The Writing Competency Requirement

Competency in writing is a degree requirement. To meet this requirement, students must submit a portfolio of their own compositions to be evaluated by members of the general faculty and the Writing Excellence Program. Students whose portfolios are judged “inadequate" must take a composition course before resubmitting their portfolios for evaluation. The Registrar will not permit registration for senior theses, projects, or comprehensive exams if writing competency has not been achieved.

When to Submit Your Portfolio

Evaluations are conducted twice each year, usually in October and March. Students beginning as freshfolks normally will submit their portfolios in their Junior year. Serious registration problems and delays in graduation can result from failing to submit the portfolio by first semester of the Junior year. Transfer students should confer with the director and submit portfolios as soon as possible after coming to Eckerd (usually second semester of Junior year).

How You are Evaluated

A group of faculty members from all collegia will read the submitted portfolios; every portfolio will be read by at least two evaluators. Each portfolio, taken as a whole, will be rated “competent” or “inadequate.” This overall assessment will be the grade of record. The portfolio will be evaluated for the student’s demonstration of the following learning outcomes:

  1. rhetorical awareness by focusing on audience, purpose, context, medium, and message;

  2. critical thinking, reading, and writing by interpreting, evaluating, analyzing, and/or synthesizing information;

  3. knowledge of composing processes by describing in the annotations prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing, individually and with peers;

  4. ability to find, evaluate, and synthesize sources into their own ideas and knowledge of conventions of documentation in one or more formats;

  5. composing proficiency through essay focus/coherence, organization, and thorough substantiation of claims;

  6. knowledge of conventions of standard written English through use of tone, mechanics, grammar, and punctuation.

Any portfolio rated “inadequate” in the first round will be evaluated by two additional faculty readers and the coordinator. If after these additional readings a portfolio has received a majority of evaluations of “competent,” the student will have successfully fulfilled the writing competency graduation requirement. Students will receive specific recommendations from the composition faculty for action to improve an “inadequate” portfolio.

Writing Excellence Award

Each academic year, a maximum of eight portfolios may be designated as “excellent.” Students so honored will receive a citation and have their official transcript annotated, “Writing Excellence Award, [year].”


Please see the Writing Portfolio Coordinator in the Foundations Office, Brown Hall, or stop in the WritingCenter, SE-103.