Anyone who’s taken College Writing at AU can tell you a different tale about their experience with the program. It was informative, it was a joke, it helped some win $200.
The administration has changed the provisions regarding Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests and placing out of the course.
Our thesis is this: While we believe that AU makes a credible argument for this change, there are many more sections of the program that need editing before this one can be touched.
In the present tense, students that have taken and scored a 4 or 5 on the AP Language or Literature tests or 5 or higher on the IB English A1 exam place out of the program entirely. Freshmen or transfer students that have completed a comparable college writing program at another university are required to take the Writing Proficiency Exam to demonstrate their ability to write, well, proficiently.
Next fall, AU will no longer allow students who took either of the AP tests to be fully exempt from the program. Students that have received the required AP Language or IB scores will get three College Writing credits, while AP Literature students will get six General Education credits.
Stylistically, we can agree with this change as it will help to ensure that all students coming in have some basis in an AU writing program.
However, the College Writing program itself is not standardized enough to ensure all students passing through it have a similar experience and degree of preparedness for future academic writing endeavors.
The knowledge derived from the program largely depends on the professor with whom each student takes the course. Some experience more of a creative writing class, while others gain more of the analytical writing skills they’ll later need when writing that 30-page thesis senior year.
When juxtaposed with the AP and IB courses, which implement a universally standardized test in determining success or failure, it becomes clear that the program in its current state comes up short.
Before the University can tell incoming students that have successfully completed a college-level English course that it does not match the requirements set by AU, they must first standardize College Writing courses to reflect a comprehensive program that mandates a certain level of achievement from each professor and each class.