Contact & Location


Department of English

Physical Address:
Brink Hall 200
(208) 885-6156 phone
(208) 885-5944 fax

Mailing Address:
English Department
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho

Challenging English 102

Occasionally, a student will have had instructional experiences in which they have written papers similar to what is required in English 102, and the University of Idaho allows for students to challenge a course via competency-based testing. 

In order to qualify to challenge English 102, you must compile a writing portfolio that contains several, college-level, extended argumentative papers that use multiple outside sources, and follow the conventions for scholarly writing of a recognized professional body (i.e. MLA or the APA). Additionally, you will write a letter that details how your writing demonstrates proficiency in the learning outcome areas for English 102.  You cannot be enrolled in English 102 at the time you challenge the course, and you cannot use papers you have written or are writing for English 102 as a basis to challenge this class.

The procedure for challenging English 102 is as follows:

  1. Contact the Director of Writing, Dr. Diane Kelly-Riley ( or 885-5704), who oversees this process. 
  2. Assemble a writing portfolio consisting of the following:
  • A letter that explains how writing you’ve done previously qualifies you take the Challenge Exam for equivalent credit for English 102, and how writing in your writing portfolio demonstrates the outcomes for English 102 (listed below).  
  •  Three or four college-level essays that demonstrate your proficiency of the outcomes for English 102.  Submit papers that have been graded by another instructor. 

Your letter and your papers should explain how you demonstrate and have met the following outcomes of English 102:

  • Accurately assess and effectively respond to a wide variety of audiences and rhetorical situations.
  • Comprehend college-level and professional prose and analyze how authors present their ideas in view of their probable purposes, audiences, and occasions.
  • Present ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of others (including the ability to paraphrase, summarize, and correctly cite and document borrowed material).
  • Focus on, articulate, and sustain a purpose that meets the needs of specific writing situations.
  • Explicitly articulate why they are writing, who they are writing for, and what they are saying.
  • Write critical analyses and syntheses of college-level and professional prose.
  • Make connections between questions and problems in life both within and outside of college.
  • Gather and evaluate information and use it for a rhetorical purpose in writing a research paper.
  • Attend to and productively incorporate a variety of perspectives.
  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading.
  • Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work.
  • Give and receive constructive feedback from peers.
  • Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation and practice appropriate means of documenting their work.
  • Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources.
  1. English Department faculty will evaluate your writing portfolio to determine if you qualify to take the Challenge Exam.
  2. If your writing portfolio qualifies you to take the Challenge Exam, you must then go to the Registrar’s Office to get a Petition for Advanced Credit (Challenge) Exam. Bring this petition back to Dr. Diane Kelly-Riley. She will sign it and get the signature of the department chair. Then, you will take this petition to your own college office and get the approval of your dean (or his or her designee). Then, go to the cashier’s window at Business and Accounting Services, and pay a $35 fee. They will stamp the petition, which you then return to the Registrar’s Office. Once you have completed this step, the Registrar’s Office will notify Dr. Kelly-Riley that you have approval to complete the Challenge Exam.
  3. At this point, you will be scheduled to write an exam in a controlled setting. If the English department faculty judge this essay to be at a level of C or greater, you will receive credit for English 102.

If you are successful, you must pay for your credits; currently the charge is $25 per credit, so the total for this three-credit course is $75. The entire process will cost $110 if you are successful. The grade will appear on your transcript as a P (it has no effect on your GPA).