The Washington State University Writing Program announced a new submission process and other changes for the requisite University Writing Portfolio, effective in October and impacting all undergraduate students.

“We have launched a new online submission process and simplified the requirements and format of the portfolio,” said Lisa Johnson Shull, interim director of the award-winning program.

“All of this should minimize barriers to student progress to graduation,” said Brooklyn Walter, director of the program’s Writing Center.  All undergraduates are required to submit their portfolio by the time they reach 75 credits or earlier; they must complete the portfolio to graduate.

Walter said, “The new requirements don’t impact the purpose of the portfolio, which is to check in with students to ensure they’re developing the habits and skills necessary for success in upper-division, writing-intensive courses within their majors.”

The Writing Program is part of the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA) in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Change summary

Three main revisions basically fall into two categories.

Submission process changes: Instead of submitting printed portfolios, students will upload their documents online using Qualtrics. The portfolio will consist of two essays or papers written for college-level courses that demonstrate the student’s best writing. They should reflect in-depth aspects, analytical and critical thinking, organization, and clarity, for example.

Adjusted requirements: Within the Qualtrics submission site, students will be guided to reflect on the two essays or papers they’ve selected for their portfolio to show their abilities and strengths as college-level writers. Their answers to these questions will be considered as additional texts that members of the Writing Program’s assessment team will read and evaluate.

Also, in keeping with contemporary scholarship in writing assessment, the timed writing portion of the portfolio has been eliminated.

“The changes to the submission process and the portfolio requirements will enable us to continue the portfolio mission despite COVID-19 restrictions and ensure the relevance and sustainability of the assessment,” said Johnson Shull. In the past, portfolios had to be submitted in person at the program office, but the pandemic necessitates operational changes such as social distancing.

Additional details

Detailed instructions for students, as well as important information for advisors, staff, and faculty, can be found on the program’s website. Questions should be directed to the program’s email address, writing.program@wsu.edu.