One of the requirements for the Program of Liberal Studies is the Verbal Expression (VE) requirement. As the University catalog explains, these courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking. Each student MUST complete the VE requirement.
We want to make certain that as a first-year student you register for the writing class that will best prepare you for the writing you'll do throughout your four years at Clark, whichever major you choose. To ensure that you register for the correct writing course(s), you must complete the writing placement process and submit your questionnaire and placement essay by Monday, June 8.
Take this writing placement assignment seriously, as it will affect the classes you are allowed to take in the fall. Please note, that this test may be preliminary; you may be asked to take an additional writing placement test once you come to campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does everyone have to complete the writing placement process?
A: All incoming first-year students must complete the writing placement process and submit a writing placement essay by June 8. Transfer students do not have to complete the writing placement process.
How do I complete the writing placement process?
A: To complete the writing placement process, you will fill out a questionnaire to help us understand more about your writing experience. Download the posted reading and essay question. Write an essay of approximately 500 words and then upload your essay.
All of this is done right here on the Welcome site, but you must be logged in above. Remember to check back here throughout the summer for the rest of your summer requirements.
How will I be evaluated?
A: The faculty members who read your essay will assess the strength of the essay's:
- ideas and argument;
- use of evidence and engagement with the posted reading;
- and style and grammar.
Faculty readers are not just from the English department; they are from fields as diverse as sociology, biology,
economics, theater arts, philosophy and management. The faculty readers'
evaluations of your essay will determine your writing placement. If the two faculty readers
disagree on your placement, your essay will be read by a third refereeing reader. Throughout the placement process your
questionnaire will help us learn about your reading and writing experiences.
When will I find out what my writing placement is?
A: The status of your writing placement will be posted on the home page "checklist" of this site, so check
What if I completed an Advanced Placement course and/or took an Advanced Placement test?
A: Even if you took the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you must complete the writing placement process. Note: The ONLY exceptions are if (1) you have completed a college-level writing course or (2) you took the Advanced Placement in Literature and Composition previously and already have your score. Otherwise, you must complete Clark's writing placement process.
Please note that scores from the Advanced Placement test in Language and Composition do not exempt you from the writing placement process.
Later this summer, when Clark University has received your score on the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, we will, if necessary, change your placement as follows:
- If you receive a score of 5 on your Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will be exempt from your Verbal Expression (VE) requirement. (The VE requirement is part of Clark's Program of Liberal Studies. More about the VE requirement.)
- If you receive a score of 4 on the Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will be eligible to take any course at the VE level.
- If you receive a score of 3 or below on your Advanced Placement test in Literature and Composition, you will keep the same placement you were assigned in the writing placement process.
Fill out the Advanced Placement Form (you must be logged in) to report when you took the AP test, any advanced standing credits, or a previous score received from the AP Literature and Composition exam.
What if English is not my native language?
A: If English is not your native language, you will still complete the same writing placement process and respond to the same essay question as all other incoming first-year students. This will help us determine the appropriate writing placement for you.
If English is not your native/first/only language, please be certain to note this on the appropriate question in the writing placement questionnaire you complete as the first step of the process.
Should I write and revise my essay by myself?
A: We strongly suggest that you not receive any help planning, writing, or revising this essay. It is important that you submit a true representation of your own writing if you wish be placed in the appropriate class. You will, however, be asked to state whether you received any help with your essay. Please answer honestly and completely. Read Clark University's Academic Integrity Policies.
What if I have other questions about the writing placement process?
A: If you have questions about the writing placement process, or feel you do not have sufficient access to complete the writing placement process online, please contact Jennifer Plante by email or by phone at 508-793-7469. Learn more about Clark's Writing Center.