Composition Courses

What is the composition requirement?

English 101 and 102, or one of the versions of these classes described in this section, are required for graduation. Students must earn a grade of "C" or better to fulfill the graduation requirement.

Can I test out of English 101 and 102?

No, you cannot test out of ENG 101 and 102. However, partial credit can be earned by certain scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests. Please visit the Transfer Credit Guide to search credit by exam.

What course do I take during my first semester?

Some students, depending on their ACT English or SAT Verbal scores, must enroll in WAC 101 in the first semester and English 101 in the following semester. Other students may qualify for English 105.

First Semester Placement based on ACT and SAT scores.

Placement Exam

Score

Course

SAT Verbal 

460 or below

WAC 101 or WAC 107

SAT Read/Write

Effective March 2016

510 or below

WAC 101 or WAC 107

ACT English

18 or below

WAC 101 or WAC 107

Accuplacer score

4 or below (8 point system, effective Fall 2009)/7 or below (12 point system prior to Fall 2009)

WAC 101 or WAC 107

TOEFL

below 560PBT/220CBT/83iBT

WAC 101 or WAC 107

IELTS

below 6.5

WAC 101 or WAC 107

PTEA

below 56

WAC 101 or WAC 107

SAT Verbal 

470-610

ENG 101 or ENG 107

SAT Read/Write

Effective March 2016

520-650

ENG 101 or ENG 107

ACT English

19-25

ENG 101 or ENG 107

Accuplacer score

5, 6 or 7 (8 point system, effective Fall 2009)/8, 9, or 10 (12 point system prior to Fall 2009)

ENG 101 or ENG 107

TOEFL

560PBT/220CBT/83iBT or above

ENG 101 or ENG 107

IELTS

6.5 or above

ENG 101 or ENG 107

PTEA

56 or above

ENG 101 or ENG 107

SAT Verbal

620 or above

ENG 105

ACT English

26 or above

ENG 105

SAT Read/Write

Effective March 2016

660 or above

ENG 105

Accuplacer score

8 (8 point system, effective Fall 2009)/11 or above (12 point system prior to Fall 2009)

ENG 105

 The ACCUPLACER is used as a placement test for first-year English composition courses. Admitted students who have not had SAT, ACT, or TOEFL scores reported to ASU may take the placement test once through the University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness, https://uoeee.asu.edu/testing, telephone: 965-7146.

Additional information about the English Placement Test can be found at their website: 

What if I have not taken the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL?

All students must have a qualifying test score in order to enroll in first-year composition courses. Admitted students who have not had SAT, ACT, or TOEFL scores reported to ASU may take the placement test once through the Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness, https://uoeee.asu.edu/testing, telephone: 965-7146. ASU uses the ACCUPLACER as a placement test for first-year composition courses.

What is English 105?

English 105 is a one-semester course that practices the various ways of reading and writing that are studied in English 101 as well as the research and argumentation strategies that are studied in English 102. The pace is faster so the workload is heavier.

You may qualify for placement into English 105 by:           

  • an ACT score of 26 or more.
  • an SAT score of 660 or more  (620 or more if taken before 2016).
  • Either of these two CLEP test scores:

1. English Composition with essay -- the General Examination. 
a score of 610/1978 scale or 500/1986 scale or more.

2. Freshman College Composition -- the Subject Examination.
a score of 50 or more.

What is WAC 101/English 101 and why should I take it?

WAC 101/English 101 is a two-semester, six-credit-hour sequence which "stretches" the English 101 course over two semesters. Students are enrolled in WAC 101 the first semester and continue into English 101 the second semester with the same instructor. In these classes, students who have little academic writing experience will get the opportunity to develop effective academic writing and reading strategies which will be useful in many university classes.

Stretch is an award winning program (stretchaward.pdf) developed by Arizona State University’s Writing Programs Teachers and Administrators to help basic writing students get more time and experience constructing full-length, college-level writing assignments to be successful in college.  Students are placed in Stretch based on scores they earned on the SAT or ACT.
 
The Stretch Program "stretches" ENG 101 over two semesters, to give more time to those students who may not have a lot of experience with "academic," college-level writing. We see our basic writers as those who are capable of writing full, complete, and thoughtful papers, but who also might need more time for revision, group peer review, conferences with their instructors, and so on.  These students, then, do the same readings and write the same papers as all ENG 101 students . . . only the class moves at a slightly slower pace.

