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Directed Self Placement (DSP)

College students across the United States take writing courses to complete their degree. Some enter college having already earned writing credits, either through test scores or through previous college-level course work. Others will need to earn introductory writing credits by completing first-year composition. This is especially important at CSUSM because we have an all-university writing requirement: you’ll be writing at least 2500 words in every CSUSM class you take! For that reason, it is important that you take the right General Education Writing (GEW) course sequence to prepare you for success.

The decision about which GEW path to take should be made through careful reflection on your own experiences with academic reading and writing.

This includes your grades in previous English and Writing courses, but also your own evaluation of who you are as a reader and a writer and how much support you need to be successful at CSUSM. It’s also important you don’t make a quick or uninformed decision.

To help you determine which sequence is best for you, we’ve created a self-assessment survey:Directed Self Placement GEW Survey

About the survey

The survey will ask you to think about your typical practices for reading and writing and your level of comfort with particular writing and reading tasks. This is your opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on who you are as a writer and a learner, and then make an informed decision about what GEW pathway is right for you. We call this process Directed Self-Placement (DSP).

General Education Writing (GEW) Courses

  • GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act
    • 3-credit course
    • Fulfills GE requirement in written communication (A2)
    • In this course you will:
      • Locate, evaluate, and integrate academic sources into your writing
      • Interrogate the power dynamics and social constructions that inform academic knowledge production
      • Produce a 10-12 page research project that contributes to an academic conversation
  • GEW 101A: Writing as Critical Inquiry
    • 3-credit course
    • Fulfills GE requirement in critical thinking (A3)
    • In this course you will:
      • Engage in textual analysis and work with sources to construct sound arguments
      • Gain foundational skills for academic writing
      • Produce a 6-8 page project demonstrating your skills in critical reading, analysis, and information literacy
  • GEW 100: Writing Lab
    • 1-credit lab
    • In this course you will:
      • Have time to write
      • Get feedback on your writing from a writing instructor
      • Work in a community of writers to discuss writing across the curriculum at CSUSM

GEW Course Pathways

The Directed Self Placement Survey will recommend that you take one of four GEW course sequences:

  • Pathway 4

     This pathway provides the most support. Students learn the foundational skills of critical reading and thinking in GEW 101A before progressing to GEW 101B. They also have the benefit of additional writing time and feedback in the Writing Lab each semester.

    First semester course(s):

    • GEW 101A: Writing as Critical Inquiry (3 credits)
    • GEW 100: Writing Lab (1 credit)

    Second semester course(s):

    • GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act (3 credits)
    • GEW 100: Writing Lab (1 credit)
  • Pathway 3

    Students learn the foundational skills of critical reading and thinking in GEW 101A before progressing to GEW 101B. They benefit from the Writing Lab in their first semester, and are ready for more independent writing and revision in their second semester.

    First semester course(s):

    • GEW 101A: Writing as Critical Inquiry (3 credits)
    • GEW 100: Writing Lab (1 credit)

    Second semester course(s):

    • GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act (3 credits)
  • Pathway 2

    This pathway is for students who feel confident in their critical reading and thinking skills. They know how to analyze and integrate a variety of sources into their writing and they're ready to practice library research and academic writing. This option also provides some extra support in the form of additional feedback and writing time in the Writing Lab

    First semester course(s):

    • GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act (3 credits)
    • GEW 100: Writing Lab (1 credit)
  • Pathway 1

    This pathway is for students who feel confident in their critical reading and thinking skills and are ready to practice library research and academic writing without the extra support of the Writing Lab. 

    Students who place into this option are also accustomed to lengthy, multi-draft writing projects and are able to complete such work independently.

    First semester course(s):

    • GEW 101B: Writing as a Rhetorical Act (3 credits)

Questions?

Visit our FAQ

Note: Directed Self Placement is a new initiative at CSUSM, effective Summer 2022. Please consult with your academic advisor for more information.