Running head: FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
1
The Beginning Freshman English Composition Sequence including Developmental
Coursework at Shawnee State University: A Curriculum Analysis
Deborah R. Davis
Shawnee State University
Department of Teacher Education
Advisor – Dr. Valerie Myers
March 17, 2011
Candidate for Masters of Education, Curriculum & Instruction
As of 2/8/2016 10:50:17 PM
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
2
Abstract
This analysis explores the various Freshman Composition courses provided at Shawnee
State University and the extent to which they meet the requirements outlined in the
guidelines of the Ohio Board of Regents directives which flowed from the Ohio Board of
Regents placement summit of March, 2007. This analysis is conducted amidst the
backdrop of concerns regarding the extensive remedial and developmental English needs
at this and other universities nationwide. An analysis of the varying methods of
placement and curricula achievements at comparative universities is provided for
reference. Further discussion includes the implications of placement, describes various
types of developmental/remedial/gatekeeping courses, and examines the factors affected
by placement/retention in these courses. Further, this effort reflects a comparative
analysis of the standard Freshman Composition and Discourse program in both parts
(English 1101 and 1102), as well as the developmental writing courses and provides
review of the efforts to provide the best possible compositional foundation to students
matriculating at this university.
Keywords: Freshman Composition – Remedial English – Remedial Reading – Freshman
Writing – Placement Testing – Gatekeeper Courses – College Remediation – College
Readiness – Developmental Courses – Developmental Reading – Developmental Writing
– Developmental English – Postsecondary Remediation – College Preparedness –
Curriculum Analysis
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
3
Table of Contents
Abstract ............................................................................................................................... 2
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 4
Overview ......................................................................................................................... 5
Table 1.1 .......................................................................................................................... 7
Table 1.2 .......................................................................................................................... 7
Research Question ........................................................................................................... 8
Literature Review................................................................................................................ 9
Why are freshman-level writing courses critical to student success in college? ............ 9
How large is the gap between high school achievement and . . .? ................................ 11
What is being done to resolve these concerns? ............................................................. 15
How does an analysis of developmental course curricula contribute to . . . ? ............ 21
Methodology and Design .................................................................................................. 25
Data Analysis & Interpretation ......................................................................................... 31
Contextual Information and Framework ....................................................................... 31
Table 4.1 ........................................................................................................................ 33
Goals, grading and exit requirements ............................................................................ 34
Table 4.2 ........................................................................................................................ 37
Table 4.3 ........................................................................................................................ 38
Guidelines from the Institution or its Hierarchy ........................................................... 49
Faculty Leeway and Assessment Methods.................................................................... 50
Other Program-Related Information ............................................................................. 51
Summary, Discussion, and Application ............................................................................ 52
Recommendations ......................................................................................................... 55
Summary ....................................................................................................................... 56
References ......................................................................................................................... 59
Index to Tables .................................................................................................................. 63
Index to Appendices ......................................................................................................... 64
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
4
Introduction
Freshman English Composition at Shawnee State University
The need to provide an equitable foundation in English Writing skills nearly
equates to a freshman “rite of passage.” Virtually all college students have composed the
foundational essays that form the basis of writing requirements that will be elaborated
upon within the varying disciplines. Shawnee State University is no different in that
regard. In most University programs, including Shawnee State, there are courses
provided for those who do not meet the requirements anticipated at the freshman writing
level. At this University, the courses are indicated in the course catalog as:
 ENGL 0095 – Basic Writing 1: Mechanics
o A student who earns an English subscore of 10 or lower is placed in
English 0095 (a developmental writing course that does not count towards
graduation).
 ENGL 0096 – Basic Writing 2: Paragraphs and Essays
o A student who earns an English subscore of 11-18 is placed in English
0096 (a developmental writing course that does not count towards
graduation requirements).
 ENGL 0097 – Reading Development 1
 ENGL 0098 – Reading Development 2
 While the Reading Development courses are important and pertinent to many
issues, they are not directly related to the writing requirements and will not be
addressed within this project.
Regarding placement, the university catalog states:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
5
The university placement policy is prerequisite to enrolling in ENGL 1101 or
ENGL 1102. Students completing developmental courses are required to pass not
only the course itself but also the course exit exam before enrolling in
ENGL1101. The composition sequence (ENGL 1101 or 1102, and 1105) is a
prerequisite for advanced coursework in English (including the civilization and
literature series) (Shawnee State University [SSU], 2007, p. 219).
However, consequent to the placement policy, the courses indicated above as the
composition sequence are frequently required for completion of University General
Education Program (GEP), Transfer Module, and advanced coursework in many majors.
As such, the freshman student entering Shawnee State may have to take one of the above
“developmental” programs prior to beginning the composition sequence.
The purpose of this curriculum analysis is to look at the curricula for the
developmental writing classes to determine if the curricula provided meet the implied
requirement of preparing the student for ENGL 1101 or 1102 -- the freshman English
writing course – Discourse and Composition. Through this analysis, it is hoped that there
will be clarification of the sequence of writing coursework objectives from
developmental through the composition sequence. Beyond that, this analysis will provide
a rationale for the necessity of the currently tiered program or identify alternatives as may
be suggested by other state and university systems.
Overview
Shawnee State appears to be on par with many American universities in providing
a combination of developmental English programs and freshman composition programs.
A recent study shows “nearly 30 percent of four-year students and 60 percent of those
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
6
who attend community college are forced to take noncredit remedial courses because,
despite their high-school diplomas, they lack basic skills in reading and math” (Carey,
2010, p. 2).
An analysis of English composition seats at Shawnee State University indicates a
similar pattern. For this analysis, the enrollment period for the 2010-2011 academic year
is considered. Table 1.1 outlines the available seating for developmental courses and the
beginning of the composition sequence for the Fall, 2010 semester. Below it, table 1.2
outlines the available seating for both developmental and standards composition
coursework for the Spring, 2011 term.
In the Fall, of the nearly 900 seats available for standards composition, 88% were
filled. Of the 674 seats available for developmental freshman composition, 572 (85%)
were filled. Therefore, of the total seats occupied in Fall (1368), 41.8% were filled with
developmental composition students. In the Spring, a total of 809 seats were filled with
composition students, and 41.2% (334) of those were developmental composition
students. For the year, therefore, a total of 2177 students were registered for freshman
composition, with 906 registered for developmental composition, a tally of 41.6%.
Some states are addressing the issue of remedial coursework required prior to
college level coursework, and others address the issue at the college level. In Ohio, and
more specifically at Shawnee State University, the issue is addressed through remedial
coursework such as the developmental sequence of above described courses. The
question then arises, are the remedial courses preparing students to move forward through
the composition sequence so as to be prepared for required Freshman-level compositions
sequence? This is the central question of this curriculum analysis.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
7
Table 1.1
Fall 2010 available course seats
Course Number & Name
Seats
Filled
Empty
ENGL 0095 – Basic Writing 1: Mechanics
66
54
12
ENGL 0096 – Basic Writing 2:
608
518
90
ENGL 1101 – Discourse and Composition (A)
738
654
84
ENGL 1102 – Discourse and Composition (B)
140
128
12
ENGL 1102 – Discourse and Composition (Honors)
20
14
6
Seats
Filled
Empty
ENGL 0095 – Basic Writing 1: Mechanics
26
25
1
ENGL 0096 – Basic Writing 2:
316
309
7
ENGL 1101 – Discourse and Composition (A)
480
455
25
ENGL 1102 – Discourse and Composition (B)
20
20
0
ENGL 1102 – Discourse and Composition (Honors)
0
0
0
Paragraphs and Essays
0.1.1
Table 1.2
Spring 2011 available course seats
Course Number & Name
Paragraphs and Essays
Table 1.0.2
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
8
Research Question
Does the curriculum provided to the Shawnee State University freshman-level
students enrolled in developmental writing classes meet the entry level curriculum needs
for the required composition sequence, and more specifically, English 1101 – Discourse
and Composition?
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
9
Literature Review
One of the biggest issues of concern with regard to any curriculum is the
functionality of the curriculum for readying students to move forward with their
education. The need for remediation coursework in colleges and universities is well
documented nationwide (Carey 2010, and Attewell, Lavin, Domina & Levey 2006, and
Cline, Bissell, Hafner & Katz, 2007). A trend toward a lack of college readiness has
predicated the need for developmental or gatekeeping courses. If students were better
prepared upon arrival at institutions of higher learning, the entire developmental program
would be rendered moot. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Therefore, in order to
understand the issue of coursework that is less than college freshman level composition
sequence requirements, it is important to gain a framework of the entire question of
remediation. To do this, it is important to look at several questions.
 Why are freshman-level writing courses critical to student success in college?
 How large is the gap between high school achievement and college readiness
and what causes it?
 What is construed as readiness, and why is it critical that college freshmen
have adequate readiness for entry to the composition sequence?
 What is being done to resolve these concerns?
 How does an analysis of developmental course curricula contribute to
alleviating these concerns?
Why are freshman-level writing courses critical to student success in college?
Jenkins, Jaggars and Roksa (2009), note that the successful completion of collegelevel English and math are “important both because they are generally required for
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
10
degree programs and because their attainment is associated with increased chances of
earning a credential” (p. 12). This leads these researchers to an exploration of “why
some students take and pass gatekeeper courses while others do not, and to identify
strategies colleges can use to increase students’ success in these gatekeepers and beyond
(p. 12).” Cline, Bissell, Hafner & Katz (2007) suggest the need to develop “habits of
mind”—engaging the students in problem-solving, analytical research, and supported
interpretations and critical reasoning—thus helping students succeed in advanced level
work (p. 31).
Chen (2010) elaborates on the importance of learning strategies as they apply to
knowledge levels. Chen’s study provides data regarding cognitive style and student
conceptions and misconceptions regarding the gatekeeping coursework (p. 297). As
stated within that body of work, “to learn effectively, students must organize and link
their prior knowledge with new knowledge. Students who are unable to link new
knowledge with prior knowledge have problems understanding, recalling, and accessing
the new knowledge later” (p. 289). Without this linkage, students will face greater
challenges in future educational endeavors. Students may have learned knowledge, facts,
and issues in high school, but the ability to link them with future knowledge seems to be
lacking. These links are established fully through the freshman foundation coursework at
the college level in English and math, where prior teachings are reviewed lightly, and
new methods and applications are presented.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
11
How large is the gap between high school achievement and college readiness and
what causes it?
Cline, Bissell, Hafner & Katz explain that “Statistics show that the dropout rate at
the university level is significantly higher among those who arrive at college
academically under prepared [sic]” (p. 30). Such an observation may seem patently
obvious, but students “often struggle in their first year as they attempt to meet strict
college readiness requirements, often requiring a year or more of remediation” (p. 31).
Olson (2006) tells about students drawn from the top third of high school
graduates, among whom “47 percent” were identified as needing remedial English
instruction (p. 27). As Carey (2010) explains, “despite their high-school diplomas, they
lack basic skills in reading and math” (p. A30).
However, as Jacobson (2006) notes,
successful work in college level courses depends on good high school preparation (p.
138).
Perhaps one of the most surprising reports about readiness issues was detailed by
Perkins-Gough (2008) where over 80 percent of students evaluated noted they had done
most all high school work, taken the most challenging high school courses, earned grade
point averages (GPAs) of 3.0 or higher and basically thought themselves ready for
college coursework (p. 88). Still, however, they were placed into remedial classes
because the placement tests did not reflect the knowledge base required.
Despite the perceptions of the high school graduates who believe they are collegeready, much literature has been written about whether or not high school graduates are
ready for college. Katsinas & Bush (2006) wrote a detailed article “Assessing What
Matters: Improving College Readiness 50 Years Beyond Brown” in which arguments
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
12
about the [then] new No Child Left Behind Act were addressed. They suggested that the
“trajectory from secondary schools into higher education” is an “elusive goal” (p. 772),
especially for minority students. The students represented in this study are presented as
impaired by the “internal pressure at so many schools resulting from an emphasis on wall
charts” (p. 781). This implies that students are spending so much time on standards that
they do not have time to learn the context of the material, and consequently, they are not
being prepared for higher learning skills.
