Portfolio instructions and evaluations

Important: The deadline for Fall semester portfolio placements is August 1st and the deadline for Spring semester portfolio placements is December 1st.

The credit-by-exam consists of a portfolio of your writing. For those students who have completed ENG 101 or are transferring from other universities and colleges, you may include writing from other writing courses. Your portfolio may contain essays from additional previous courses, as well as others you have written on your own and a reflection essay written specifically for your portfolio.

Preparation note: Submit your essays along with your completed application for credit by special exam form, obtained from Admissions and Records.  You will not get your portfolio back from Core Writing and you cannot obtain a copy once it is turned in.

  • Begin by reviewing the  learning outcomes for ENG 102. The essays included in your portfolio must illustrate your proficiency in meeting these outcomes, so you'll want to select only essays that meet the outcomes' criteria.
  • Select three (3) essays. One essay must be a research paper or a minimum of 10 pages. Combined all three essays must equal at least 20 pages. Make sure the essays are polished, meaning as free as possible from grammatical and citation errors.
  • Compose a single-spaced cover letter formatted like a traditional business letter and about 1-2 pages in length, in which you argue the following:
    • You are writing a case for having met, with proficiency, the learning outcomes of English 102. This short essay is about showcasing your abilities to write at the college level with evidence from the essays in your portfolio. To help you, keep the following questions and hints in mind: 
      • Does the writer understand the course learning outcomes? You can demonstrate your understanding of the learning outcomes by making specific references to them and by describing how your work demonstrates those abilities.
      • Does the writer use his/her own work as evidence? You can demonstrate the abilities described in the learning outcomes by citing specific examples in your essays as evidence of those abilities. The fuller and more detailed your explanations and analysis, the more convincing they will be to your readers.
      • Does the writer understand the purpose of the portfolio letter? Your purpose is to evaluate your own work thoughtfully and thoroughly and your letter and portfolio will be scored accordingly.
      • Has the writer composed a well-written, effectively proofread letter? Because the purpose of the portfolio letter is your self-evaluation, your letter should demonstrate your abilities as a writer. Your letter should be thoughtful, analytical and engaging. Keep in mind that your audience for this letter will be college writing instructors interested in passing your CBE portfolio but also interested in your ability to succeed in college writing.


The entire portfolio will be scored based on the evaluation criteria explained in the credit-by-exam evaluation rubric. In order to pass the exam and receive credit for English 102, you must meet the evaluation criteria for a passing portfolio (receive a score of 3 or 4).

Two readers will score your portfolio and the average of their scores will determine your overall grade. If it is a borderline portfolio, an additional reader will be called in and become the third reader to break the "tie."