CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

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Catalog Description | Learning Objectives
| Requirements | Recommended Textbooks
| ENGL 101 - Guidelines for Evaluating Essays

Catalog Description (back
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Prerequisite: 
English Placement Test or completion of ENGL 096.  Reading and writing to
develop and communicate ideas.  Instruction in basic strategies for
planning, composing, and revising college writing.  Use of authorities,
examples, arguments and facts.  Graded A,B,C/NC.   GE A1

Learning Objectives (back
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  • Learn fundamental rhetorical strategies used to produce
    university-level expository prose, especially
    • modify content and form according to purpose and audience
    • appropriately use authorities, examples, facts, etc. to
      support an argument or position
    • vary stylistic options to achieve different effects
  • Develop effective reading and writing skills
  • Use reading and writing critically as a means of
    generating and exploring ideas
  • Articulate an individual perspective through organizing
    and developing their ideas into a coherent essay
  • Practice strategies for meaningful revision
  • Develop an effective individual writing process
  • Incorporate textual evidence through quotation and
    paraphrase into their essays and appropriately cite their sources
  • Critique their own work and that of peers using the
    conceptual and stylistic conventions of academic discourse
  • Edit final drafts to minimize mechanical/grammatical
    errors and to improve clarity of style

Requirements (back to
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Students are expected to

  • Plan, write, and revise 4
    formal essays approximately 3-4 pages in response to selected readings
  • Read assigned texts
    critically and analytically in preparation for writing assignments
  • Attend a minimum of 80% of
    the scheduled class sessions
  • Actively participate in
    prewriting and revision activities as well as in other activities that
    encourage conceptual development and an enhanced sense of audience

Recommended Textbooks (back
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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:

*Colombo, Cullen, and Lisle,
Rereading America 7th
ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

Arranged
on themes of American myths, this text offers many controversial,
thought-provoking readings (some quite long, some shorter) questioning the
“American Dream”; it has good discussion questions and a helpful
Instructor’s Manual, though the suggested writing topics may not be
appropriate for English 101.

Berndt and Muse, Composing
a Civic Life
(Pearson Longman)

A
rhetoric and reader, this text has chapters on critical literacy, research, and
argument, and compelling, interesting readings arranged around themes of
community.

Goshgarian, Exploring
Language
11th ed. (Pearson Longman)

Despite
the focus on language, the breadth and depth of the readings and the themes into
which they are arranged make this book very appropriate and useful for English
101; good discussion questions for each reading and each chapter, though the
suggestions for writing may not be appropriate for English 101.

Maasik and Solomon, Signs
of Life
5th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

The
classic semiotic/pop culture reader, this text has many provocative, challenging
readings and images (photographs and advertisements) as well as helpful
apparatus.

Selzer and Carpini, Conversations
6th ed. (Pearson Longman)

Thoughtful,
challenging readings and visuals in standard but thoughtfully arranged
freshman-comp themes, this text has a helpful introduction to each chapter and
background on each reading, but no other apparatus (an Instructor’s Manual and
companion website are available).

ENGL 101—Guidelines for Evaluating Essays (back
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)

In English 101, students compose academic essays that
explore and analyze various perspectives on important issues. In these essays,
students engage with one or preferably more texts (broadly defined to include
film and other media) to support their ideas. In dealing with complex issues and
ideas, the student writer should acknowledge that complexity and avoid
simplistic analyses. The guidelines below describe the criteria for evaluating
an essay as A, B, C, or NC (no credit). Pluses and minuses may be used to make
finer qualitative distinctions between letter grades.

The "A"
essay:

·        
presents and sustains a controlling thesis or point of view in a
clear, critical, and persuasive manner

·        
is coherently, logically, and effectively organized through
well-developed paragraphs that are unified by specific, vivid, and appropriate
details

·        
demonstrates a substantial, in-depth understanding of the text(s)
being employed

·        
analyzes ideas and issues using well-chosen examples and evidence
drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own knowledge and
insights

·        
successfully uses sophisticated diction and sentence structure for
rhetorical effect

·        
contains very few or no errors in grammar, spelling, or
punctuation

·        
clearly stands out in terms of its conceptual development,
rhetorical structure, insight, and language control

 

The "B"
essay:

·        
presents and sustains a controlling thesis or point of view in a
clear, persuasive manner

·        
is coherently and logically organized through well-developed
paragraphs that are unified by specific and appropriate details

·        
demonstrates a reasonably good understanding of the text(s) being
employed

·        
analyzes ideas and issues using well-chosen examples and evidence
drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own knowledge and
insights

·        
generally uses sophisticated diction and sentence structure for
rhetorical effect

·        
typically contains a few grammatical errors but none that
interfere with meaning

·        
while clearly a solid piece of writing, lacks the insight, depth
of analysis, and control of language found in the "A" paper

 

The "C"
essay:

·        
presents and generally sustains a controlling thesis or point of
view in a fairly clear manner

·        
is coherently organized through paragraphs that contain specific
and appropriate details

·        
demonstrates a basic understanding of the text(s) being employed

·        
contains some analysis of ideas and issues using examples and
evidence drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own
knowledge and insights

·        
uses diction and sentence structure to adequately convey meaning

·        
contains errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, but they are
not serious or frequent enough to obscure meaning

·        
adequately fulfills the assignment

 

The "NC"
essay contains one or more of the following problems:

·        
no clear thesis and/or focus

·        
poor or unclear organization, logic, coherence, or inadequate
paragraph development

·        
little analysis of issues, indicating an inability to examine an
issue critically

·        
little effort to refer to text(s) or failure to integrate them
appropriately into the essay

·        
overgeneralizations or irrelevancies; inappropriate, confusing, or
inaccurate examples

·        
weakness in word choice and/or sentence structure that obscures
meaning

·        
numerous grammatical and mechanical errors that interfere with
meaning