Katsinas and Bush (2006) address placement exams and the “quality of the testtakers’ college preparation” (p. 777). They note that a lack of college level course work
leads to the natural consequence of an unprepared graduate (p. 777). While the Katsinas
and Bush article presents a focus on under-privileged and minority students, there is a
broader application to those in the rural areas as well.
However, even before the open enrollment boom of the 1960s, there were
students in need of remedial teaching as noted by McGann (1947). Her study showed
marked improvement upon remedial instruction, particularly among boys (p. 502). Her
focus on remedial coursework as a place for students to accrue maturity and receive
guidance is supported by the current work of George (2010), who puts the remedial
program in the position of “gatekeeper, entrusted with students whose academic and
social advancement has been put in jeopardy because they failed a test” (p. 83).
In an article entitled “Closing the College Readiness Gap,” Cline, Bissell, Hafner,
and Katz (2007) questioned whether the problem of college readiness goes beyond just
fulfilling eligibility requirements The realization that “meeting basic eligibility
requirements for college may not equate to being prepared for college-level work” is the
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
13
focus of their report (p. 30). This study also reminds us that “the dropout rate at the
university level is significantly higher among those who arrive at college academically
underprepared” (p. 30). They further note that “the need for remediation at the postsecondary level, even for those students who enter as fully qualified, has become
increasingly worrisome” (p. 31).
Jacobsen (2006) discusses the dichotomy of higher standards and greater
problems, noting that while most students will perform at a higher standard if required,
those who are unprepared academically may end up falling to the wayside in an
increasing gap. Perkins-Gough (2008) expressed concerns about students who are not
prepared, presenting the same conclusions as Brock (2010) and Jacobsen (2006), a loss of
the unprepared. Callahan & Chumney (2009), like Olson and Gerwertz (2006, 2010),
discussed positioning remedial students for success and suggest that a more stringent
method of preparation will set them in a better position for achievement.
George (2010) focuses on remedial mathematics education, but his points are well
made with respect to remedial English education as well. His focus is largely on
motivation, ethics, social context, and “choices that extend beyond the domain (p. 82)”
and not just within the field of mathematics. He references the position of remedial
professor as a “gatekeeper, entrusted with students whose academic and social
advancement has been put in jeopardy because they failed a [mathematics] placement
examination” (p. 83). Another pertinent point from George is that “many students’
experiences in public schools involved being “passed along” despite expending very little
effort” (p. 85). This has allowed these students not to develop the skills needed to
succeed at the college level. Not only do the students whose grade point averages are
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
14
low fall within this bracket; the true pity in this issue is that it is true for many students of
widely varying capabilities and scores.
Zajacova, Lynch & Espenshade (2005) place the burden of capability squarely
within the realm of self-efficacy. This view focuses on “academic self-efficacy rather
than generalized self-efficacy, where academic self-efficacy refers to students’
confidence in their ability to carry out such academic tasks as preparing for exams and
writing term papers” (p. 679). This is compounded by stress, which they define as “when
external demands tax or exceed a person’s adaptive abilities” (p. 679). They also quote
Perrine noting, “stress has also been identified as a factor negatively affecting persistence
for college freshmen” (p. 679).
What is construed as readiness, and why is it critical that college freshmen have
adequate readiness for entry to the composition sequence?
Conley (2008) presented an article on “Rethinking College Readiness” where he
addressed variance in high school preparedness and the consequences. Here he explains
that “A key problem is that the current measures of college preparation are limited in
their ability to communicate to students and educators the true range of what students
must do to be fully ready to succeed in college” (p. 3). He expresses concern that these
current measures are merely the conventional standard of courses taken and grades
received. This is indicated as short-sighted and a far more complex model is presented.
In his model, the “college-ready student is able to understand what is expected in a
college course, can cope with the content knowledge that is presented, and can develop
the key intellectual lessons and dispositions the course is designed to convey” (p. 4).
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
15
“Exactly what constitutes ‘college-level work’ is by no means clear” (Attewell et
al., 2006, p. 887). Still, best defined by Conley (2008), readiness is “the degree to which
previous educational and personal experiences have equipped [students] for the
expectations and demands they will encounter in college” (p. 7). Conley suggested that
the concept is based on “four facets: key cognitive strategies, key content knowledge,
academic behaviors, and contextual skills and knowledge” (p. 3).
Cline, Bissell, Hafner & Katz (2007) allow that the focus should be on “preparing
students to succeed in college-level work rather than on fulfilling basic eligibility
requirements that are primarily course- and grade-based.” Cline, et al. construe the
problem in terms of the “50 percent of entering freshmen system wide [who] need
remediation in English or mathematics.” Those 50 percent are out of the 33 percent of
high school seniors who “should be eligible to enter the California State University
system” (p. 30). Yang (2010) concurs strongly that “Many students who register for
undergraduate study are under-prepared for university education.” The focus of Yang’s
study is on reading, and the lack of strategies or strategic intent. However, it is likely that
the same can be said of college writing.
The desire to close the gap, as expressed by Cline, et al., is echoed extensively by
Katsinas and Bush (2006). They define readiness as “a seamless system that improves
articulation and degree completion, and that promotes a positive trajectory from our
nation’s secondary schools into higher education” (p. 772).
What is being done to resolve these concerns?
The ability for students to successfully matriculate to college and complete the
first year without remediation is a harbinger for success through commencement.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
16
Beyond that, it is found that students who are challenged through high school will have
greater success, not only in college but in life. Two approaches to the lack of college
readiness are improved instruction in high school and remedial courses in college.
However, college remediation has become so commonplace that some college professors
and administrators question whether more should be done to prepare students prior to
their entering the college setting. On the other hand, “supporters of developmental
education … construe the controversy over remediation as an attack on access to
college.” The concern is then raised that “policies that prevent students who need
remedial/developmental work from enrolling in four-year colleges could greatly reduce
the likelihood that such students would ever obtain bachelor’s degrees” (Attewell et al,
2006, p. 887).
With regard to the improved high school instruction approach, Conley (2008)
advises that students be challenged throughout their academic careers. Further, he notes
that key cognitive strategies, academic knowledge, academic behaviors, and information
and its access, are critical elements to success (p. 7-10). “College knowledge is
distributed inequitably in society” (p. 10). His baseline conclusion is that students who
want to be college ready need to be set a standard of readiness, not just eligibility. The
skills to “read eight to ten books in the same time that a high school class requires only
one or two” is a critical element. Another is to “write multiple papers in rapid succession
. . . well reasoned, well organized, and well supported . . . .” He contrasts this with high
school where “students may write one or two research papers at most throughout all of
high school and may take weeks or months to do so” (p. 5). Many who are eligible are
unready.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
17
Gewertz (2010), suggests the construct of common standards for college
preparatory classes, which is pertinent because they lay out a set of readiness skills that
students could be expected to master by high school graduation (p. 1). These skills cover
every area of academia, and in the English section, contain hundreds of pages of
appendices of “at least adequate” performance at varying grade levels (p. 2).
Cline, Bissell, Hafner, & Katz (2007) describe a program, incorporated in high
schools in California that encompasses curriculum options, professional development for
educators, and assessment methods (p. 31). “Students are encouraged to think
rhetorically,” and they develop an ability to respond appropriately (p. 31). Assessments
improved markedly under the new curriculum as administered by the newly trained
educators. Consequently, students were better prepared for college, and more successful,
requiring little to no remediation (p. 32). Students in the study showed “a significant
increase on the statewide test in English language arts. The gains among these students
[using the new curriculum and newly trained educators] were almost four times as large
as the statewide gain and more than twice as large as found in control schools” (p. 32).
The resulting impact on college readiness was an elimination of remedial programming at
the University level, and a reduction of classes at the community college level.
According to Katsinas and Bush (2007), “about 2/3 of high school graduates go
on to college” (p. 780). In the article the authors address the matter that “the assessment
mechanism drives system performance” (p. 781). The intense problem, also presented, is
“the internal pressure” and focus on “micro-outcomes such as standardized, in-classroom
test scores” (p. 781). The authors recommend an emphasis on “larger macro level
indicators associated with . . . positive outcomes of high school” (p. 781). Meeting these
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
18
macro-level indicators would be better associated with students developing the types of
positive outcomes needed for college readiness.
Carey (2010) suggests that “states should be required to offer remedial placement
exams to all high-school students, without charge, at the end of the 11th grade” (p. A30).
This would fit well with Gewertz’s (2010) recommendation of a construct of common
standards for college preparatory classes so that completing high school English
programs would clearly prepare students to move forward into college English (p. 14).
Olson (2010) and Carey (2010) describe a program in California in which those who need
the help, as evaluated at the end of eleventh grade, can get it in grade 12, using a program
“developed jointly by high school teachers and CSU faculty members” (p. 27 & A31).
Brock (2010), however, believes that the solution is at the college level. He
presents an idea to “remake remedial education so that greater numbers of students
acquire basic skills and go on to earn college degrees” (p. 116). Attewell, et al. (2006)
points out that there is a positive influence in that “those students who do complete some
remedial coursework may have superior prospects of graduating” (p. 892). Callahan &
Chumney (2009) studied the mindset of students in both two and four-year college
remediation programs, and learned that the program at the four-year institution
encouraged students to “acquire a habitus of what is required to be successful” at college.
This habitus presented by Callahan & Chumney (2009) is what Katsinas & Bush
(2009) tem a “culture of engagement” and is what Dr. David Swinton (Holsendolph,
2005) terms a “culture of effort,” which is captured in his program of “Success Equals
Effort (SEE).” There, student grades in the first two years are actually calculated on a
rubric which incorporates not only objective success, but allows a substantial (60%)
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
19
apportionment to be based on a student’s effort (p. 30-33). He does, however, allow that
“adult remediation programs have a poor track record” (p. 33). Brock (2010), despite his
positive outlook on college remediation, specifically notes that “research and anecdotal
evidence suggest that many students who are assigned to remedial education drop out of
the classes (and often out of college) and that those who remain make slow progress” (p.
116).
George (2010) recommends keeping remedial students in school to ensure their
motivation within the classes and to monitor their progress (p. 88). Clearly, it is part of
the instructor’s challenge to motivate students, and to some extent that challenge can be
viewed solely within the context of teaching in its pure form. Pedagogical methodology
and style may in themselves be factors that motivate students by making the material
interesting and exciting (p. 84). He further suggests that “where student motivation enters
the realm of ethics is in those motivational potentialities that extend beyond teaching” (p.
85). To that end, he addressed “motivation by intervention” wherein the instructor
directly endeavors to engage the individual student. Further, he encourages “motivation
by policy” where the institution has some governing directive involving course grading,
credit, or exit policies.
Carey (2010) provides data on how many students are assigned to remedial
coursework upon college entry. He indicates that “nearly 30 percent of four-year
students and 60 percent of those who attend community college are forced to take
noncredit remedial courses because, despite their high-school diplomas, they lack basic
skills in reading and math” (p. A30). He notes that students are shocked to find
themselves in remedial coursework and explains that remedial placement is “highly
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
20
associated with an increased risk of dropping out [of college]” (p. A31). Olson (2006)
suggests ways to preclude remediation by better preparation. Like Carey (2010), Olson
recognizes the value of early placement testing to determine needs for remediation from
within the high school years. Were this program implemented nationwide, the entire
question of remediation at the college level would become moot.
In an early assessment of the role of college remediation vs. expanded high school
coursework, McGann (1947) suggested that students unready for a collegiate experience
need further tutelage and perhaps maturity to be successful in college. Her work was
groundbreaking in that it fell on the cusp of the vastly expanded Government Issue
Educational Benefits Bill (GI-Bill). The GI-Bill opened the doors of the Universities
nationwide to veterans who may never have anticipated college, and also those who had
been out of school for years. Her instruction methods detailed the efficacy of a remedial
program, applied to adult students (even younger adults) and the greater success that
followed (p. 501). Suddick (1982) found value in the use of college assessment tests,
including the American College Testing Program (ACT), Scholastic Aptitude Test
(SAT), and Test of Standard Written English (TSWE), for upper division students that
had previously been used only for freshman entrance evaluations. The testing program
review led to a program that eliminated fundamental English classes for some students
while expanding them for others based on test scores.
