Portfolio placement for first-year writing classes

Important: Portfolio placement dates for summer/fall semesters are February 1 – August 1. Placement dates for spring semesters are October 1-December 1.

Note: The Core Writing Program at the University of Nevada, Reno does not accept results from Accuplacer for placement in courses. Students may only participate in the placement process one time. Additional submissions will not be allowed, regardless if a different course placement is being requested.

It is important for students to begin their college education in writing courses that best fit their levels of experience and current ability. If you believe your test score does not accurately reflect your writing skills, you may request an alternate placement evaluation based on a portfolio of your writing. We believe that your actual writing, not just your test score, should determine your final placement in writing courses. When considering alternate placement, keep in mind that the writing samples you provide help us place you in the class that best fits your writing abilities. It is not a way to challenge a course and it is not the same as credit-by-exam. It only determines which writing course you take first in your college career.

There is a $50 fee for the portfolio evaluation. Your placement cannot be processed without payment of the fee. Your placement submission will be processed in approximately two business weeks. Note: It is important that you begin this placement process as soon as possible in order to ensure class availability. Also, if any work in a portfolio is plagiarized, your portfolio will not be considered in placement and the fee will not be refunded. In addition, the student's work and evidence of plagiarism will be kept on file and a copy will be sent to the Office of Student Conduct.

How to submit your placement portfolio

  1. Pay the $50 fee at the University Testing Center registration site. Select “Fee payment only” and under exam, “First-Year Writing Placement Fee.” Please download a receipt of your payment, which you will submit with your portfolio.
  2. Assemble your CBE portfolio. Please include three-to-four essays that represent your writing experiences and abilities. If you have only printed copies of your essays, scan them and combine them into a single PDF file with your name (for example, “Last Name_CBE.pdf”). Please make sure that each essay and each page is clearly labeled so that readers will know where each essay begins and ends. If you have electronic copies of your essays, please combine them into a single file, using headers to signal the start of each essay. Then save this file to Microsoft Word format and name it as above (“Last Name_Placement_Portfolio.docx”).
  3. Review your CBE portfolio and then plan, draft and revise your cover letter. Your letter should include:
    1. Your full name, NSHE ID number, address, phone number and an email address we can use to reach you
    2. A statement explaining why you should be placed differently than your test scores suggest
    3. A description of what the essays in your portfolio show about your writing's strengths and weaknesses
    4. Your letter should make specific reference to how you have met or exceeded the student learning outcomes of the course you are proposing to test out of. Outcomes for our different classes (100, 101, 102) are available on the English website under Core Writing. The cover letter is the most important part of your portfolio, so take care to plan your ideas, seek feedback at multiple stages of the writing process and revise.
  4. Copy your cover letter into an email addressed to Isis Lopez Aguilar, the First-Year Writing Placement Coordinator. The subject line of your email should read "Last Name - Core Writing CBE Submission." Then attach two files: your portfolio as a single PDF or Word file and proof of CBE approval and payment.
  5. Your portfolio will be read by Core Writing’s portfolio readers and you will receive the results via email of your CBE result.

Please note: due to FERPA regulations, we can only communicate placement information to the student in question. Any other person, unless that person is a parent and the student is a minor, must provide a signed privacy waiver (available from Admissions and Records) before Core Writing can communicate the student's placement results or any other academic information.