What’s Involved in Writing the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay?

We understand that standardized test scores don’t always fully reflect your scholastic abilities and motivation for success.  That is why we offer the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay, which offers you the chance  to place directly into CO150: College Composition rather than taking CO130: Academic Writing, or the opportunity to “test out” of CO150: College Composition.

Writing the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay is appropriate when:

  • You have been placed into CO150 and believe that your writing skills are exceptional and exceed the expected outcomes for CO150.
  • You have been placed into CO150 and believe that you have fulfilled the requirement through transfer courses that have not been approved by the University.

If you have been automatically placed into CO150, the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay is designed to demonstrate that you are a superb writer who exhibits sophisticated critical thinking skills and has an extraordinary writing style.

Writing the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay is appropriate when:

If you have been automatically placed into CO130: Academic Writing, we encourage you to write the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay if:

  • You believe you have the writing skills and motivation necessary to successfully complete CO150.
  • You would like to avoid taking CO130 because, as an elective credit course, it does not fulfill the AUCC requirements necessary for graduation.
  • You are a transfer student who has been admitted to CSU without standardized test scores. (Note: The majority of transfer students place into CO150 upon writing the Placement Essay, which means they are not required to take CO130.

 

When can I write the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay?

If you choose to write the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay, you must do so before you enroll in CO150. The Placement Essay is proctored and available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Go to http://compexam.colostate.edu.  

After you register for the online proctoring program (see below) you will have 90 minutes to:

  1. Read a designated article on a debatable topic.
  2. Summarize its main ideas in an organized and detailed essay.
  3. Explain why you agree and/or disagree with the central claims of the article.
  4. Support your position with references to and analysis of the article, as well as illustrations from your (or others’) personal experiences.

You will be asked to type and save your essay in your own file on your own computer.  Once you have completed your essay, you will copy and paste your essay in the online Composition Placement “Essay” text box.  Be sure to use Times New Roman 12-point font for your essay.

Why is the online Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay proctored and how do I register for the proctoring program?

Because CSU values academic integrity, the Composition Placement Essay is proctored to ensure legitimate authorship.  The proctoring program, Software Secure, uses three methods to confirm academic honesty: during the essay time, it records conversations/interactions, produces a video version of the author while writing, and takes screen shots of the writers’ work to ensure no documents are downloaded from other sources.

Software Secure Proctoring Program Support for Students:  Should you encounter any difficulties with the online proctoring program, please call 1-855-436-2039 or go to http://clientportal.softwaresecure.com/support/ for technical assistance.

Follow these instructions to take  the proctored online Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay:

  1. Ensure that you have the required equipment and materials to take the proctored online Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay:
  2. A computer with a web camera and a microphone.  (If you do not have a personal computer with these features, please see the list of CSU computer labs which can accommodate your needs, below.)
    b. A picture ID (Driver’s License, Government-Issued ID, Passport, or CSU Student ID).
    c. A major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card) or Pay Pal account to pay the $15.00 proctoring charge.
  3. If you choose to write the Placement Essay, go to http://compexam.colostate.edu.  Click on the link, “Students can take the proctored online essay,” in the “Current Essay Prompt” box at the top right.
  4. You will be taken to Software Secure’s Proctoring website where you will pay the $15 proctoring charge with your credit card or Pay Pal account.
    b. Software Secure will then determine if you have the appropriate equipment and will review your ID.

Please NoteIf you need access to a computer with WebCam and Microphone features, the following CSU sites can make these available to you:

Behavioral Sciences Building Laptop Checkout (just behind Sweet Temptations Café on the first floor) has Macbooks that students can borrow for a maximum of 4 hours.  The HP laptops are still not loaded with the proctoring software.

Lory Student Center Laptop Checkout – Go down the LSC main staircase and then turn right – it’s in the corner.  30 Macbook Airs can be borrowed for a maximum of 4 hours.

After I Register for the Proctoring Program, What’s Next?

You will automatically be taken to the online Composition Placement Essay page where you will:

  • Complete the registration page.
  • Follow instructions for writing your Composition Placement essay.

 

Is There a Charge to Write the Composition Placement Essay?

Your total cost for the online Composition Placement Essay will be $37: a $22 charge will be billed to your student account for processing and rating your essay, and a $15 charge will be paid to an online proctoring provider, Software Secure, who ensures academic integrity.  Payment of these charges is expected even if the student subsequently chooses not to attend Colorado State University after writing the essay.

How Can I Prepare to Write the Composition Placement Essay?

To prepare for the Composition Placement Essay, we suggest that you read an argumentative article in a newspaper or magazine.  Practice summarizing the main ideas of the argument, explaining whether you agree or disagree with the author’s viewpoint, and supporting your position with evidence from the article and your personal experience.
The following writing guides on Writing@CSU can help you prepare for the Composition Placement Essay.

 

Are There Accommodations for Students With Learning Differences?

Students with Learning Differences can contact the Office of Resources for Disabled Students at (970) 491-6385 or email Amanda.Wimmer@colostate.edu.  We will give students the accommodations they require to write the Composition Placement Essay.

When Can I Get My Composition Placement Essay Results?

The Composition Placement Essay is rated by Composition faculty at two intervals throughout the academic year:

May 15 – August 15:  Essays are rated each week.  Students who submit their essay on the Friday prior to the week we review essays, will receive email notification of their placement by 5pm on the Monday following the week essays are read.

August 15 – May 15:  Essays are rated on the first and the third week of each month.  Students who submit their essay on the Friday prior to the week we review essays, will receive email notification of their placement by 5pm on the Monday following the week essays are read.

Where Can I Find My Composition Placement Essay Results?

You can check your results on your RAMweb homepage.  On the right-hand side, under “Records” select Composition Placement Essay Results.

What are the Potential Outcomes of the Composition Placement Essay?

The Composition Placement Essay is rated on a scale of 2 through 6.  Based on your score, you will be placed in one of three categories:

  • Score of 2: Placement into CO130: Academic Writing
  • Score of 3 – 5: Placement into CO150: College Composition
  • Score of 6: Test-Out Credit via Placement into CO150-Section 550

The results of being placed in these categories are:

  • If you are placed in CO130: Academic Writing, you will register for a section just as you register for other courses at CSU.  CO130 is designed to provide an intensive writing experience which will strengthen your writing abilities in preparation for CO150, the required first-year writing course.  After successful completion of CO130, you will register for CO150.  CO130 serves as a prerequisite for CO150.
  • If you are placed in CO150: College Composition, you will register for a section just as you register for other courses at CSU.
  • If you test out of CO150, you will register for CO150 Section 550: College Composition-Test Out Credit.  You will receive 3 credits for CO150 and will be given the grade “S”. The grade of “S” will not affect your grade point average.  You will have satisfied the All-University Core Curriculum Intermediate Writing requirement (AUCC Category 1A).  A student needs to earn a score of 6 on a scale of 2 to 6 in order to test out and receive credit for CO150.  Students considering writing the Composition Placement Challenge and Re-evaluation Essay to test out of CO150 should consider that earning a 6 requires outstanding critical thinking skills and a sophisticated writing style.

 

What if I Have Questions or Want to Appeal My Placement?

If you have questions about your placement, please contact Sue Russell, the Composition Program Assistant in the English office, at (970) 491-1898 or email her at Sue.Russell@colostate.edu.  If necessary, she will schedule an appointment for the Composition Placement Director to review your essay.  Please note: You will not be allowed to rewrite the Composition Placement Essay without special permission.