Suddick (1982) further suggests that “students identified as deficient in their entry
level English usage can be provided instruction to enhance their skills and thus to elevate
their academic performance.” Perhaps even more important, he construes that the
additional instruction leads to the “norming population median” (p. 369). It must also be
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
21
considered, as presented by Wilson (n.d.), that “Writing, whose process and product are
organic, does not lend itself to quantifiable measurement.” This presents a challenge to
those who analyze placement criteria and lends itself to a greater need for an expanded
measurement method.
While learning disabilities do not always apply to remediation, Cowden (2010)
gives an excellent analysis that does apply. He suggests that students learn in differing
methods, manners, and patterns, and that those with learning disabilities need particular
instruction in overcoming those disabilities. The reality is that all students learn in
differing methods, manners, and patterns. While some colleges/universities apply the
same structure and same tests to all incoming students, the individual learning methods of
the students are not considered nor developed.
How does an analysis of developmental course curricula contribute to alleviating
these concerns?
Perkins-Gough (2008) presents an effective argument for a “more efficient K-16”
program. This is particularly interesting in light of the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR)
2005 analysis of a need for K-16 performance, and subsequent work with the Ohio
Department of Education (ODE) on such a program. Evaluating the curriculum presents
opportunity to guide the curriculum at Shawnee State to help support the K-16 alignment
presented by the ODE.
These articles may have different foci, but the emphasis is the same. There is a
difference between “eligible” for college and “ready” for college. When President
George W. Bush said “We expect every child to learn” (Katsinas and Bush, 2006, p.
784), no one could disagree with that statement, but no one wanted classrooms mired in
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
22
testing requirements and paperwork. While Katsinas and Bush (2006) were directing their
work to the advances made and not made in the minority education community, their
points about the distribution of students leaving high school stand equally valid among all
– work, college, military, incarceration, or unemployment are the options (p. 772).
Conley’s recommendation that “high schools and colleges can use the same language to
communicate what it takes” (p. 12) is well taken. As Conley states, “Making certain that
they are not just eligible but prepared will help students achieve their goals and help
colleges function more effectively” (p. 12).
Cline, Bissell, Hafner & Katz’s (2007) presentation, that schools should “work
together to ensure equitable opportunities for all students (p. 33),” would allow for
students to be well prepared for college. The whole focus of this article is on the
California State University (CSU) system effort to “increase the college and career
readiness rates of highs school students” (p. 31). Together, CSU representatives worked
with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education to
determine the level of readiness among students ending tenth and eleventh grade. Then, a
curriculum is prepared to ready those students who are indicated as would have been
placed in remedial coursework at the college level. In doing so, the CSU program has
reduced the requirement to provide remedial coursework to a minimum (p. 32).
Cowden (2010) points out that “the ability to learn is an important life skill” (p. 230).
While this may seem an obvious statement, Cowden explores that ability as represented
in reading skills. The consequence of his study determines that higher reading skills,
including fluency, comprehension, and abstract thinking, are critical elements for
advanced classroom work (p. 232). Further, he explores how these reading skills impact
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
23
testing and placement. This is the same foundation echoed by the Ohio Board of Regents
when they designate that high school credit and graduation should be administered based
on “A means of assessing high school students’ college and work readiness, especially in
English and mathematics” (Ohio Board of Regents, 2007. p. 9).
As George (2010) reminds us, “It is one thing to help clarify the process through
which the material in the course is mastered, and it is another to personally compel the
student to comply with that process” (p. 85). Brock (2010) points out a flaw in the image
of the educational pipeline, detailing the myriad of twists, turns, and obstructions which
can detour a swiftly flowing river. His work elaborates on the changes in the college
community following World War II, and the introduction of less prepared students. He
ties his argument for pursuing higher education to wages and an increased pay scale for
college graduates that expanded dramatically between 1950 and 1975 (p. 111). Brock
further presents the range of remedial coursework required at between 24 and 42 percent
of the college population, depending on institution (p. 116). Those students who were
fostered and guided into college remedial education programs showed only marginal
improvement in grades and course completion over those who were simply required to
take the remedial programs after two (p. 118). However, completion rates at the fouryear level showed a marked (12%) difference in those same students. Olson (2010)
quotes Keith O. Boyum, CSU’s associate vice chancellor for academic affairs saying,
“students who arrive prepared and experience early success are more likely to follow
through to graduation, to succeed, and all that good stuff” (p. 27).
Still, concerns exist due to the convolutions of individuality. As presented by
Horn & Campbell. (2009), “Some research suggests the number of developmental classes
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
24
a student is required to take negatively relates with the likelihood of completion” (p.
514). Bahr (2010) tells us, however, that “Remedial English students who attain collegelevel English competency . . . are comparable to students who achieve college-level
English skill without remediation” (p. 190). Unfortunately, Attewell (2006) reminds us
that “there is no objective or generally agreed upon cut-off below which college students
require remediation. Each college follows its own set of practices, and this leads to
considerable variability” (p. 887).
All of these issues coalesce to provide background to the questions presented
herein regarding our curricula at Shawnee State. Is what are we doing for our freshman
writers providing the solid, contiguous foundation needed for advanced academic
prowess? Since the research suggests that students entering college are not ready for
college, and there are ways to make the effort more fluid between the high school and
college achievements. It is important to consider whether the curriculum we provide
supports those students or if that coursework need to be realigned.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
25
Methodology and Design
This paper is designed to analyze the curriculum prescribed for entry level
students at Shawnee State University to present and evaluate options as to whether the
curriculum aids students in the foundational English skills needed to succeed throughout
the college careers. The texts directed for use, the hierarchy which oversees the selection
of texts, and sample curriculum templates that professors are provided will all be
analyzed.
A curriculum analysis is not the same kind of research as a qualitative analysis of
specific questions and numeric answers. A “White Paper” by Newberry & Kueker
(2008) asks, “How do you Recognize a Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum?” While that
document is designed for work in science and mathematics curricula, many of the
methods apply to all curricula. Foremost is the opening comment. “Selecting and
implementing rigorous and relevant curricula is paramount to success in today’s
education climate” (p. 1).
Implementation of this type of research requires a rigorous review of developed
course content and materials provided to the faculty and the indicated or guided
presentation of same to students. Evaluation of assessment methods should lead to
suggestions for alternative options if appropriate. Important questions that will guide this
review are:
 Do described curricula for ENGL 0095 (Basic Writing 1: Mechanics) and
0096 (Basic Writing 2: Paragraphs and Essays) provide the appropriate
practice and emphasis indicated in the Shawnee State University catalog such
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
26
that students enter ENGL 1101 or 1102 fully prepared to be successful in one
of these two courses?
 Is curricular overlap sufficient to meet the readiness needs of future courses,
or simply redundant?
Shawnee State University, like most institutions of higher learning, is broken into
Colleges. Within the College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of English and the
Humanities. Within this Department resides the Division of Composition and
Developmental English (CDE). At least annually, the Division publishes a document that
contains an overview of the required courses, program policies and resources, and
syllabus templates for each course. The instructions within this document specifically
indicate that “it is vital that the core syllabus for each section of these courses be the
same” (CDE, 2010, p. 3). Following this dictate, these are the syllabi that will be used in
the analysis of the curricula for these courses. Analysis will be applied, in sequence, to
English 0095, 0096, 1101, and 1102. These syllabus templates are attached to this
document in appendices.
Goals are noted within each of these syllabus templates. The goals of ENGL
0095 and ENGL 0096 are to prepare the student for ENGL 0096 and ENGL 1101
respectively. The “goals and objectives for English 1101 are based on the Council of
Writing Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition and
on the University System of Ohio’s Outcomes for English Composition” (CDE, 2010, p.
30). The same is true of ENGL 1102, which is, however, an “accelerated introduction to
college composition” (p. 33). While the syllabus templates for many of the classes do not
detail the placement requirements, the indicators on the ENGL 0096 syllabus presents
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
27
that it is designed for “students who earn 11-18 on the English ACT subscore” (p. 20).
While students may take ACT or SAT tests as many times as they and their families
choose, the COMPASS test is offered for free at the school testing center, and is therefore
limited in opportunities to an annual even or within courses. Further, the catalog points
out that while “ordinarily, a student may take the placement test only once, a student may
petition for the opportunity to challenge his or her placement by filling out the ‘Request
for Retest’ form” (p. 20). A review of the records in the testing center reflects that for the
last several years there have been no requests for retests. Discussion with teachers of
these courses indicates that mention in the syllabus of the retest option is unexpected to
the students.
The students have this information in the school catalog, and are given this
information at their brief orientation program and at group registration. However, the
reality of the number of things they must process at those times indicated a likelihood
that the retest option simply does not register. Then when it is addressed in class, the
students express surprise at the information, yet are unwilling to pursue the change.
In that a detailed search and repeated requests to the Ohio Department of
Education and the Ohio Board of Regents indicate that Ohio has no set standard for
Curriculum Analysis, this analysis will be conducted in accordance with the standards of
the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Curriculum Analysis Report (CAR)
Reviewer’s Guide (West Virginia Department of Education, Department of Educator
Certification [WVDE], 2010). Among the many details in the Reviewer’s Guide, is a
specific format for the CAR. That format is a guideline for program review and will be
adapted to provide this analysis by course. This process will be repeated for each of the
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
28
courses evaluated. While ENGL 0095 and 0096 are handled separately, ENGL 1101 and
1102 are parallel structures and will be handled collectively. The difference between
them is the number of in-class hours.
For ENGL 1101, those students with ACT English subscore of 19 but less than 24
will enroll in this five unit class, thereby spending five hours per week in a supervised
instruction setting. For ENGL 1102, those students whose ACT English subscore meets
or exceeds 24 may enroll in this three unit class, meeting all the same curricular
requirements, but with two hours per week less of supervised instruction.
Elements considered during the analysis process include (1) Contextual
Information and Framework, (2) Textbooks and any Specific Assignments, (3)
Guidelines from the Institution or its Hierarchy, (4) Faculty Leeway (if any), (5)
Assessment Methods, and (6) Other Program-Related Information. Each of these six
components will be addressed for the three courses. Following the individual course
curriculum analysis, there will be a period of comparison to determine overlap,
appropriateness, review, and/or redundancy.
Following the recommendations of the CAR, the section entitled Contextual
Information and Framework will include a discussion of placement, exit requirements,
and grade requirements for the course. Further, there will be an analysis of how this
particular course fits within the framework of the University requirements. These
elements will be compared to those of other Universities who have similar requirements
or structure as a part of the Framework section.
The section entitled Textbooks and Specific Assignments will contain the detailed
citation material for the texts, as required for the course in question, as well as any
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
29
supplemental material indicated to be of value. Beyond these items, there will be an
analysis of specific assignments directed within the syllabus and their relationship to the
overarching goals of the course as indicated in the syllabi.
Guidelines from the Institution or its Hierarchy is a section that will include any
state or national indicators. Additionally, anything this particular University has
established would be included here along with the rationale. The sections entitled
Faculty Leeway and Assessment Methods will be brief and likely combined in that they
are likely to be specifically stated if required or allowed.
A concluding section for each course, under the heading of Other ProgramRelated Information, will allow for anything that does not fit neatly into the other
categories yet merits attention. Newberry & Kueker (2008) wrote a Whitepaper on
Curriculum Analysis will be addressed in Chapter 5—Summary, Discussion, and
Application. These elements specifically lean toward “learned curriculum.” It is
important to note that the Newberry & Kueker elements are geared toward both rigor and
relevance while the WVDE CAR is focused more strictly on relevance.
Vivayic is a company focused on the belief that “learning - when well designed is key to achieving an organization’s objectives. Human capital is maximized.
Onboarding (maximizing new employee orientation) is abbreviated. New market
opportunities are seized. New initiatives are accomplished.” In the White Paper
published in 2008, the details of Curriculum Analysis are addressed as well as purposes
and methodology for reaching conclusions of value. The White Paper is written by Pam
Newberry & Doug Kueker. Pam Newberry is a former Albert Einstein Fellow who also
received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Doug Keuker has led and
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
30
participated in more than 25 national curriculum design, development, implementation and
evaluation projects (Newberry & Kueker, 2008, p. 30).
