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In the CWPA Position Statement on Pre-College Credit for Writing (see attachment), the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), an organization that advocates for best practices in the teaching of writing in postsecondary institutions, compares the three main alternatives high school students have for completing early the required first-year writing (FYW) course they would otherwise take after matriculating at college. These alternatives are Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and dual credit or concurrent enrollment (DC/CE).

Because so many stakeholders have an interest in understanding how these high school alternatives compare to FYW, the position statement discusses the history and purposes of FYW, AP, IB, and DC/CE and then generalizes about the curriculum, student readiness, and instructors in each alternative. Because of the local variability of AP and DC/CE courses and the limited experience most institutions have with IB students, CWPA does not dictate whether colleges and universities should grant waivers and/or credit for any or all of these pre-college offerings. However, it does believe that giving students credit for substitutes for FYW may do the students a disservice when the substitutes do not compare well to FYW in curriculum, student readiness, and teacher preparation and supervision. CWPA therefore urges postsecondary institutions to exercise diligence in examining the curriculum, assignments, written work, test scores, and other evidence that students present upon entering college to claim that they already have had an experience equivalent to FYW. CWPA also does not take a single position on whether or not high school students should avail themselves of AP, IB, and DC/CE courses. Pre-college AP, IB, and DC/CE courses may be highly valuable to high school students’ educational development but should perhaps be considered as preparation, not substitutes, for strong FYW courses taken on the campus where each student matriculates.


Author Posting. © Council of Writing Program Administrators, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of the CWPA for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in WPA: Writing Program Administration, September 2013.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.