Directed Self-Placement for Rhetoric

DSP is not a placement test but an online process that students complete entirely on their own. While it may be referred to as a “placement test,” students will not be graded or judged in any way on how they do DSP. It is not something that students should feel any anxiety about. The process is broken up into modules and students are guided by surveys, writing exercises, writing samples, and more to help determine which rhetoric writing course they will most likely succeed in. 

USF does not require students to submit standardized test scores when applying for undergraduate admission. Previously students were automatically placed in a rhetoric writing course based on standardized test scores. DSP aligns with USF’s social justice mission and provides a more equitable path to the Core A2 graduation requirement, where students can independently decide which course level they will start with. 

Students complete a survey and are recommended a rhetoric placement based on their responses. Students will then write a brief essay and reflection that is part of their self-assessment. Remember, students are not being evaluated by anyone else during this entire process. In the final module students will select a rhetoric writing course as their placement. This course can be the course that was recommended to them, or it can be a different course than what was recommended. The Rhetoric and Language Department will receive students’ final placement choice, but students do not need any approval from our office. Their selected placement choice will be their official rhetoric placement.

Students are auto-enrolled in a DSP Canvas course before they start their first semester. It is ideal for students to complete it either in June for incoming fall students or January for incoming spring students. If students do not complete it during that period or do not see the DSP course in their Canvas app, they may have to contact our office for further instructions at