What is WAC 107/English 107 and why should I take it?

WAC 107/English 107 is a two-semester, six-credit-hour sequence which "stretches" the English 107 course over two semesters. Students are enrolled in WAC 107 the first semester and continue into English 107 the second semester with the same instructor. In these classes, students who have little writing experience in English will get the opportunity to develop effective academic writing and reading strategies.

Please note: sometimes students who can speak and write perfectly well in English are misplaced into WAC 107. If you feel that perhaps you have been misplaced and really belong in WAC 101, please contact the Writing Programs Office.

Will I be behind if I take Stretch?  Will it delay my graduation?

No.  Students get three hours of elective credit for WAC 101 that counts toward graduation at ASU, so students are not held back or slowed down--instead, they have three semesters of writing (WAC 101 + ENG 101 + ENG 102), which will help in all their classes.
 
What courses do I need to take if I transfer to ASU from another school?
 
All students are required to take English 101 and 102, or the equivalent, and pass with a “C” to earn a degree at ASU.  More information about transferring to ASU.

Are there any awards, publications, or honors I might be eligible for through Writing Programs?

Absolutely.  Each year Writing Programs hosts The Printer’s Devil contest which recognizes outstanding essays from composition students at Arizona State University. The contest is open to all composition students, i.e., students who have completed or are currently enrolled in one of the following classes during the current school year: ENG 101, 102, 105, 107, 108, 215, 216, 217, 218.

What is the policy for adding or dropping a Writing Programs course?

The process of adding and dropping Writing Programs courses is the same as adding and dropping any ASU course.  However, Writing Programs does have a policy against late adds after drop/add has ended. You can enroll through MyASU after your registration date becomes available and drop through MyASU any time during the drop/add period.  After the drop/add period has ended, students may withdraw (with a grade of “W”).

Course Withdrawal Deadlines

The drop/withdrawal deadlines listed on the Academic Calendar apply to classes scheduled in the regular 16-week term.  If your class is scheduled in a session that is less than 16 weeks, the deadlines are prorated.  The best way to determine the registration deadlines for a class you are registered for is to sign into My ASU and click on the calendar icon next to the class in your My Classes box.

May I get an override to enroll in a closed section?

No.  Writing Programs courses have strict enrollment caps to maintain the effectiveness of instruction which depends largely upon the instructor's ability to respond frequently to the writing of each student. 

What is the attendance policy?

Writing Programs maintains and expects teachers to enforce the following attendance policy: A student who exceeds 6 absences in a class meeting MWF or 4 absences in a class meeting TTH will fail the course. Attendance policy for Hybrid and Online courses below.
  • Hybrid classes: In the case of hybrid course that meets twice a week, a student who misses more than four classes -- either face-to-face, online, or a combination -- will fail the course with a grade of E.
  • Online classes: More than four absences will result in failure.
  • Definition of attendance in online classes: The instructor will define attendance in the syllabus. Generally, a student who fails to post an assignment to the class website during the assigned "window" of time will be counted absent for that class day.
  • Technical problems online: While these do occur either at home or from an on-campus connection, they are usually not valid reasons for failing to fulfill the requirements for attendance on that day. Students are responsible for allocating enough time to complete online assignments, and they should include the possibility of technical "glitches." Thus students need to allow enough time to try again later or to travel to a campus computer lab or alternative place to complete the assignment and therefore avoid an absence for the day.
  • Exceptions may be made by the instructor in the event of widespread computer viruses or some other large-scale event affecting ASU's computer network, but exceptions will not be made for routine computer problems.

What if I have to miss the first week of school?

According to university policy, students who are registered but do not attend any of the first week of classes may be dropped (see below).  Students enrolled in hybrid/online courses must make every reasonable attempt to attend class or contact the instructor during the first week.  After the first week those who do not show up either in person or by calling or e-mailing the instructor may be dropped.

What is an instructor initiated drop?

Instructors are encouraged to drop students who miss the entire first week of classes.  Because it is initiated by the teacher, it's called an "instructor initiated drop."

What are the policies about submitting work, grading, and classroom expectations?

While Writing Programs has provided teachers with some standard policies that appear in all Writing Programs course syllabi, individual teachers are responsible for setting and implementing classroom policies, including grading policies (i.e., how assignments are weighted, whether to use +/- grades, etc.), behavior policies (i.e., technology in class, tardiness, etc.), and course policies (i.e., participation procedures, assignment sequences, etc.).  If have questions or concerns about classroom policies, your teacher is your first point of contact. 
 
