CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

Catalog Description

Prerequisite: English Placement Test  (placement determined by student's score) or passing grade in ENGL 095.  Frequent essays based on reading and responding to expository prose;  instruction in expository writing conventions and critical reading strategies.  Graded CR/NC.  Not open to students with credit for this course, an equivalent, or a higher level English composition course.  Students with two NC grades may not enroll again.  No credit toward baccalaureate.

Learning Objectives

  • Write with greater focus by generating a thesis that states a controlling purpose

  • Develop ideas more fully and fluently

  • Read and respond critically to outside texts

  • Analyze personal experiences with specific reference to an outside text

  • Incorporate quotations and paraphrase into essays with correct attribution

  • Use the writing process effectively to develop ideas and substantively revise their essays

  • Edit final drafts to eliminate systematic errors in English sentence structure, mechanics, and usage

Requirements

Students are expected to

  • Write 5-7 first draft essays approximately 2-3 pages in length

  • Develop critical reading strategies for expository texts. Use ideas from the text to analyze or reflect on their experience or observations, either by quoting or paraphrasing, in their assigned essays

  • Substantially revise two of these 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

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 (* recommended for new faculty)

Readers:

* Cohen, 50 Essays 2nd ed. (Bedford/St. Martin'’s)

Just the essays, with minimal apparatus (activities, discussion questions, or writing topics); many good “standard” texts for English 096.

Atwan, America Now 7th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin'’s)

Well-focused, thoughtful, and very up-to-the-minute, this text has many short, provocative readings taken from recent periodicals, arranged into interesting themes.

Borrowman and White, The Promise of America (Pearson Longman)

Brand new and perhaps both a bit long and a bit challenging for English 096, this book nonetheless has many thoughtful essays that could make for an interesting and productive course.  The theme of the text is similar to Rereading America (recommended for English 101). 

Rosa and Eschholz, Models for Writers 9th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin'’s)

The organization of this text is not one that the committee found useful (it was more mechanistic that we prefer), but it contains many good readings appropriate for English 096.

 

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.

ENGL 096 Scoring Guide

Acrobat iconClick here for a printer-friendly version of the ENGL 096 Scoring Guide

English 096 Scoring Guide

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 theses or main ideas supported by insightful reasons and well-chosen examples.
  • meaningfully engage the text or texts through apt and specific references.
  • show improvement over successive drafts, when necessary.
  • use diction, phrasing, and syntax very 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 101.

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 theses or main ideas supported by appropriate reasons and examples.
  • appropriately engage the text or texts.
  • 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 101.

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 theses or main ideas supported by reasons and examples.
  • responds to text or texts in routine and mechanical ways.
  • 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 101.

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.
  • minimally respond to the text or texts; may use the text or texts in a largely irrelevant way; or not respond to texts at all.
  • 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.
  • 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 096.

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.
  • inappropriately respond to text or texts, or may not use the text at all.
  • 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).