CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

Catalog Description

Prerequisite: English Placement Test (placement determined by student's score). Instruction in basic writing and reading. Focus on writing processes such as invention, revision, and editing. Use of personal experience and/or observation in writing narrative and expository essays. Graded CR/NC.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop the ability to focus an essay upon a single assertion triggered by a writing prompt

  • Use effective writing process strategies in invention, drafting, revising, and editing

  • Develop critical reading strategies for both narrative and expository prose

  • Use both narrative and expository structures to organize essays

  • Demonstrate fluency by developing essays with sufficient specific detail

  • Revise writing based on criteria articulated in the rubric and feedback from peers and the instructor

  • Edit writing to eliminate major errors in English sentence structure, punctuation, and usage

Requirements

Students are expected to

  • Write 5-7 first draft essays 

  • Substantially revise two of these essays into 2-3 page typed essays for inclusion in the final portfolio

  • Write an in-class essay at the end of the quarter for inclusion in the portfolio

  • Attend a minimum of 80% of the scheduled class sessions

  • Actively participate in prewriting and revision activities during class

  • Read critically and respond informally in writing to assigned readings

Recommended Textbooks

Handbook

If you assign or recommend a handbook, please consider using the following so that students do not have to buy different handbooks over the course of several quarters in the composition program.

The Everyday Writer (4th ed.), edited by Andrea Lunsford (Bedford/St. Martin'’s): A handbook with a strong rhetorical focus; the 4th edition includes 2009 MLA and 2010 APA updates along with other documentation formats.

Texts

No recommended textbooks.

ENGL 095/096 Portfolios

Grading and Portfolio Evaluation

English 095 and 096 are graded Credit or No Credit (CR/NC). Students are evaluated on a portfolio consisting of three writing samples: two essays written during the quarter (revised and edited, with the rough drafts and the original writing prompt attached beneath the final presentation draft), plus a final in-class essay which is administered during the tenth week of classes, usually at the final class meeting. Generally, instructors develop their own prompt for the in-class essay, drawing on topics or themes that they have considered during the quarter.

English 095 and 096 instructors attend a mid-term socialization, usually held on Friday of the fifth week of classes, to read sample portfolios from previous quarters and to develop an understanding of the holistic scoring rubric and portfolio evaluation standards. During the fall quarter, instructors grade portfolios on Friday (English 095) and Saturday (English 096) of the tenth week of classes during an all-day holistic grading session held on campus. During winter and spring quarters, portfolios for both 095 and 096 are read on Friday of the tenth week. Portfolio grades are based upon the entirety of the portfolio and graded holistically, according to rubrics established for each course. (See the Appendices.) End-of-quarter procedures and directions for the portfolios are distributed by the eighth week of the quarter.

Responding to Papers

Instructors are expected to give adequate and specific feedback on student essays through conferences and/or comments on papers. Some instructors do not grade individual essays, but rather guide students in choosing essays and revising them to create a successful portfolio, making it clear that requests for further revision indicate that the essay is not yet ready for the portfolio. By the middle of the quarter, instructors should begin giving students more specific information about the quality of their writing, so students who are not doing passing work are aware of their status. Some instructors use the CR/NC distinction since that is the ultimate decision. Others give a numerical grade based upon the portfolio scoring guide for that course. Whatever their method, most instructors strive to strike a balance between encouraging students and giving them an honest assessment of their work. Students are understandably upset when they believe they have been doing passing work, but then receive a NC grade on their portfolio.

Peer response groups are also recommended as a way of helping students develop their ability to critique essays, of increasing the feedback that students receive, and providing an audience other than the instructor. Many students will benefit from additional tutorial instruction available in the University Writing Center.

English 095 Scoring Guide

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6    Very Strong

The 6 portfolio demonstrates very good writing ability. Revised essays in a 6 portfolio typically

  • exhibit a clear purpose and a strong sense of audience.
  • address the topic clearly and thoughtfully, responding effectively to all aspects of the assignment.
  • are very clearly focused and coherently organized, with main ideas supported by effective reasons and well-chosen examples.
  • show improvement over successive drafts, when necessary.
  • use diction, phrasing, and syntax effectively.
  • are largely free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

The final in-class essay may exhibit less control of language than the revised essays, but will be thoughtful, well-organized, and adequately developed. The student is clearly ready for English 096.

5    Strong

A 5 portfolio demonstrates strong writing ability. Revised essays in a 5 portfolio typically

  • exhibit a sense of purpose and audience
  • address the topic clearly, but may respond to some aspects of the assignment more effectively than others.
  • are clearly focused and organized, with main ideas supported by appropriate reasons and examples.
  • show improvement over successive drafts, when necessary.
  • use diction, phrasing, and syntax correctly and effectively.
  • may have a few errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics, but nothing that confuses or distracts the reader.

The final in-class essay may exhibit less control of language than the revised essays, but overall will be focused, organized, and adequately developed. The student is ready for English 096.

4    Adequate

A 4 portfolio demonstrates adequate writing ability. Revised essays in a 4 portfolio typically

  • exhibit a sense of purpose and audience
  • address the topic adequately, but may respond to some aspects of the assignment less effectively than others.
  • are reasonably well-focused and organized, with main ideas supported by reasons and examples.
  • show improvement over successive drafts.
  • demonstrate basic competence in diction, phrasing, and sentence structure, although there may be some imprecision and/or repetitiveness.
  • may have some errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics, but these will be neither serious enough to confuse nor frequent enough to distract the reader.

The final in-class essay may exhibit less control of language, have occasional lapses of focus, some uneven development, or a mechanical organization, but it will respond to the topic at least minimally or implicitly. The student will benefit from the challenge of English 096.

3    Inadequate

A 3 portfolio demonstrates developing competence, but is flawed in some significant way(s). Revised essays in a 3 portfolio may

  • not exhibit a sense of purpose and audience
  • not address the topic adequately or might neglect aspects of the task.
  • be lacking in focus or unclearly organized; may consist mostly of generalizations without support or details without conclusions.
  • not show meaningful improvement over successive drafts, suggesting the writer does not yet understand how to revise effectively.
  • lack control of diction, phrasing, and sentence structure.
  • lack control of diction, phrasing, and sentence structure.
  • have errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics that are serious enough to confuse or frequent enough to distract the reader.

The final in-class essay often exhibits very limited control of language, and may be marked by lapses of focus, uneven development, and poor organization. The student would benefit from repeating English 095.

2    Very Weak

A 2 portfolio is seriously flawed, and generally is marked by more than one of the following characteristics. Revised essays in a 2 portfolio may

  • not exhibit any sense of purpose or audience
  • significantly misunderstand the topic or neglect important aspects of the task.
  • be incoherently organized or lacking in focus, with inadequate development of ideas.
  • not show meaningful improvement over successive drafts, suggesting the writer's inability to respond to instruction.
  • be confusing in diction, phrasing, and sentence structure.
  • have frequent and serious errors that interfere with meaning.

The final in-class essay often exhibits very limited control of language, and may be marked by lapses of focus, uneven development, and poor organization.

1    Incomplete

A 1 portfolio is incomplete in significant ways (for instance, does not have drafts of essays or other required materials or is missing one or more essays).