If you have questions or concerns about course policies, grading policies, or behavior policies that cannot be addressed by your teacher, please contact someone in the Writing Programs office (LL314). Office staff may ask you to complete a brief form detailing your concerns. A Writing programs administrator will then contact you to discuss the matter. If necessary, you may set up an appointment to discuss the matter further.

Can I dispute a grade that I received?

If, after the semester is over, you feel you have been awarded an incorrect final course grade, you should first discuss it with your teacher. If you would like to pursue the appeal after that, you may submit to the Writing Programs administration a packet containing:

  • a letter with a full and detailed explanation of your grievance
  • your name, student ID number, and contact information (e-mail address and phone number)
  • copies of the course syllabus
  • the assignment sheets
  • all graded work with teacher’s comments
  • any other documents you feel substantiate the appeal

The Writing Programs Grievance Committee will review your materials, investigate your claims, and inform you in writing of their decision. During the investigation, the committee may also contact you for follow-up questions or additional materials.

Please submit your packet to the Associate Director of Writing Programs, Dr. Adelheid Thieme, as a hard copy or email it to her as a single PDF file. Her office is Ross-Blakley Hall 123, and her email address is thieme@asu.edu.

What is plagiarism? I hear a lot of talk about it, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

The general definition of plagiarism is “knowingly presenting someone else’s language or ideas as one’s own.” Plagiarism can take several different forms:
  • Using all or part of another writer's work word-for-word without quotation marks and proper acknowledgment.
  • Closely paraphrasing or summarizing another writer's work without acknowledgment.
  • Using original ideas expressed by another, in writing or in speech, without acknowledgment.
  • Copying another student's composition or allowing another student to copy one's own composition.  This includes copying a paper from an online source—copying a paper written by someone else—in part or whole—does constitute plagiarism, regardless of the source.
  • Submitting a composition significantly revised by another person.
  • Submitting as one's own work a paper written by another student or supplied by a professional paper-writing company.
  • And, at ASU, turning in a paper that you wrote in one class for credit in another.

How do I avoid plagiarizing?

You must acknowledge the source of all material in your essays. This is done by systems of documentation, such as MLA and APA. If you have any doubt, you should credit the source or sources, even if the source is a roommate or parent. When in doubt about specific cases, you should ask the course instructor.
 
If you are having trouble writing an essay, visit with your teacher during office hours and visit the Writing Center or the Learning Resource Center.

I am worried that I might accidentally plagiarize.  What will happen if I do?

ASU and Writing Programs take plagiarism very seriously.  In accordance with policies stated in the Student Code of Conduct, Writing Programs will not excuse, condone, or ignore plagiarism. Offenders may receive severe penalties, including 1) immediate failure for the assignment, 2) immediate failure in the course, 3) immediate failure in the course with a grade of XE, 4) referral to the Student Conduct Committee of the University, and 5) possible expulsion from the University.
 
At the same time, we recognize that plagiarism is a new concept for many students, and it can be challenging to learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.  Therefore, if you are at all concerned that work you’re doing might be plagiarized, talk to your instructor before turning the assignment in.  If you are nervous about meeting with the instructor, make an appointment to see a writing tutor at one of the on-campus Writing Centers.  Whatever you do, get help before you turn in an assignment so that you never have to worry about potential penalties.

Who teaches in Writing Programs?

Writing Programs courses are taught by well-qualified, dedicated teachers including full-time faculty members, full-time instructors, part-time faculty, and graduate students from the English department.  Writing Programs staffs every course with teachers who have demonstrated their ability to teach effectively.  Furthermore, in conjunction with the English department, Writing Programs provides multiple opportunities for all levels of instructors to access training workshops and implements annual assessments to make sure that students are getting the highest quality instructors. 

My parents want to know how I’m doing in my writing class.  Can they contact my instructor?

Student information is protected by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment.
 
By policy, Writing Programs teachers are not allowed to discuss student's academic performance with or release any information about student's academic records to others, including parents.
 
Students can access their academic records via http://my.asu.edu/, and share the information with their parents.
 
For more information on FERPA, please visit: http://students.asu.edu/policies/ferpa/ or visit the FERPA FAQs at http://students.asu.edu/faq/94

I have other questions.  Who should I contact?

If you have further questions, you should contact the Writing Programs - 480-965-3853 or writingprograms@asu.edu.