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FAQ: How are basic writing courses counted for college credit?

This FAQ developed by Sabrina Gary and Katie White, graduate students in Karen Uehling’s course at Boise State University, “The Theory and Teaching of Basic Writing.”


We first became interested in the credit status of basic writing courses during a panel discussion consisting of a representative group of basic writing instructors at BSU. The panel was assembled to discuss basic writing issues such as assigned activities, the role of reading, what “passing” basic writing means, etc. During this discussion the issue of basic writing’s credit status was raised, and one by one the panel instructors anxiously waited their turn to offer their opinions and frustrations. It quickly became evident that the fact that the courses they were teaching and the work they were assigning did not receive recognized credit was a “hot topic.” It is from this discussion that we decided to investigate the credit status of basic writing.

It has been surprisingly difficult to find any information about basic writing credit status. In most cases if credit was mentioned, it was either listed among a group of problematic issues or supports for reform. Few authors devoted more than a single sentence to the reality of credit or lack of credit within their program and experience. However, we feel that the issue of basic writing credit is substantive and deserves more attention than a simple notation can offer. Based on the opinions expressed both in the panel discussion and in a survey that we posted on the CBW listserv, we have researched the credit status of basic writing. Our project is intended not to find quick “solutions” to its often non-credit status, but instead to provoke discussion and relate information regarding the questions below.

See a brief annotated bibliography about the identity of basic writing

Follow the links below to learn more about course credit and basic writing:

We invite others to add to our discussion, especially by describing the credit status of the basic writing courses and programs at their institutions. To contribute to this FAQ, follow the guidelines for Using CompFAQs Wiki.

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Page last modified on March 11, 2007, at 05:02 PM