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
31
Data Analysis & Interpretation
Contextual Information and Framework
The WVDE CAR indicates that this element is to “provide the context of the
program . . . a description of field and clinical experiences, the number of hours . . . the
criteria for admission, retention, and exit from the program . . .” (p. 8). While the CAR is
presented as a model for program-wide application, in this case, the CAR will be used as
a framework for the analysis of a singular field and specific courses.
Under the auspices of the Ohio Board of Regents, there are general and specific
guidelines to the English Expectations for College Readiness published in 2007 (OBR).
Elements for such are broken into reading, writing, oral communication, and viewing and
using visual media. The focus of this effort, however, is on the writing elements, thus it
is critical to address the guidelines from this document that are specific to the area of
writing. The general guidelines are:
The student who is prepared to enter post-secondary education or the world of
work produces writing that meets the needs of a particular task and audience. The
writer selects from a repertoire of processes to develop writing for such purposes
as persuasion, explanation, or personal expression. The writer’s style and
organizational structures are apparent and appropriate for the rhetorical task. The
writer is also adept at responding in writing to other texts, critiquing and
analyzing those texts. Writing fulfills its intended purpose, is well organized,
clear, well-developed, and logical, while exhibiting use of the conventions of the
English language appropriate to the writing situation. The writing also exhibits
word choices that convey intended meaning (ORB, p. 2).
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
32
This general guideline is followed by a list detailing specifics which demonstrate how
these elements are applied.
Shawnee State University has a tiered structure of English writing courses, as
indicated previously, which attempt to ensure the students’ ability to meet these
guidelines prior to entering ENGL 1101/1102. Placement, according to the Catalog, is
based upon test scores:
If you enter with an ACT English subscore of 19 or higher (SAT 460) and a
reading subscore of 16 or higher, you will be permitted to register for ENGL
1101. If you enter with an ACT English subscore of 24 or higher (SAT 550) and
a reading subscore of 16 or higher, you will be permitted to register for ENGL
1102. (SSU, 2007, p. 25).
Any students who score and 18 or below on the ACT subscore are placed in
English 0095 or 0096, courses that are designed to remediate the students’ deficiencies.
Beyond the ACT measures, a cost-free alternative is provided. “If a student has
not taken the ACT, he/she will be required to take the COMPASS battery of placement
tests. Placement measures in mathematics, reading, and writing are components of
COMPASS” (SSU, 2007, p. 25). Within the structure of Shawnee State University:
All new degree-seeking students are initially admitted to the University College.
With the exception of selective programs, students matriculate into the academic
department of their choice, once they have demonstrated proficiency in collegelevel English and mathematics via the University’s placement tests or qualifying
scores on the ACT/SAT/PRAXIS (SSU, 2007, p. 15).
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
33
Depending on a student’s aptitudes, base knowledge, and skills, there are courses
which are advised, and those which may be required. These courses fall within the
framework of “Developmental Education.” “Developmental courses provide
underprepared students an opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to
attempt college-level coursework.” An important note to this entire issue is that “Credit
hours earned in developmental courses, excluding UNIV 1101, cannot apply toward
degree requirements” (SSU, 2007, p. 26).
Table 4.1 below is extracted from the 2007 catalog within the Office of
Admissions Placement directive regarding placement (SSU).
Table 4.1
English Placement Assignments for Shawnee State University
English ACT
sub score
English Placement
Reading
ACT sub
score
English Placement
24 or higher
ENGL 1102
19-23
ENGL 1101
11-18
ENGL 0096
11-15
ENGL 0096
10 or lower
ENGL 0095
10 or
ENGL 0095
lower
Note: This information is extracted from the 2007 catalog.
4.1
Also, according to the catalog, the University website, and the department
guidelines,
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
34
Students who believe they are not prepared for the course they are placed into
may opt to take a lower-level course. For example, a student who has a 21 ACT
English sub score may choose to take ENGL 0096 instead of ENGL 1101.
Students who believe they are stronger writers than their ACT or
COMPASS score indicates may petition the Department of English and
Humanities for an opportunity to take a writing placement examination. Students
are encouraged to confer with a representative from the writing faculty before
enrolling in a lower-level course or petitioning to challenge their placement
(Shawnee.edu, 2010).
Goals, grading and exit requirements
“The primary goal of English 0095 is to prepare students for English 0096” (CDE,
p. 16). Students are tasked to keep a portfolio of all work completed in English 0095.
The grading policy is based on a Pass/No-Credit policy. Neither a Pass (P), nor a NoCredit (NC) will affect the student’s grade point average (GPA). In order to receive a
“P” in this course, the student must earn a score of Satisfactory or Exceptional on a
majority of the required writings; earn an average of at least 70% on in-class and out-ofclass exercises; and pass the English 0095 Exit Exam.
“The primary goal of English 0096 is to prepare students for English 1101” (CDE,
p. 21). Students are tasked to keep a portfolio of all work completed in English 0096.
The grading policy is based on a Pass/No-Credit policy. Neither a Pass (P), nor a NoCredit (NC) will affect the student’s grade point average (GPA). In order to receive a
“P” in this course, the student must earn a score of Satisfactory or Exceptional on at least
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
35
three of the required essays; earn an average of at least 70% on in-class and out-of-class
exercises; and pass the English 0096 Exit Exam.
A specific rubric for grading of essays and other written content is provided
within the syllabus (see Appendices). The student exit exams are given a grade of 95, 96,
or 1101, depending on the class the grading professor believes that essay best represents
preparedness. A “95” indicates the student would need to retake ENGL 0095; a “96,
would indicate the student may progress to ENGL 0096 (if currently enrolled in ENGL
0095), or would need to retake ENGL 0096; and a “1101” would indicate the student’s
readiness to move to ENGL 1101. Note that an “1101-” is a potential grade to indicate
that a student may require additional work to be successful at the ENGL 1101 level.
As previously indicated, the “goals and objectives for English 1101 are based on
the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for First-Year
composition and on the University System of Ohio Outcomes for English Composition”
(CDE, 2010, p. 30). The same is true of ENGL 1102, which is, however, an “accelerated
introduction to college composition” (p. 33).
Grading for ENGL 1101 and 1102 is published in the textbook and available as a
handout for students and faculty. The syllabus template, however, does specify that at
least 70% of the course grade is to be determined by essay scores (CDE, p. 32). It is
further noted in the syllabus template that either ENGL1101 or 1102 will complete the
first portion of the English Composition component of the General Education Program
(GEP) and prepare the students for ENGL 1105. At Shawnee State, as at most University
systems, there is a foundation element of courses collectively referred to as the General
Education Program (GEP). “This group of courses gives students the opportunity to
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
36
acquire the characteristics of an educated person” (SSU, p. 55). Within the element of
English Composition, the “two English composition courses must be completed prior to
taking coursework at the Integrative Level of the GEP” (p. 56) which is defined as the
Cultural Perspectives, Ethics, and a Capstone. The Foundational level includes the
English Composition, Quantitative Reasoning, Fine and Performing Arts, Social and
Natural Sciences (p. 55).
Table 4.2 indicates the requirements at a spectrum of Universities throughout
Ohio. These University course requirements were included to evaluate the comparative
nature of the placement into a Freshman English Composition program as indicated by
each University to be part of that school’s General Education Program (GEP). All of the
universities have a Freshman Composition course of some form required as part of their
GEP or core curriculum process. The placement for these courses was some form of
testing, and the score requirements were highly comparable. All were between 17 and 20
ACT English subscore levels. Some schools have an extended program with greater
interaction between professor and student, much like SSU’s ENGL 1101 program.
Students with higher scores would be able to take a less intensive program meeting the
same requirements, much like SSU’s ENGL 1102. In all cases, the program below the
freshman level, while meeting credit hours for determination of full-time students, did not
fulfill graduation requirements.
Table 4-3 provides the same basic information as Table 4-2. However, Table 4-3
presents this information against the balance of the accreditation peer group. Shawnee
State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) within the
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The peer universities
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
37
indicated in Table 4-2 are the NCA’s comparison group for Shawnee State (SSU, 2009).
These universities reflect a similar system of placement programs. All these universities
reflect similar requirements for placement, some by exam and some by evaluation.
Table 4.2
4.3
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
Table 4.3
38
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
39
Textbooks and any Specific Assignments
“All writing instructors are required to regularly assign readings from the selected
textbooks” (CDE, 2010, p. 6). The CDE briefly addresses the search process for
textbooks, and goes into detail to ensure understanding of the necessity for the prescribed
text. Students are cautioned regarding the purchase of prior editions. All textbooks for
the composition program are, however, on reserve at the library on campus and may be
accessed there during open library hours. Each syllabus must include the ISBN for
required textbooks.
Per the guidelines for ENGL 0095, students’ primary task is to “practice with the
basics of written expression: grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and sentence
structure. A review of the fundamentals of standard American English should be
demonstrated and actively pursued within the framework of the course. The exit exam
will be a culminating event for these students (CDE, 2010, p. 18).
The textbook chosen to meet these guidelines for ENGL 0095 is The Writer’s
World: Paragraphs and Essays (Gaetz & Phadke, 2009). The textbook itself is
composed in parts, sections, and chapters. The first part is about “The Writing Process”
and provides an overview in three chapters which are not broken into sections (Gaetz &
Phadke, 2009, p. iii). The second part deals with “Paragraph Patterns” and has nine
chapters. The third part, “The Essay” has three chapters. The fourth part, “The Editing
Handbook” has nine sections. This text is also available with access to
www.mywritinglab.com, an online support service with additional exercises, but that is
not the copy procured for this program.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
40
Each section has its own theme, and multiple chapters. Within the section,
themes address specific elements of composition. An example of this is section three
which has a theme of espionage and a focus on problems with verbs. The chapters in that
section deal with such issues as tense issues, participles, and verb forms that are nonstandard or progressive.
Within the elements addressed are a series of practice exercises of the “circle the
right answer” variety. One example of these exercises provides the verb tense choices,
among which the student is to select the appropriate tense form. Additional practice
exercises provide opportunities for students to correct errors and select from verb choices
or fill-in-the-blank with the appropriate form of “to be.” The chapter concludes with a
segment called “Reflect on it” that provides a review worksheet for the student.
The writing lab that is not purchased with this program allows students to work
additional exercises. It further presents alternative explanations of materials within the
text which may better inform students with different learning styles. The online program
coincides with the text, and the assignments in the online program can also be reviewed
by the teacher. It is not, however, something this university has chosen to use.
As for the text itself, the format is detailed and specific. It would appear that this
knowledge for three hours each week for sixteen weeks would require short readings and
assignments for each class. Assessments are in minute increments, allowing for
extensive review of each idea. Writing assignments are brief. Perhaps more importantly,
the structure does not truly lend itself to specifically preparing the students for the exit
exam or ENGL 0096 where they are expected to write full paragraphs and essays.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
41
Throughout the writing assignments the instructors require, students are strongly
encouraged to remember that writing is a circular process, and they are to review and edit
their work for rewriting repeatedly. While this is good practice in general writing
methods, in the exit exam situation, the students are given a prompt with no preparation
or guidance, and in a two hour period they are expected to provide a cohesive and
complete essay of about 500 words. In none of the assignments required by the syllabus
are the students challenged to meet this requirement before the exit exam, though some
instructors establish an opportunity to take the Compass placement exam part way
through the program to give the students a sense of the test they will take near the end.
There are an unspecified number of paragraphs and essays to be completed during the
class, and they are only 350 words long. The primary focus of the class, however, is on
the specific use of specific parts of grammar.
The stated goals are to prepare for ENGL 0096 learning appropriate paragraphing
and well-developed essays. Also, there is a goal to “review the fundamentals of Standard
American English” (CDE, p. 19). To that last end, the assignments in the textbook serve
the purpose. However, there would appear to be little preparation for the written exam
which concludes the course.
