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Challenging English 102

Occasionally, a student will have had instructional experiences in post-secondary settings in which they have written papers similar to what is required in English 102, and for some reason the course(s) have not transferred in for credit for English 102. University of Idaho allows these students to challenge English 102 via Petition for Advanced Credit Exam (also known as the Challenge Exam).

Before you proceed with this lengthy and complicated process, you’re encouraged to investigate U of I Registrar’s Transfer Credit process. You can check the U of I Course Transfer Guides to see if your course(s) would already satisfy English 102. If your course(s) are not on the current transfer guides, you can submit previous course syllabi to U of I Registrar for review.

English 102 Challenge Process

There is a three-part process to challenge English 102.

  • First, apply to take the challenge exam.
  • Second, once your application to take the Challenge Exam is approved, complete part one of the challenge exam: Writing Portfolio
  • Third, once your writing portfolio has been approved, complete part two of the challenge exam: timed essay writing. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher.

Be aware that you cannot:

  • Be enrolled in English 102 at the time you challenge the course.
  • Use papers you have written or are writing for English 102 to challenge this class.
  • Apply to take the Challenge Exam if you have taken an upper-division course that listed English 102 as a prerequisite.
  • Submit papers written for high school for the English 102 writing portfolio application.

Part I: Apply to Take the Challenge Exam

Go to the Registrar's website to download the “Application for Challenge (Credit by Exam)” form. Schedule a meeting with Tyler Easterbrook, Director of Composition, to discuss the English 102 challenge process. Dr. Easterbrook will answer any questions you have and then sign the form. Next, get the signature of the English department chair, Tara MacDonald. After Dr. MacDonald has signed your form, get the approval and signature of your academic program’s dean (or their designee). Once you have all of these signatures on your challenge form, go to the Student Accounts & Cashier's Office and pay the $35 fee. They will stamp the petition. Return your completed form to the Registrar's Office. The Registrar’s Office will notify Dr. Easterbrook that you have approval to complete the challenge exam. You can proceed to the next step only after Dr. Easterbrook has been notified by the Registrar.

Part II: Exam Part One — Writing Portfolio Application

To complete part one of the exam, compile a writing portfolio that meets the following requirements:

  1. Select three or four college-level, extended argumentative papers that use multiple outside sources and follow the conventions for scholarly writing of a recognized professional body (i.e., MLA or the APA). These papers should demonstrate proficiency of the learning outcomes for English 102 (see below). Ideally, it’s best if you can turn in work that contains the comments and/or grades from the original instructors.
  2. Write a formal letter that argues how your writing samples demonstrate proficiency in the learning outcomes for English 102. Successful application letters will articulate specific instances in the course papers in which the English 102 outcomes are demonstrated.
  3. Send your completed writing portfolio application as one Microsoft Word or PDF document to Tyler Easterbrook, Director of First-Year Composition.
  4. English Department faculty will evaluate your writing portfolio to determine if your work meets the English 102 learning outcomes. You will be notified via email of this decision.

University of Idaho English 102 Learning Outcomes — By the end of English 102, a successful student should be able to:

  1. Use rhetorically appropriate strategies to evaluate, represent and respond to ideas and the research of others.
    • Comprehend college-level and professional prose and analyze how authors present their ideas in view of their probable purposes, audiences, genres, modalities.
  2. Adopt strategies and genre appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
    • Accurately assess and effectively respond to a wide variety of audiences and rhetorical situations and articulate your rhetorical purpose for writing, who you are writing for, what you are saying and how you've decided to compose it (genre and modality).
      • Use evidence for a rhetorical purpose in writing a research paper.
  3. Use inquiry-based strategies to conduct research that explores multiple and diverse ideas and perspective, appropriate to the rhetorical context.
    • Locate, evaluate, organize and use research material collected from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to the following:
      • Scholarly library databases;
      • Other official databases (e.g., federal government databases);
      • Informal electronic networks and internet sources;
      • Print and online books and journals;
      • Primary sources.
    • Use evidence appropriately according to the rhetorical situation (e.g. paraphrase, summary, quote, attributive tags, in-text citation, etc.).
    • Correctly cite and document source material according to a current style manual.
  4. Address readers' biases and assumptions with well-developed evidence-based reasoning.
    • Productively incorporate a variety of perspectives when considering or composing and argument.
    • Present ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of others.
    • Write critical analyses and syntheses of college-level and professional prose.
  5. Use flexible writing process strategies to generate, develop, revise, edit, and proofread texts.
    • Apply a variety of strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading.
    • Revise your writing using additional invention and re-thinking after initial draft is produces.
    • Give and receive constructive feedback from peers.
  6. Compose arguments that meet college-level expectations for academic compositions.
    • Compose a focused claim supported with logical and clear reasons and evidence.
    • Synthesize arguments made by other rhetors to develop and support your own claim.
    • Use appropriate conventions for integrating, citing, and documenting source material as well as for surface-level language and style.
    • Apply current citation rules in situations like paraphrasing, summarizing, citing and documenting borrowed material.
  7. Read, interpret, and communicate key concepts in writing and rhetoric.

Part III: Exam Part II — Timed Essay Writing

At this point, you will be scheduled to write an essay in a controlled setting. You will be given short passages to read on a specific topic, and you will be asked to synthesize the arguments and write a response analyzing the selections. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher. If the English Department faculty judge this essay to be at a level of C or higher, you will receive credit for English 102.

Please note: the U of I Registrar does not allow the Challenge Exam to be scheduled during dead week — the week before final exams.

If your exam passes, you must pay for the English 102 credits; currently the charge is $25 per credit, so the total for this three-credit course is $75. The entire process will cost $110 if you are successful. The grade will appear on your transcript as a P (it has no effect on your GPA).

English Department

Physical Address:
200 Brink Hall

Mailing Address:
English Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1102

Phone: 208-885-6156


Web: English