Information for Incoming Students
The UC San Diego Basic Writing Program is undergoing significant changes in order to prepare students for the challenges of writing at the university level. These changes include a code change—from SDCC to ELWR—as well as several curricular and policy changes that incoming students should know about. Please read through this page carefully so that you will understand the policies and protocols that will be in place in the program in Fall 2016.
What is the Entry Level Writing Requirement, and how do I meet it?
The University of California requires all undergraduate students to demonstrate a minimum proficiency in English composition through the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR). There are several ways to meet the requirement. If you don’t meet these requirements, you must take the Analytical Writing Placement Exam (AWPE). For more information on what that exam is, when it is offered, and how to sign up for it, see our AWPE information and visit the AWPE website.
What happens if I don’t pass the AWPE?
If you do not pass the AWPE, you are instructed to enroll immediately in ELWR 1. You must enroll in your ELWR 1 course during your first quarter of residence at UCSD. Be sure to enroll before classes have met for the second time. If you miss this enrollment, you will have wasted one of three quarters in which to fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement.
If you receive an “e” designation with your AWPE score, you are instructed to enroll immediately in ELWR 2A. ELWR 2A is the first of a two-quarter course designed to offer students whose first language is not English the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and writing abilities. Students who enroll in ELWR 2A are required to enroll in ELWR 2B in the subsequent quarter.
What is the stretch course (ELWR 2A-2B), and why was I placed there?
The stretch course (ELWR 2A and 2B) is a two-quarter course for ELL (English Language Learner) students who would benefit from the additional practice and feedback that two quarters of instruction allows. Students enrolled in ELWR 2A will receive a grade of IP (in Progress) at the end of the quarter and must take ELWR 2B the following quarter, with the same instructor. At the end of ELWR 2B, students will submit their portfolio for evaluation. If the portfolio demonstrates readiness for College Writing, the student will pass directly to College Writing. If the portfolio does not demonstrate readiness for College Writing, the student will enroll in ELWR 1 the following term. Students will not be able to repeat the 2A-2B sequence.
How many quarters do I have in order to fulfill the ELWR?
If you are placed in ELWR 1, you have three consecutive quarters to fulfill your ELWR, with fall term counted as quarter number one. You may also take ELWR 1 in Summer Session. Summer Session does not count as one of your three quarters in fulfilling the ELWR.
If you are an ELL student, you may be placed in ELWR 2A-2B. You will take this course once. After completing this course, if you do not produce a passing portfolio, you will have up to three consecutive quarters of ELWR 1 in which to fulfill the Entry Level Writing Requirement. You may also enroll in ELWR 1S in Summer Session. Summer Session does not count as one of your three quarters in fulfilling the ELWR.
How do I enroll in my Basic Writing Course?
I’ve heard that you need to pass an exit exam before you can pass on to College Writing. Is that the case?
No. In Fall 2015, the university eliminated the exit exam and replaced it with a culminating portfolio. The portfolio, which includes several pieces of writing, is assessed by the student’s instructor and at least one other reader. For more information on the portfolios, visit our page on portfolio requirements. If the portfolio demonstrates that the student is ready for college writing, the student will move on. If not, a student will enroll in an additional quarter of ELWR.
If I don’t agree with the outcome regarding my AWPE or my portfolio, can I appeal?
No. AWPE results cannot be appealed. Portfolios also cannot be appealed except in the rare case that a student has been discriminated against. Please see our policy on appeals.
For further information about the Basic Writing Program, please contact Grace Aspiras.