Writing with Sources Competency


Standards for Writing with Sources Competency (CC-WC)

One of the most important academic skills students must develop is the ability to write effectively in response to varying assignments across a range of subject areas.

 The Writing Competency requirement at BCC assures that students can use information resources and incorporate them thoughtfully into a research-based essay that is focused, logically organized, and clearly written. The expectations for an assignment that meets the competency requirement are as follows:


To meet the written communication competency, a writing assignment must use at least three sources appropriate to the course and the purpose of the assignment, and must follow an appropriate format and documentation style (MLA, APA, CMS, CBE, etc.).  Sources may be independently selected from the library and/or Internet or may be chosen from instructor-supplied options.

A paper with a high level of competence will demonstrate the following qualities:

Focus and organization:

  • The focus is neither too broad nor too narrow for the length and purpose of the writing assignment.
  • The introduction sets context and provides a clear statement of thesis or purpose.
  • A logical and well-organized sequence of points supports the thesis or develops the purpose.
  • The conclusion demonstrates independent thought or explores relationships among ideas.

Development and use of sources:

  • Sources are appropriate to the course and the assignment in both relevance and level of


  • Points are adequately developed with relevant evidence selected from sources.
  • Source material is integrated with student's own thinking and topic knowledge.
  • The assignment demonstrates correct and ethical use of paraphrase and quotation.
  • Transitions and other methods of achieving coherence show relationships among points.

Style, grammar, and mechanics:

  • Writing style is clear (including appropriate diction, correct and effective sentences, and

tone suited to subject, audience, and purpose).

  • Conventions (spelling, capitalization, and punctuation) are followed accurately.
  • Source citations follow correct and consistent form.

A paper with an acceptable level of competence will have characteristics such as the following:

Focus and organization:

  • Focus may be somewhat broad.
  • Introduction is present, but may set context in a limited way; thesis or statement of

purpose is present, but may be somewhat vague or general.

  • A sequence of relevant paragraphs supports the thesis or statement of purpose, but

relationships among ideas may not always be well thought through.

  • Conclusion is present, but may be simply repetitive rather than thoughtful.


Development and use of sources:

  • The assignment cites an adequate number of sources, but some sources may be less than completely appropriate: Sources may be somewhat superficial, for example, or the student may not have completely understood the material.
  • Evidence from sources supports the thesis, but the evidence may be thin.
  • The assignment may demonstrate limited independent thought.
  • Source material may not always be smoothly integrated into the student's text.
  • Use of paraphrase and quotations is generally correct, but may be awkward.
  • Transitions may be weak.


Style, grammar, and mechanics:

  • Sentence structures may be simple or repetitive; tone may be overly informal, or style may be awkward.
  • The assignment demonstrates basic control of grammar, mechanics, and diction, but with some errors.
  • The assignment cites sources honestly, but may have errors or inconsistencies in documentation form.


A writing assignment that fails to meet the competency requirement will have serious shortcomings, probably in several areas. A major shortcoming in even one area may mean that the assignment does not merit competency credit. Individual faculty members will make these judgments with the requirements of their courses in mind. At the instructor's discretion, assignments may be revised and reconsidered for competency credit.