Academic First Year Experiences

What is Directed Self Placement (D.S.P.)?

July 16, 2018


Directed Self-Placement (D.S.P.) is a widely-used tool for placing students in their first-year writing classes. The D.S.P. process guides students to choose the writing course they feel is best aligned with their sense of what they're ready for in college composition. Through the D.S.P. process, students assume agency (take an active role) in the decision about their first-year composition course selection.

  • "Directed": campus writing experts (members of the University Writing Council) designed the placement assignment and surveys to guide students towards appropriate course selection.
  • "Self-Placement": students participate in D.S.P. online through Canvas. Based on their experiences completing the reading and writing assignments, and taking into account their own history as readers and writers, they select a writing course (Approaches to University Writing: 113, 114, or 115) that will offer them the best chance to succeed. Students' agency in the course-selection process is a key component of D.S.P. All 113 courses include Supplemental Instruction; some sections of 115 also offer Supplemental Instruction.

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