The entire construct of the exit exam would appear to be inconclusive. Students
can take ENGL0095, attend every class, compose every document, and still not complete
the requirement if they cannot pass the course with a sufficient score to place differently
than in ENGL 0096 or ENGL 1101. Students could, however, actually score well enough
to enter ENGL 1101 from either ENGL 0095 or ENGL 0096. Therefore, it would seem
more appropriate to consider the exam an entrance exam for ENGL 1101 rather than an
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
42
exit exam for ENGL 0095 or ENGL 0096. A student who performs the tasks required in
ENGL 0095 would, hopefully, be ready to move on to ENGL 0096 where the focus
moves from paragraphs to essays.
Per the guidelines for this ENGL 0096, students’ primary task is to practice
composing paragraphs and to compose and revise a minimum of five essays. A review of
the fundamentals of standard American English should be demonstrated and actively
pursued within the framework of the course. The exit exam will be a culminating event
for these students (CDE, 2010, p. 21). A student who performs the tasks required in
ENGL 0096 would, hopefully, be ready to move on to ENGL 1101.
The textbook selected to meet the goals of ENGL 0096 is The Writer’s World:
Essays (Gaetz & Phadke, 2009). The Instructor’s Resource Manual provides suggested
syllabi for varying lengths of terms. At SSU, the semester is a sixteen week term, and the
text does provide a syllabus for sixteen weeks (Nichols & McCartney-Christensen, 2009,
p. 7). The Resource Manual also provides a summary and a multiple choice quiz for each
chapter.
This textbook is also composed of parts, sections, and chapters. The first part is
about “The Writing Process” and provides an overview in five chapters, which are not
broken into sections (Gaetz & Phadke, 2009, p. iii). The second part deals with “Essay
Patterns” and has nine chapters. The third part, “More College and Workplace Writing,”
has five chapters. The fourth part, “The Editing Handbook,” has six sections. Each
section has its own theme and multiple chapters.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
43
Within the section themes are specific elements of composition. An example of
this is section three, which has a theme of international trade and a focus on verbs. The
chapters deal with such issues of subject-verb agreement, tenses, and problem verbs.
Within the elements addressed in the text are a series of practice exercises of the
“fill-in-the-blank” variety. These exercises provide the root verb, to which the student is
to apply the appropriate tense form. Additional practice exercises provide opportunities
for students to correct errors and select from verb choices. The chapter concludes with a
segment called “The Writer’s Room: Topics for Writing” that provides a couple of
prompts for writing assignments. The online writing lab component, which Shawnee
does not purchase, allows students to have additional practice exercises, and allows for
instructors to track student progress through email and reports.
The format is straightforward and direct. Spending three hours each week for
sixteen weeks covering this knowledge would make it difficult to find sufficient tasks to
consume the time. Perhaps more importantly, as with ENGL 0095, the structure may not
truly lend itself to specifically preparing the students for the required assessment for
moving to the next level of ENGL 1101, which is the exit (entrance) exam.
Throughout the writing assignments given, as with ENGL 0095, students are
strongly encouraged to remember that writing is a circular process, and they are to review
and edit their work for rewriting repeatedly. While this is good practice in general
writing methods, the exit exam situation is the same as ENGL 0095, where the students
are given a prompt with no preparation or guidance, and in a two hour period they are
expected to provide a cohesive and complete five paragraph essay of about 500 words.
Nowhere in the syllabus are the students challenged to meet this requirement before the
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
44
exit exam. The five essays to be completed during the class are only 350 words long, and
the greater focus is given to the composition of paragraphs.
The foundation of college composition is addressed in ENGL 1101 or ENGL
1102. To enter this course requires a placement exam score equivalent to an ACT
English subscore of 19. The requirement is comparable to other program entrance
requirements, whether the PRAXIS, ACT, GRE, or LSAT. Another way of considering
the ENGL 0095 and 0096 coursework is to prepare the students for passing this entrance
requirement. Whether or not the passage of that exam should be a requirement for
passing these preparatory courses is another issue.
The textbooks required for ENGL 1101 or 1102 are identical. The Longman
Concise Companion: Shawnee State 2nd Edition (Anson, Schwegler, and Muth, 2010) is
the handbook required for either of these courses and also the following course, ENGL
1105. Both these courses also use Reid (2011), The Prentice Hall Guide for College
Writers ValPack. The ValPack contains both The Prentice Hall Guide for College
Writers, and Purposes: A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader (CDE, pp. 22 &33). These texts
can be purchased with access to www.mycomplab.com. This is a resource to provide
exercises, tutorials, and online assignment management tools. It is not included in the
ValPack procured for this course. The online laboratory program allows for additional
insights to the essays provided in the text and a series of questions to help students
explore new elements of writing.
Both ENGL 1101 and 1102 are programmed to provide a necessary introduction
to college composition. The difference is in pace and expected performance. The ENGL
1102 course is a three unit course which requires an ACT subscore of 24 to enter. To
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
45
enter the five unit ENGL 1101, the student must have successfully passed ENGL 0096 or
have an ACT subscore of at least 19.
There are other differences and similarities in the requirements of the two courses.
For example, students in ENGL 1101 are given an instructional period by one of the
research librarians and a tour of the library facilities. While this library tutorial program
is not required of students in ENGL 1102, an online tutorial may be assigned. While both
will use the same rubric for grading standards (pages A21-A28 of The Longman Concise
Companion), students in ENGL 1101 will provide at least six formal papers of at least
750 words. Students in ENGL 1102 will provide at least four formal papers of
approximately 1250 words. However, two of the formal papers provided by students in
both classes will be composed using academic research and citation methods. Also,
students in both classes must provide a minimum of 6000 words of information
responses, journals, etc.
The professors in ENGL 1101/1102 have the discretion to administer the
requirements of the program, using the tools provided. Each professor has her own
method of implementing the tools, but there is a sample syllabus provided as a
recommended method. It is this method that will be analyzed here.
The Longman Concise Companion (LCC) (2010) is a standard rhetoric, research
guide, and writing handbook for collegiate level composition issues. The first four parts
contain general writing guidelines detailing methods of exploring new ideas and ways to
present information. Each part is broken into chapters, which are broken into sections
and subsections. Each chapter has a variety of exercises for students to practice the skills
elements provided in that chapter.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
46
The center part, part five, is about “Documenting Sources” and provides five
chapters. The first of these five chapters is chapter twenty-four, “Five Serious
Documentation Problems.” This chapter is an excellent and thorough presentation of
errors and their solutions. The other four chapters specifically indicate guidelines for
varying documentation styles and include an example paper for both the Modern
Language Association (MLA) style and the American Psychological Association (APA)
style formats. The other styles are the Chicago (CMS) and Scientific (CSE) styles. The
edges of the pages for part five are in different colors to provide ready access and
reference to each reference style.
The latter half of the book, parts six through ten, details grammar components.
Starting with a chapter on “Ten Serious Errors,” the book progresses through editing
methods, sentence problems, word choice, punctuation, and closes with a part for
proofreading. This book provides detailed references and methods of instruction for the
faculty who use it as a teaching tool.
In the sample syllabus, LCC is presented for selected chapters as homework. The
sample syllabus has a “Grammar Review Topic” for each week, and the assignments
from LCC reflect those topics. In doing so, the syllabus requires the students to move
through the text and become very familiar with it. This provides an advantage to the
students who do these homework assignments, as students will use this text in ENGL
1105 and may use this resource in any other class where writing a paper is a requirement.
This text will help students understand Standard Written English grammar and provide a
guide for more common writing formats, including MLA and APA.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
47
The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers (PHG) (Reid, 2011) is the anthology
textbook provided for the course and is accompanied by a Pocket Reader entitled
Purposes (Reid, 2007). The text, PHG, proceeds in chapters and while each chapter is
broken into elemental sections; they are not numbered, merely named. Most of the
chapters address the writing process with a section of varied “Techniques” that are
analyzed and presented. That section is followed by “Warming Up: Journal Exercises”
and then the elements of “Choosing a Subject,” “Collecting,” “Shaping,” “Drafting,” and
“Revising.” A “Peer Response” element follows, encouraging the students to learn
collaboratively and grow as a group. The chapter closes with a “Postscript on the Writing
Process” giving a couple of example essays for students to read and evaluate.
Throughout PHG, essays are provided using the techniques represented.
Additionally, the chapters frequently model the drafting and revision process showing
original writings, marks and comments, and finished work. Chapters also provide
vocabulary sections, and “Questions for Writing and Discussion.”
Within Chapter thirteen, “Researching,” specific information using MLA and
APA citation styles are presented, as is an MLA sample document. The appendix
presents an essay on “Writing Under Pressure” (Reid, 2011, A1-A3). This document is
exceedingly valuable to students and could well be presented in the SSU ENGL 0095 and
0096 courses as part of the preparation for taking the exit (entrance) exam.
The Purposes text gives a variety of essays which are labeled by paragraph. This
provides easy reference for in-class or on-line discussion. The text itself does not line up
cohesively with the PHG text but can certainly be aligned by the professor to work
together with the PHG text. The essays selected for Purposes are eclectic and dynamic.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
48
Students find them to be opinionated, making them good choices for argumentative
papers. However, the ENGL 1101 and 1102 courses are not intended to be argumentative
in nature. Perhaps, therefore, that text would be better suited to the ENGL 1105 course
where argumentation is presented and elucidated.
Throughout the semester, students provide a number of formally cited research
papers. The greater number of slightly shorter papers in ENGL 1101 gives the students
opportunity to embrace feedback and show growth. Both courses require two extensively
researched and documented papers, generally required at mid-term and end-term. In
preparation, students are encouraged to incorporate the method of writing as a circular
process, reviewing their own work and each others’.
The materials provided are appropriate and collegiate in nature. While some
elements may seem to be better suited for ENGL 0096 or ENGL 1105, they can certainly
be used for the requirements of ENGL 1101 and 1102. To some extent, the coursework
presented in the syllabus could be overwhelming to the freshman college student.
Between extensive reading assignments, weekly essays, discussion board elements, and
the big research papers, students in these courses have constant requirements in an effort
to enhance writing skills. The rigor of this course encourages students to understand that
college is a challenge, and allows them to structure their classwork accordingly.
However, the structure of the ENGL 1101—providing five hours of class time per
week—gives the students plenty of guidance. One important weak spot is noted. While
effort is made to place composition courses into computer enabled classrooms, SSU
currently has too few computer labs to do so. Teaching this five-hour course without
extensive in-class writing time does a distinct disservice to the students who take it. They
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
49
cannot get the kind of feedback and structure needed, for which they were placed into
ENGL 1101. Students placed into ENGL 1101 are those who achieved a 19-23 on the
ACT or equivalent percentile on the SAT or COMPASS test. Alternatively, they are
those who successfully completed ENGL 0096 with an exit exam score of 1101. These
students have good basic skills but still need consistent structure and feedback, which
they can only receive properly in a computer laboratory classroom.
Guidelines from the Institution or its Hierarchy
“Shawnee state is committed to providing education that fosters competence in
oral and written communication” (SSU, 2007, p. 7). As a part of the mission statement of
this university, this dedication is reflected throughout school catalog available to the
public as well as all Shawnee students. Faculty are encouraged to pursue individual
advancement in education, thus to strengthen the program collectively. The stronger,
more educated teacher strengthens each student. The English composition program is an
integrated part of the University plan to “improve student proficiency levels in basic
knowledge and skills.”
Shawnee State University falls under the guidance of the Ohio Board of Regents.
That governing body “has developed a statewide policy to facilitate movement of
students and transfer credits from one Ohio public college or university to another” (SSU,
p. 16). The English Composition program has been designed to meet or exceed the
standards of any Ohio public college or university to facilitate this transfer module. To
that end, the goals and objectives “are based on the Council of Writing Program
Administrators’ Outcomes statement for First-Year Composition and on The University
System of Ohio Outcomes for English Composition” (CDE, 2010, p. 30 & 34).
