What’s Involved in Completing the Directed Self-Placement Survey

If your standardized test scores place you into Group 2, you will be required to complete the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Survey.   The Survey is not a placement test – it is a 10-minute survey designed to help you decide which composition course is right for you.

To find the Directed Self Placement Survey:

  • Log in to your RAMweb account at ramweb.colostate.edu
  • Click on the Menu button on the top right.
  • Click on the Registration menu item to expand the list of options.
  • Select the Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Survey link.

Students completing the Survey will be assessed a $12 charge, which will be billed to their student account.

The Directed Self-Placement Survey has 20 questions divided into 3 parts:
Part I – 9 questions related to your “Writing Process and Experiences”
Part II – 5 questions related to “Critical Reading”
Part III – 6 questions related to “Rhetorical Knowledge”

Answering the questions in the above three sections will help you:

  • Gain insight into your current reading and writing practices, especially in light of your prior experience in writing courses,
  • Understand what will be expected of you in CSU’s college-level composition courses, and,
  • Decide which composition course—CO130: Academic Writing or CO150: College Composition—is right for you.

Here is a quick guide about the differences between CO130: Academic Writing and CO150: College Composition:
CO130: Academic Writing is designed for students who require significant background to be prepared to take CO150.  The course includes extensive practice with a fewer number of writing assignments and instruction in critical reading, writing skills, and grammar and mechanics for Standard Edited English.  Significant time is dedicated to teaching students strategies for idea development, organization, citing sources, etc. to help writers build a repertoire of strategies to effectively communicate.  This 3-credit course offers elective credit; successful completion allows you to register for CO150, preferably in the following semester.

CO150: College Composition is designed for students who have successfully completed high school English courses, have a lot of recent experience with a variety of writing tasks, and who are motivated to enhance their critical reading and writing skills for college classes and beyond.  The course moves at a moderately faster pace than CO130, and objectives include writing for various audiences and purposes, including writing well-developed researched essays using multiple sources.  This 3-credit course fulfills the All-University Core Curriculum Intermediate Writing Requirement (AUCC Category 1A).

Critical reading and writing skills are significant components of every program and degree at CSU.  Moreover, research at CSU, as well as nation-wide, demonstrates a clear connection between academic success and your ability to write effectively for various audiences.
We encourage you to take this opportunity to reflect upon your existing writing strengths and weaknesses, as well as features of your writing that you would like to bolster.

Answer the 20 questions carefully and honestly.  In the end, the decision about which writing course to take is yours, and this is your opportunity to make a well-informed decision. 

When you have completed the DSP, your score and information about the course we recommend for you will be posted.  A code will be entered into the Student System allowing you to register for EITHER CO130 or CO150.  Remember, even if the DSP score suggests CO150, you may take CO130 if you feel it’s the best fit for you—and vice-versa. If you are unsure about which course is right for you, you can consult your advisor for additional support and information.

Are There Sections of CO150 for Non-Native Speakers of English?

Each fall and spring semester, the English department offers several sections of CO150 specifically designated for non-native speakers of English.