FAQs | Department of English | Kent State University

Writing Programs


Tell me about the Department of English's "online challenge."

College Writing I (ENG 11011) and College Writing II (ENG 21011) are standard college writing courses at Kent State University. Your ACT/SAT scores will assist academic advisors with the determination of course placement. Some students on the regional  campuses may place in Introduction to College Writing I-Stretch (ENG 01001). Introduction to College Writing I-Stretch is the first half of a two-semester course that provides students with an opportunity to take College Writing I at a slower pace.  Currently, this course is offered only on the regional campuses. Kent campus students will not be placed into College Writing I-Stretch. Additionally, some students are exempt from taking College Writing I and, therefore, place directly into College Writing II. The Department of English strongly recommends that students placing into College Writing II wait until their sophomore year to take this course.

What is the challenge?

The online challenge program gives you the opportunity to challenge placement in Introduction to College Writing Stretch (ENG 01001) or College Writing I (ENG 11011). We have started the online program so that you do not have to make a separate trip to Kent State University to write a challenge essay. The essay you write for this challenge gives us the opportunity to carefully look at your writing and move you to a different level class if we feel that your writing skills warrant such a move.

This program allows you, the student, to challenge your writing placement based on the quality of your essay. Once your essay has been scored, we will make a recommendation for your appropriate writing course. You may choose to follow that recommendation or stay with your original placement based on your ACT/SAT or COMPASS scores. If we recommend a lower placement and you choose to stay in the original course, you need to be aware that it might prove to be difficult for you.

The essay you write will be based on articles we have chosen and will represent the kind of work you can expect in our college writing courses. We want you to have ample time to read the articles that form the basis of your writing task. We also want you to have ample time to think about the writing task, to write a draft or two, to revise carefully and then submit a completed essay via the online challenge process. You may challenge only once, but you can choose when to take it. 

Your initial course placement has been decided according to our placement guidelines. Not all Kent State University students are eligible to challenge their writing placement. Returning students with over 30 hours and students who have failed these courses or who have incompletes are not eligible to take the challenge.

What are the possible results if I take the online challenge?
  • The writing challenge score indicates that the initial placement is appropriate. Thus, there will be no change in English placement.

  • The writing challenge score may indicate placement into a lower level course. The student has a choice of staying in the original placement or following the recommendation to move to a lower level course. Students deciding not to follow the recommendation to enroll in a lower level course must understand they may have difficulty with the course content of their original  placement.

  • The writing challenge score may indicate placement into a higher level course. The student has a choice of staying in the original placement or following the recommendation to move to a higher level course.

What does the online challenge require of me?
  1. Read articles selected by the writing faculty of the Department of English Writing Program Office.

  2. Spend time thinking about the article(s).

  3. Write an essay in response to a prompt provided by the Department of English Writing Program Office.

  4. Submit your final essay for consideration.

  5. After receiving the results of the essay, make a decision on your course placement.

  6. If you choose to remain in your assigned course, do nothing. If you choose to change your course, contact your advisor.

  7. Attend your English class!

To meet the requirements mentioned above, complete the following steps.


Step 1

Whenever you are ready, request to take the challenge by going to the placement channel on the Flashline "student tools and courses" page. The channel is on the lower right side of the screen. After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation e-mail regarding your challenge. IF YOU ARE ALREADY REGISTERED FOR A COURSE, DO NOT DROP IT YET.

Step 2

Once the questionnaire is completed, if you are eligible to take the challenge, click "proceed to challenge". Then follow the instructions.

Step 3

Your essay will be graded soon after you submit the essay, usually no longer than two weeks.You will be notified about your recommended placement through an e-mail.

Step 4

Make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your placement results. If you are not currently registered, you will be placed in the appropriate course when you meet with an academic advisor.

When will I know the outcome of the online challenge?

Essays will be graded by the Department of English faculty as they come in, starting in April. There may be a short wait depending on how many students are challenging at any given time. But remember, you can get started immediately. The sooner you complete the challenge, the better. If changing your course assignment is recommended, you will have plenty of time to do so. The ability to enroll in your desired course, however, depends on whether or not there are seats available in the class.  You will not need to call the department to check on your placement before you are notified. If you are registering the week before school begins, your challenge will be handled manually by contacting the English Department at english@kent.edu. The turnaround will be faster, but it may be harder to find open courses at that time.

Please note that if you place out of College Writing I (ENG 11011), we encourage you to wait until your sophomore year to take College Writing II (ENG 21011). Students taking this course have generally been at Kent State University for at least a year. Also note that students registering on the Kent campus begin the placement process with CWI (ENG11011): the stretch courses are available only on the regional campuses, and Kent campus students will not be placed into them.