Writing 121 Waiver Exam Process

(effective February 2018)

According to OSU's Academic Regulations for "Special Examination for Credit" (AR 23, AR 24), students may request an examination to replace OSU's required course in WR 121. The exam allows for a waiver of the WR I requirement only, and not for a grade or for course credits.

This exam is intended for strongly proficient writers who have excelled in their academic writing skills and have clearly demonstrated their capacity for analytical writing, information literacy, rhetorical awareness, and academic genre conventions. The exam may not be taken in a term when a student is currently registered for WR 121. Typically, this exam is for transfer students whose previous coursework does not match the WR 121 equivalent. This is a rigorous exam that assumes college-level writing at an A or B level.

The WR 121 waiver exam has two parts: a sample of college writing and an on-demand written essay.

Part 1: Writing Sample Essay

The writing sample consists of a polished college essay with a minimum of 7-10 pages of content (not including works cited). The essay should demonstrate that the student has met the outcomes for WR 121 in terms of critical thinking, information literacy, and skilled academic argumentation.  

The sample must come from an assignment in a college course. Successful essays typically have received a grade of an A or B in the course in which the paper was assigned. Students must indicate the name of the course, instructor's name, name of the institution, and date when the course was taken.

Part II: On-Demand Essay Exam

The on-demand written essay is a composition written within an hour's time in response to a reading provided and a question prompt. Students should be able to critically read and interpret a text and generate a sophisticated academic argument from that text, incorporating and documenting material correctly. (Note: Students registered with OSU's Disability Access Services may arrange for a longer exam time.)

Evaluation Guidelines

The exam is evaluated by a consortium of trained writing instructors and is graded holistically to determine whether the student has clearly demonstrated skills in academic argument (detailed below). Students who successfully complete the waiver exam are strongly proficient writers who have excelled in their academic writing skills and have clearly demonstrated their capacity for analytical writing, information literacy, rhetorical awareness, and academic genre conventions. Below are the guidelines by which writing instructors evaluate the writing sample and the on-demand essay.

Critical Thinking

Successful essays include rhetorical analysis and critical thinking, and demonstrate the student’s ability to move beyond summary of sources and perspectives.

Information Literacy

The writing sample should demonstrate the student’s ability to locate, synthesize, and respond to multiple sources. Successful sample essays usually contain a minimum of three sources identified by the student. The on-demand portion should integrate, synthesize, and fully document quotations from the provided text.

Skilled Academic Argument

Successful essays will intervene in an ongoing cultural conversation or debate by proposing an original argument and supporting it with evidence and clear reasoning.

OSU-Cascades Undergraduate Student Instructions

Step 1:  Students should familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of the WR 121 Waiver Exam (See above.)

Step 2:  Student sends email to Kristy Kelly (Assistant Director of Writing) to ensure eligibility. Student will attach their writing sample to be examined for eligibility.  The writing sample should be from a previously taken course that meets the requirements in Part 1 above and be sure to include the following:

  • Name of the course
  • Instructor’s name
  • Name of institution
  • Date when the course was taken

Step 3:  If the writing sample is determined to meet the criteria the student would then complete the Examination for Credit or Waiver form and obtaining the signatures from:

Step 4:  Completed Examination for Credit or Waiver form complete with signatures is to be returned to Enrollment Services.

Step 5:  Student’s pay the $80 fee at the cashier's desk inside Obsidian Hall, OSU-Cascades.

Step 6:  Student is given Examination Credit or Waiver Test Day for the term. Note: There are limited test dates for each term.  Please contact Enrollment Services for the dates/time of the proctored examinations.

Step 7:  After the examination is taken and reviewed by the Writing Center the student will be notified of the results.

Any questions can be referred to:

Brian Palmer
Associate Director of Enrollment Services
1500 SW Chandler Avenue
Bend, OR  97701

Note: Credit will not be given for Willamette Promise/Assessment Based Credit – Waiver Only