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
50
Faculty Leeway and Assessment Methods
As per the guidelines published by the Department, faculty members have some
flexibility in teaching styles and classroom protocols. While the specifics of enumerated
essays, word/page counts, research, and publication styles are not debatable, the actual
methods of pursuing those achievements are within the purview of the various
instructors. One example of this flexibility is in attendance. While the “attendance
policy must not contradict the SSU Excused Absence Policy . . . each faculty member
evaluates the importance of student class attendance based upon the specific nature of the
course in question” (CDE, 2010, p. 11-12). There may be times when some students will
be sent to procure materials from the library. In fact, during the ENGL 1101 term, the
instructors are strongly encouraged to coordinate with the library staff for two sessions:
an in-class session on using the library research tools and a tour of the library facility.
The ENGL 1102 program, while not allowing in-class time for these programs,
encourages the use of the on-line tutorial provided by our library staff to enhance
research functionality. Some faculty find it valuable to use class periods to schedule
specific conference times with students, and will direct non-conferencing students to
other activities.
In each syllabus is an explanation and caution regarding plagiarism. Further, the
syllabus information specifically sets forth a method of handling plagiarism issues. The
degree of penalty begins at the professorial level. Professors may assign a grade of “F”
on the paper, and allow students to resubmit or not in their own discretion. If a professor
believes it appropriate, an “F” in the course may be assigned with the concurrence of the
Director of the Composition Program. A “formal charge of academic misconduct” is
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
51
assigned by decision of the Chair of the Department of English and Humanities (CDE,
2010, p. 32).
Each syllabus also contains a statement relating to the recognition of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the method for providing needed services.
At SSU, every student is given every opportunity to excel. To that end, the Disability
Services center provides the necessary documentation and edification for students and
faculty. It is specifically and appropriately noted in this section that documenting needs
and presenting that information to faculty members is a student responsibility.
Other Program-Related Information
Shawnee State University provides an excellent and extensive set of tutoring
options for students. Three separate facilities provide tutoring and computer resources
for English composition students. These are the Student Success Center, the Student
Success Services (TRIO) Center, and the Reading and Writing Center. All tutoring is at
no cost to the students. Some of these services are scheduled, and others are drop-in
services. There are computer labs available for students in several buildings on campus,
and these are generally staffed by paid personnel who can assist with computer-related
issues. The English and Humanities “Department purchases an institutional subscription
to NoodleTools® each year” (CDE, 2010, p. 14) which allows an online program for
citations which has been reviewed and approved by the university. These resources allow
for Shawnee students to have every opportunity to grow, learn, and perform within their
English classes.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
52
Summary, Discussion, and Application
The Vivayic (2008) Whitepaper on Curricula Analysis specifically leans toward
“learned curriculum (Analysis is concerned with measuring the content and level at
which learners enact the performance expectations in a targeted context).” That team
broke this process into steps and determined that in following these steps, curricula would
be reviewed for both rigor and relevance.
Step one was to define a framework for measuring performance expectations
(Newberry & Kueker, 2008, p. 9). The general presentiment is such that each curriculum
should define its own framework for measuring performance. The composition curricula
excel in this area overall.
In ENGL 0095 and 0096, students are guided directly and grading rubrics are
provided. Reviewing, editing, and rewriting are encouraged until the final assessment.
This creates a conflicted situation where students are trained to write short pieces –
paragraphs of perhaps 100 words, essays of up to 350 words over a period of several onehour sessions. Then, at the exit (entrance) exam the students are evaluated for writing
skills on a five paragraph, 500 word essay completed in one, two-hour session. This
exam would be more appropriately identified as an entrance exam for ENGL 1101.
For ENGL 1101 and 1102, the grading rubrics for writing assignments are
published in the textbook for the course (LCC). Each faculty member is directed to
include specific references to them within the syllabus for each course. Though faculty
may apply varying weight standards to various work requirements, all courses state
clearly that a minimum of 70% of the students’ score comes directly from grading writing
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
53
assignments. At this level, this requirement would mean that student writing of essays,
journals, and research papers, are the gist of the requirement.
Step two was to apply the framework to analyze the rigor and relevance of all
existing course objectives. “Performance objectives for the lesson were evaluated first
followed by a review of the lesson’s assessment objectives” (Newberry & Kueker, 2008,
p. 10). It is in this area that the elements supported from within the SSU system are more
fragile.
That, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Writing is not an exact science, nor
is teaching. The wide variety of skill sets, background insights, and personalities
involved in the faculty of the first-year composition program allows for a match-up with
student learning styles, needs, and guidance. Students, with careful advising, can benefit
extensively from the flexibility granted these teachers. The objectives are clearly stated
and direct, but the final assessment of ENGL 0095 and ENGL 0096 is not directly related
to the requirement.
Step three is identifying content for further analysis (Newberry & Kueker, 2008,
p. 14). By this, the authors mean that each element of content is weighed against any
curricular standards which are given. However, this point must be developed with an
understanding of the complexities of the subject. Writing, even academic writing, is a
reflection of the author’s whole being. As such, teaching it, guiding it, and grading it are
not as straightforward as whether or not “2 + 2 = 4.”
The content for these courses is dictated by the need to “foster competence in oral
and written communication” (SSU, 2007, p. 7). Presumably, by competence, the
meaning of “Sufficiency of qualification; capacity to deal adequately with a subject”
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
54
should apply (Oxford English Dictionary [OED], 2011). Still, this is a vague standard on
an ambiguous topic. For this, the ENGL 0095 and 0096 programs seem to be better
suited, yet less well adapted. Perhaps this is because the programs are too detailed for the
material indicated. This is a weakness in this program. The tasks directed by the
professors to fulfill the requirements of the syllabi can be sufficiently assessed
individually. However, the exit (entrance) exam does not logically follow from the tasks
imposed. The essay presented in the Appendix of the textbook for ENGL 1101 should,
perhaps be presented to those students in ENGL 0095/0096, and the Longman Concise
Companion may be a textbook well suited for those students as well. In doing so, this
program would provide a more rigorous challenge to the students, better preparing them
for the challenges of ENGL 1101.
The ENGL 1101 and 1102 programs, while perhaps lesser suited for such
identification of content, seem to outline the requirements more thoroughly. The grading
rubric provided in the syllabi and the LCC text is properly detailed and makes an
excellent teaching tool. The Reid text serves the purpose, but may or may not be the best
tool for the task.
Step four is analyzing the relative level of rigor and relevance (Newberry &
Kueker, 2008, p. 16). The only way to learn to write is to write.
The extensive writing
requirements of all courses presented to freshmen at SSU provide ample opportunity for
students to write, to learn, to review, to edit, and to write again. The essays presented in
the textbook for ENGL 1101 should, perhaps be presented to those students in ENGL
0095/0096, and the Longman Concise Companion may be a textbook well suited for
those students as well. In doing so, that program would provide a more rigorous
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
55
challenge to the students, better preparing them for the challenges of ENGL 1101.
Students who participate fully in each level of the program would be hard-pressed not to
grow in writing ability through the process; this is particularly true of ENGL 1101 and
1102.
Recommendations
The program presented in the ENGL 0095/0096 course framework would perhaps
be better served by presenting these programs in a more compressed format using the exit
exam structure as a guide during the second half of the program. Instead of a sixteen
week term for each, an eight-week term may be adequate and could enhance student
awareness of the program by moving them through it with less tedium. During the last
few weeks before the end of the term, the students would be drilled in the compressed
essay format rather than the encouraged review format currently encouraged.
The current exit exam for ENGL 0095 and ENGL 0096 could be presented as the
entrance exam for ENGL 1101, the foundation of the General Education Program. This
would allow students to train and prepare much as they would for any other standardized
test. The requirement to pass the exam could be removed from ENGL 0095, and an
alternative assessment geared for parts of speech, sentence structure, and paragraphing
could be implemented. The end of ENGL 0096 should prepare students for the
placement test for ENGL 1101.
Perhaps ENGL 1101 could have a lesser requirement for entrance. Even a point
or two less would allow more students into the ENGL 1101 course. The extra two hours
per week would allow for students who have an ACT English subscore of 17 to have the
supervision and structure they need to succeed at the college level. Students who achieve
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
56
a score equivalent to an ACT English subscore of 22 could place into ENGL 1102.
Those students who require the more basic writing instruction could still take the
remedial classes as needed.
Shawnee State University is nestled near the intersection of the Scioto and Ohio
Rivers in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. As such, the local student populace
may not have the foundation needed for placement into foundation level English, the
ENGL 1101 course level. Adult illiteracy is an issue which needs to be addressed in this
community, and the efforts of students to seek greater education is always to be
applauded. Some students, however, are simply not ready for college, eligible though
they may be. While in some states, community colleges provide venues for those
students, our area does not have resources of that nature. Therefore, it has become
incumbent upon Shawnee State University to fill the gap.
Summary
Curriculum Analysis is not an exact science. It is well and good to state that a
goal exists and that a curriculum does or does not meet that goal. However, while a
curriculum may meet a goal, it may not meet it as well as the students deserve. That is a
more amorphous issue.
The existing curriculum for ENGL 0095/0096 is lengthy and detailed. Further, it
does not seem to truly meet the prescribed goal of preparing the students for the next
level of class. As mentioned above, a more compressed version directed toward that goal
would be more appropriate. Taking an eight week program would allow students to get
the information they need, while not consuming as much time as the current format. The
tools presently incorporated in the ENGL 1101/1102 curriculum would also be applicable
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
57
to the ENGL 0095/0096 curriculum, particularly the Longman Concise Companion.
There would be better preparation for the placement exams were the students writing
longer essays more routinely.
Because this university has open enrollment, there is a requirement to provide
basic, fundamental instruction in English composition and grammar to some students.
However, a revamping of the program could be beneficial. For those who place into
basic writing and/or mechanics, it is clear that emphasis needs to be on achieving the
specific goals set forth: preparing for the exit (entrance) exam and ENGL 1101. The
Longman Concise Companion can be used for those students, who can then keep that text
throughout their academic career and continue to use it. The text currently in use for
ENGL1101/1102 should be considered for reassignment to the course in ENGL 1105 -Discourse and Argument, and another text considered for the basic Discourse and
Composition program. The goals outlined for ENGL 1101/1102 could be better met with
a different text.
The “rite of passage” of freshman composition is a critical piece of college life.
That is unlikely to change, and it would be a tremendous loss to the educated populace
was it to change. However, the composition sequence at Shawnee State, in its continuous
effort to meet the constantly changing needs of the ever-expanding student populace, may
need to consider making ENGL 1101/1102 a broader scope. This would allow for some
students who currently place into remedial coursework to place into ENGL 1101 instead.
Shawnee is a growing and forward thinking University that is somewhat mired in
its open enrollment program, and its history as a two-year college. However, there are
venues in place to support that program while reducing the drudgery of a three unit class
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
58
detailing subjects and verbs. The intent is to help the students succeed, but there has got
to be a better way.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
59
References
Attewell, P., Lavin, D., Domina, T., & Levey, T. (2006). New evidence on college
remediation. Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), 886-900.
Bahr, P. R. (2010). Revisiting the efficacy of postsecondary remediation: The
moderating effects of depth/breadth of deficiency. The Review of Higher
Education, 33(2). 177-205.
Brock, T. (2010). Young adults and higher education: Barriers and breakthroughs to
success. Future of Children, 20(1), 109-133.
Burlison, J., Murphy C., & Dwyer W. (2009). Evaluation of the motivated strategies for
learning questionnaire for predicting academic performance in college students of
varying scholastic aptitude. (Report). College Student Journal. Project Innovation
(Alabama) 1313-1316.
Callahan, M.K., & Chumney, D. (2009). 'Write like college': How remedial writing
courses at a community college and a research university position 'at-risk' students
in the field of higher education. Teachers College Record, 111, 1619-1664.
Carey, K. (2010). Why we need a 'race to the top' for higher education. Chronicle of
Higher Education, 56(26), A30-A30.
Chen, L. (2010). Enhancement of student learning performance using personalized
diagnosis and remedial learning system. Computers and Education, 56(2011),
289-299.
Cline, Z, Bissell, J., Hafner, A., & Katz, M. (2007). Closing the college readiness gap.
