First-Year Writing Policies

Although each instructor designs assignments, delivers course material, and determines deadlines independently, there are certain policies that are universal across all first-year writing classes at Grand Valley. A description of those policies can be found below:

Required Passing Grade

You must pass WRT 150 with a grade of C or better (above C–) to satisfy the University's General Education Writing Requirement. If you do not receive a grade of C or better, you will need to take WRT 150 again.

Learning or Physical Disabilities

If you have any special needs because of learning, physical, or any other disabilities, please contact Disability Support Resources at 616-331-2490. Any student needing academic accommodations beyond those given to the entire class needs to request assistance from DSR. Writing faculty work with DSR to accommodate students’ special needs and devise a plan that is fair to all students. Furthermore, if you have a disability and think you will need assistance evacuating a classroom and/or building in an emergency situation, please make your teacher and DSR aware so that Grand Valley can develop a plan to assist you.


Regular, timely, and full attendance is required to succeed in WRT 150. According to the Grand Valley catalog, instructors may fail students for excessive absences. In WRT 150, missing class more than four times constitutes excessive absences, and can be grounds for failing the course. Tardiness, leaving class while it is in session, coming unprepared, or off-task behavior (like texting) may also count as an absence or partial absence according to your teacher’s policies. You might receive an e-mail warning from your instructor after the fourth absence, but it is your responsibility to keep track of your attendance. Excessive absence itself is the grounds for failure, so that lack of warning does not excuse any further absences. The warning simply provides additional clarity.

Grade Appeals

If for any reason you need to appeal your final grade, please consult the Student Code for the applicable procedures. Your first contact should be with the teacher of your class. After you have spoken with your instructor, if you still wish to appeal your grade, please compose a message requesting a departmental review of your portfolio. Your request should do the following:

  • Explain how your portfolio demonstrates the characteristics of the grade that you seek. You should refer to the WRT 150 Portfolio Grading Characteristics to explain why you believe you earned a different grade.
  • Attach a copy of the portfolio you submitted for grading at the end of the semester. 

Appeals should be send to the Director of First-Year Writing at or delivered to the Department of Writing directed to the attention of the Director of First-Year Writing.

Once your appeal request is received, you will receive confirmation that the appeal process is underway. The Director of First-Year Writing will review your portfolio and, if necessary, ask another WRT 150 instructor to review the portfolio, as well. Once a decision about your request is made, you will be notified via email, usually within one month of the date your request was received.