Leadership, 37(2), 30-33.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
60
Composition and Developmental English. (2010). Handbook of composition and
developmental English. Unpublished, Department of English and the Humanities,
Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio.
Conley, D.T. (2008). Rethinking college readiness. New Directions for Higher
Education, 144(WI), 3-13.
Competence. (2010). In Oxford English (Online) Dictionary. Retrieved from
http://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/37567.
Cowden, P. (2010). Preparing college students with moderate learning disabilities with
the tools for higher level success. College Student Journal, 44(2), 230-233.
Gaetz, L., & Phadke, S. (Ed.). (2009). The writer's world: Essays. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
George, M. (2010). Ethics and motivation in remedial mathematics education.
Community College Review, 31(1), 82-92.
Gewertz, C. (2010). Proposed standards go public. Education Week, 29(25), 1-15.
Holsendolph, E. (2005). Building a’culture of effort.’ Black Issues in Higher Education.
April, 2005, 30-33.
Jacobsen, E. (2006). Higher placement standards increase course success but reduce
program completions. Journal of General Education, 55(2), 138-159.
Jenkins, D., Jaggars, S.S. , & Roska, J. (2009). Promoting gatekeeper course success
among community college students needing remediation. Informally published
manuscript, Community College Research Center, Columbia University, New
York, NY.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
61
Katsinas, S.G, & Bush, V.B. (2006). Assessing what matters: Improving college
readiness 50 years beyond Brown. Community College Journal of Research and
Practice, 30, 771-786.
McGann, M. (1947). Diagnostic testing and remedial teaching for common errors in
mechanics of English made by college freshmen. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 38(8), 499-503.
Newberry, P. & Kueker D. (2008). How do you recognize a rigorous and relevant
curriculum?: a method for analyzing rigor and relevance in science and
mathematics curricula. Published Whitepaper. Vivayic, Inc, Lincoln, NE.
Retrieved from http://vivayic.com/whitepapers/curricula_analysis.pdf.
Nichols, J. & McCartney-Christensen, H.. (2009). Instructor’s resource manual: The
writer’s world: Essays. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Ohio Board of Regents. (2007). English expectations for college readiness. Proceedings
of the K-16 Seamless Transition. Retrieved from
http://regents.ohio.gov/collegereadiness/policies/EngCollegeRediness07.pdf.
Olson, L. (2006). Calif. high schoolers get preview of college-placement test. Education
Week, 25(33), 27-27.
Perkins-Gough, D. (2008). Unprepared for college. Educational Leadership, NOV, 88-90.
Reid, S. (2011). The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers. Boston: Prentice.
Reid, S. (Ed.). (2007). Purposes: A prentice hall pocket reader. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Prentice Hall.
Shawnee State University (2010). The Placement Program: English Placement.
Unpublished manuscript. Office of Admissions. Shawnee State University.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
62
Portsmouth, OH. Retrieved from
http://www.shawnee.edu/off/adms/placement.html.
Shawnee State University (2007). University college: Placement testing. Unpublished
manuscript, Office of Admissions, Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio.
Retrieved from http://catalog.shawnee.edu/.
Suddick, D. (1982). A re-examination of the use of the test of standard written English
and resulting placement for older upper-division and master’s level students.
Educational and Psychological Measurement. 42. 367-369.
Wilson, R. L. (n.d.). Comment: Accountability and English. Unpublished manuscript,
Department of English and Humanitiies, Shawnee State University, Portsmouth,
OH.
West Virginia Department of Education, Department of Educator Certification. (2010).
Curriculum analysis report (CAR) reviewer's guide. Charleston, WV: West
Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved from
https://wvde.state.wv.us/certification/educator/docs/CAR.pdf.
Yang, Y. (2010). Developing a reciprocal teaching/learning system for college remedial
reading instruction. Computers & Education, 05(16). 1193-1201.
Zajacova, A. & Lynch, S.M., & Espenshade. T.J. (2005). Self-efficacy, stress, and
academic success in college. Research in Higher Education. 46(6), 677-706.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
63
Index to Tables
Table Description
Page
1.1
Fall 2010 course seats .........................................................................................7
1.2
Spring 2010 course seats .....................................................................................7
4.1
English Placement Assignments for Shawnee State University ........................33
4.2
Preparatory and freshman level English courses within the state of Ohio ........37
4.3
Preparatory and freshman level English courses within accreditation peers .....38
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
64
Index to Appendices
Title
Description
Page
A
Syllabus Template, ENGL 0095 ........................................................................65
B
Syllabus Template, ENGL 0096 ........................................................................71
C
Syllabus Template, ENGL 1101 ........................................................................78
D
Syllabus Template, ENGL 1102 ........................................................................83
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
65
Appendix A
***SYLLABUS TEMPLATE***
ENGL 0095
Basic Writing 1: Mechanics
Last Updated August 2010
Term:
Section No.
Days/Times
Room Number/Bldg
Instructor:
Office Hours:
Office:
Office Phone:
Department Office: 351-3300
Email:
Prerequisite: ACT English sub-score of 10 or lower or equivalent.
Required Text
Gaetz, Lynne, and Suneeti Phadke. The Writer’s World: Paragraphs & Essays. 2nd ed.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. Print. ISBN 13: 978-0-13615218-7
Catalogue Description: English 0095 provides intensive practice with the basics of
written expression: grammar, punctuation, usage, spelling, and sentence structure.
Emphasis on the use of standard English.
Placement in English 0095: SSU uses ACT English sub-scores (or other entrance exam
scores) to place students in English 0095. Studies indicate that there is a strong
correlation between writing ability and ACT English sub-scores. Nevertheless, the ACT
is not a writing test, and some students are better writers than their ACT scores indicate.
Therefore, students who believe that their ACT English sub-scores are not indicative of
their writing abilities are allowed to petition to take the Writing Skills Placement Exam
before registering for English 0095; students who score well on this essay exam may be
allowed to skip English 0095.
Course Goals & Objectives: The primary goal of English 0095 is to prepare students for
English 0096. In order to reach this goal, students will:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
66
Gain understanding that writing involves a process of pre-writing, writing, and rewriting
Practice composing well-developed paragraphs. The final draft of each paragraph must:
include a clearly expressed topic sentence;
be supported by relevant details;
be coherent and unified;
and contain a variety of sentence lengths and structures.
Compose and revise well-developed essays. The final draft of each essay must:
demonstrate that the student has collected and arranged writing ideas;
address a limited, focused topic;
be developed with appropriate, coherent, and unified paragraphs;
target an appropriate audience;
reflect a basic understanding of the fundamentals of standard punctuation, spelling, and
mechanics;
and be at least 350 words long.
Review the fundamentals of Standard American English. This review may involve
lecture, discussion, in-class activities, and out-of-class exercises.
Improve their ability to edit their own work and correct punctuation, spelling, and
mechanics.
Take the English 0095 Exit Exam.
Keep a writing portfolio. This portfolio must include all of the work completed in
English 0095 this semester.
Policies:
Portfolio: Save a copy of every essay: rough drafts, revisions, and final drafts. Be sure to
save a backup copy of your final drafts on disk as well.
Accommodation for Disabilities: In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Shawnee State University
provides reasonable academic adjustments or accommodations for students with
documented disabilities. (Reasonable accommodations are those which would not
compromise the integrity of the academic program.) Examples of documented disabilities
include physical, psychiatric, and/or learning impairments that substantially limit one or
more major life activities of the student. Students seeking academic adjustments or
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
67
accommodations must provide documentation of the disability to the Coordinator of
Disability Services, located in the Student Success Center, 1st Floor Massie Hall (740/3513276), prior to receiving services. After meeting with the Coordinator, students are
encouraged to meet with their instructors to discuss their needs.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s words or ideas as your own writing
without acknowledging your debt to the original source. Plagiarism can include not only quoted
material that is not cited and credited but also summaries or paraphrases of material that are not
cited and credited. Plagiarism can also include submitting a paper that someone else wrote or
one that was substantially revised by someone else. Plagiarism can be unintentional as well as
intentional. To avoid plagiarism, submit your own work and be sure to credit and cite sources
properly. If you have any questions about proper documentation, please speak with me.
Plagiarism constitutes academic misconduct according to university policy. Any instances of
plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, may be reported to the chair of the Department of
English and Humanities. The chair, in consultation with the faculty member, will then
determine whether circumstances warrant a formal charge of academic misconduct as set forth
in the SSU Student Handbook. A student who turns in plagiarized work will receive a failing
grade for the assignment and may face dismissal from the course. In such a case, the student
will receive an F—not a W—for the course.
Grading:
Pass/No-Credit Policy: English 0095 is a Pass/No-Credit class. You will not receive a
traditional letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) on your grade report or on your transcript. Instead,
those of you who successfully complete the course and who become eligible to enroll in
English 0096 will receive Ps (Pass); those who need more writing practice before
enrolling in English 0096 will receive NCs (No Credit). Neither a P nor an NC will have
an impact on your GPA.
Determining the Course Grade (P or NC):
In order to receive a P in English 0095, you must:
Earn a score of Satisfactory or Exceptional on a majority of your required paragraphs and
essays;
Earn an average of at least 70% on all out-of-class exercises;
Earn an average of at least 70% on all in-class exercises, AND
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
68
Pass the English 0095 Exit Exam.
Scoring of Essays: The following rubric indicates how your English 0095 essays will be
scored.
The Exceptional Essay
The Satisfactory Essay
The Unsatisfactory
Essay
Shows evidence of
Shows some evidence of
Shows little or no
planning and/or revision.
planning and revision.
evidence of planning or
revision.
Contains an appropriate
Contains a thesis, but this
Lacks a thesis or
thesis and/or controlling
thesis may not be entirely
controlling idea.
idea.
appropriate.
Fulfills all aspects of the
Indicates that the writer
May fail to fulfill the
assignment. Responds
understood the gist of the
assignment.
adequately to the
assignment, but the writer
assignment.
may have had some
difficulty fulfilling the
assignment.
Contains adequately
Contains paragraphs with
Contains flawed
constructed paragraphs.
topic sentences, but there
paragraph construction.
may be some flaws in
paragraph construction.
Expresses developed
Expresses some
ideas. All or most of the
developed ideas, but other severely underdeveloped.
paragraphs are long
ideas may be
Such essays are often
enough to indicate that
underdeveloped.
characterized by short
the writer has considered
Expresses ideas which are
paragraphs.
each subtopic.
Has no more than three
May have as many as 10
May have 11 or more
major sentence errors
major sentence errors.
major sentence errors.
(fragments, run-ons,
comma splices, non-
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
69
parallelism, mixed
constructions).
Contains almost no
May contain occasional
May contain several
interfering uses of
uses of nonstandard
interfering uses of
nonstandard grammar
grammar.
nonstandard grammar.
(subject/verb agreement
problems, tense and
pronoun shifts,
apostrophe errors,
misspellings, etc.).
Exit Exam: Your Exit Exam will be read by two or three members of the English faculty.
Rather than awarding traditional letter grades on the final exam, each reader will give the
exam a 95 (indicating that the writing is still at the English 0095 level), a 96 (indicating
that the writing is acceptable for a student about to enter English 0096) or an 1101
(indicating that the writing is acceptable for a student about to enter English 1101).
Appeal Process: Most students who are earning Ps at the time of the final exam are able
to score well enough on the Exit Exam that they can move to English 0096. However, in
rare instances, extenuating circumstances may cause a student to fail. There is an appeal
process for students who fail the Exit Exam:
The student must present his/her writing portfolio to the instructor.
The student must then discuss the issue with the instructor, explaining why s/he feels the
Exit Exam does not reflect his/her writing ability.
After hearing the student’s plea and examining the content of the portfolio, the instructor
will decide whether or not to pursue the appeal on behalf of the student.
If the instructor agrees that an appeal should be made, then the instructor will contact the
Director of Composition, who will make one of the following decisions:
To allow the student to take a retest.
To submit the original exam to members of the English department for re-evaluation.
To allow the student to pass the course based on the strength of the student’s portfolio.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
70
To deny the student’s request. In this case, the student may follow standard university
procedure on grade appeals and take his or her appeal to the chair of the English and
Humanities department.
If the instructor disagrees with the student and does not choose to appeal on the behalf of
the student, then the student may follow standard university procedure on grade appeals
and take his or her appeal to the chair of the English and Humanities department.
Students are NOT to appeal an Exit result with the Placement Coordinator in the Student
Success Center.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
71
Appendix B
***SYLLABUS TEMPLATE***
ENGL 0096
Last Updated July 2010
Basic Writing 2: Paragraphs and Essays
Term:
Section No.
Days/Times
Room Number/Bldg
Instructor:
Office Hours:
Office:
Office Phone:
Department Office: 351-3300
Email:
Prerequisite. ACT English sub-score of 11-18 or equivalent.
Required Text.
Gaetz, Lynne, and Suneeti Phadke. The Writer’s World: Essays. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. Print. ISBN 13: 978-0-13-243722-6.
Catalogue Description. English 0096 provides practice in the process of writing and
revising paragraphs and short essays. Standard organizational patterns for paragraphs
and essays are required with an emphasis on the use of standard English.
Placement in English 0096. SSU uses ACT English subscores (or other entrance
exam scores) to place students in English 0096. Studies indicate that there is a
strong correlation between writing ability and ACT English subscores. Most
students who earn 11-18 on the English ACT subscore write papers that:
Lack planning or revision;
Lack controlling ideas/theses;
Indicate that the writers have difficulty answering prompts and/or following directions;
Contain flawed paragraph construction;
Express ideas which are severely underdeveloped;
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
72
Have major sentence errors (fragments, run-ons, comma splices, non-parallelism, mixed
constructions);
Demonstrate little sense of audience awareness (through the use of inappropriate
tone/diction, slang, or inappropriate words);
Or contain many consistent and interfering uses of non-standard grammar (including
subject/verb agreement problems, tense and pronoun shifts, apostrophe errors, and
misspellings).
Nevertheless, the ACT is not a writing test, and some students are better writers than their
ACT scores indicate. Therefore, students who believe that their ACT English subscores
are not indicative of their writing abilities are allowed to petition to take the Writing
Skills Placement Exam before registering for English 0096; students who score well on
this essay exam may be allowed to skip English 0096.
Course Goals & Objectives. The primary goal of English 0096 is to prepare students
for English 1101. In order to reach this goal, students will:
Practice composing paragraphs.
Compose and revise a minimum of five essays. The final draft of each of these essays
must:
Demonstrate that the student has collected and arranged writing ideas.
Address a limited, focused topic.
Be developed with appropriate, coherent, and unified paragraphs.
Target an appropriate audience.
Include sentences that are tied together cohesively.
Include various types of sentences.
Reflect an understanding of the fundamentals of standard punctuation, spelling, and
mechanics.
Be at least 350 words long.
Review the fundamentals of Standard American English. This review may involve
lecture, discussion, in-class activities, and out-of-class exercises.
Improve their ability to edit their own work and correct punctuation, spelling, and
mechanics.
Take the English 0096 Exit Exam.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
73
Keep a writing portfolio. This portfolio must include all of the work completed in
English 0096 this semester.
Policies.
Portfolio: Save a copy of every essay and related materials (including rough drafts,
revisions, and final drafts). Be sure to save electronic backup copies of your final drafts
as well. I will collect your portfolio at the end of the semester.
Accommodation for Disabilities: In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Shawnee State University
provides reasonable academic adjustments or accommodations for students with
documented disabilities. (Reasonable accommodations are those which would not
compromise the integrity of the academic program.) Examples of documented disabilities
include physical, psychiatric, and/or learning impairments that substantially limit one or
more major life activities of the student. Students seeking academic adjustments or
accommodations must provide documentation of the disability to the Coordinator of
Disability Services, located in the Student Success Center, 1st Floor Massie Hall (740/3513276), prior to receiving services. After meeting with the Coordinator, students are
encouraged to meet with their instructors to discuss their needs.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s words or ideas as your own writing
without acknowledging your debt to the original source. Plagiarism can include not only quoted
material that is not cited and credited but also summaries or paraphrases of material that are not
cited and credited. Plagiarism can also include submitting a paper that someone else wrote or
one that was substantially revised by someone else. Plagiarism can be unintentional as well as
intentional. To avoid plagiarism, submit your own work and be sure to credit and cite sources
properly. If you have any questions about proper documentation, please speak with your
instructor.
Plagiarism constitutes academic misconduct according to university policy. Any instances of
plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, may be reported to the chair of the Department of
English and Humanities. The chair, in consultation with the faculty member, will then
determine whether circumstances warrant a formal charge of academic misconduct as set forth
in the SSU Student Handbook. A student who turns in plagiarized work will receive a failing
grade for the assignment and may face dismissal from the course.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
74
Grading.
Pass/No-Credit Policy: English 0096 is a Pass/No-Credit class. You will not receive a
traditional letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) on your grade report or on your transcript. Instead,
those of you who successfully complete the course and who become eligible to enroll in
English 1101 will receive Ps (Pass); those who need more writing practice before
enrolling in English 1101 will receive NCs (No Credit). Neither a P nor an NC will have
an impact on your GPA.
Determining the Course Grade (P or NC):
In order to receive a P in English 0096, you must:
Earn a score of Satisfactory or Exceptional on at least 3 of your required essays;
Earn an average of at least 70% on all out-of-class exercises;
Earn an average of at least 70% on all in-class exercises, AND
Pass the English 0096 Exit Exam.
Scoring of Essays: The following rubric indicates how your multiple-draft essays in
English 0096 will be scored.
The Exceptional Essay
The Satisfactory Essay
The Unsatisfactory Essay
Shows evidence of
Shows some evidence of
Shows little or no
planning and/or revision.
planning and revision.
evidence of planning or
revision.
Contains an appropriate
Contains a thesis, but this
Lacks a thesis or
thesis and/or controlling
thesis may not be entirely
controlling idea.
idea.
appropriate.
Fulfills all aspects of the
Indicates that the writer
May fail to fulfill the
assignment. Responds
understood the gist of the
assignment.
adequately to the
assignment, but the writer
assignment.
may have had some
difficulty fulfilling the
assignment.
Contains adequately
Contains paragraphs with
Contains flawed paragraph
constructed paragraphs.
topic sentences, but there
construction.
may be some flaws in
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
75
paragraph construction.
Expresses developed
Expresses some developed
Expresses ideas which are
ideas. All or most of the
ideas, but other ideas may
severely underdeveloped.
paragraphs are long
be underdeveloped.
Such essays are often
enough to indicate that the
characterized by short
writer has considered each
paragraphs.
subtopic.
Has no more than three
May have as many as 10
May have 11 or more
major sentence errors
major sentence errors.
major sentence errors.
Demonstrates a sense of
Demonstrates a sense of
Demonstrates no sense of
audience awareness by
audience, but may
audience awareness.
generally using
occasionally mix slang or
Frequently uses slang or
appropriate tone and
other inappropriate words
other inappropriate words.
diction.
with academic tone and
(fragments, run-ons,
comma splices, nonparallelism, mixed
constructions).
diction.
Contains almost no
May contain occasional
May contain several
interfering uses of
uses of nonstandard
interfering uses of
nonstandard grammar
grammar.
nonstandard grammar.
(subject/verb agreement
problems, tense and
pronoun shifts, apostrophe
errors, misspellings, etc.).
Exit Exam: You will sign up to take the Exit Exam during one of several two-hour exam
blocks that will be scheduled for the last week of regular classes. The Exit Exam is given
during this week (rather than during final exam week) so that there will be time to have
each Exit Exam read by two or three members of the English faculty. Rather than
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
76
awarding traditional letter grades on the final exam, each reader will give the exam a 96
(indicating that the writing is still at the English 0096 level) or an 1101 (indicating that
the writing is acceptable for a student about to enter English 1101). Sometimes, a reader
may decide that a 96+ or 1101- is a more appropriate score than a simple 96 or 1101. A
96+ indicates that the writing would not be acceptable for an incoming English 1101
student, but it does show potential. An 1101- indicates that the writing is not entirely
acceptable for an incoming English 1101 student, but the reader felt that, with a great
deal of hard work, the student might be able to succeed in English 1101.
Score 1
Score 2
Score 3 (if needed)
Final Score
1101
1101
NA
1101
1101
1101-
NA
1101
1101-
1101-
NA
1101
1101
1101-
96+
1101
1101-
1101-
96+
1101
1101
1101
96
1101
1101
1101-
96
1101
1101-
1101-
96
1101
1101
96+
96+
96
1101-
96+
96+
96
1101-
96+
96
96
1101
96
96
96
1101-
96
96
96
96+
96+
NA
96
96+
96
NA
96
96
96
NA
96
During final exam week, you will have an individual conference with your instructor. At
that conference, the instructor will give you the results of your Exit Exam. Most students
who are earning Ps at the time of the final exam are able to successfully complete the
Exit Exam. However, in rare instances, extenuating circumstances may cause a student
to fail. There is an appeal process for students who fail the Exit Exam:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
77
The student must present his/her writing portfolio to the instructor.
The student must then discuss the issue with the instructor, explaining why s/he feels the
Exit Exam does not reflect his/her writing ability.
After hearing the student’s plea and examining the content of the portfolio, the instructor
will decide whether or not to pursue the appeal on behalf of the student.
If the instructor agrees that an appeal should be made, then the instructor will contact the
Director of Composition, who will make one of the following decisions:
To allow the student to take a retest.
To submit the original exam to members of the English department for re-evaluation.
To allow the student to pass the course based on the strength of the student’s portfolio.
To deny the student’s request. In this case, the student may follow standard university
procedure on grade appeals and take his or her appeal to the chair of the English and
Humanities department.
If the instructor disagrees with the student and does not choose to appeal on the behalf of
the student, then the student may follow standard university procedure on grade appeals
and take his or her appeal to the chair of the English and Humanities department.
Students are NOT to appeal an Exit result with the Placement Coordinator in the Student
Success Center.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
78
Appendix C
***Syllabus Template***
English 1101
Discourse and Composition
Note to Instructors: The following core syllabus, with the exception of the required
textbooks list, is printed on pages A7-A10 of The Longman Concise Companion.
Some instructors reprint this information on their expanded syllabi, but most simply
refer students to pages A7-A10.
Catalog Description:
An introduction to college composition. Students practice responding appropriately to
different types of rhetorical situations, writing in various genres, and critiquing discourse.
Students will learn to research and document their work in appropriate formats. Preq.:
Appropriate developmental class or placement.
Required Textbooks:
Anson, Chris M., Robert A. Schwegler, and Marcia F. Muth. The Longman Concise
Companion. 2nd SSU ed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print. [ISBN 9780558310264]
Reid, Stephen. The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers ValPack. Brief 9th ed.
Boston: Prentice, 2011. Print. [ISBN 0205828205 Note: This is the ISBN for the
ValPack version of the textbook. The ValPack includes both The Prentice Hall Guide for
College Writers and Purposes: A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Both texts are required
for all students enrolled in either English 1101 or English 1102. Although Prentice Hall
often packages these two texts together for the same net price as The Prentice Hall Guide
alone, if you choose to purchase the books from a supplier other than the SSU Bookstore,
you may not be able to find the ValPack; thus, you may have to purchase the books
separately, and you will need the ISBNs for both texts in order to make sure you purchase
the correct editions. The ISBN for The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers alone is
0205752071. The ISBN for Purposes alone is 0132250691.]
Credit Hours: 5
This course counts toward a requirement of the General Education Program (GEP).
Students fulfill the English Composition component of the GEP by first completing either
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
79
English 1101 or 1102, and then by completing English 1105. In each of the composition
courses, students practice writing clearly and concisely in a variety of formats.
Goals and Objectives:
Note: These goals and objectives for English 1101 are based on the Council of Writing
Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition and on The
University System of Ohio Outcomes for English Composition. Many of the statements
that follow are borrowed directly from those documents.
Students who complete English 1101 will develop their writing ability, learning to write
coherent, focused, purposeful prose using the structural and mechanical conventions
appropriate to a college classroom. Furthermore, students who complete this course will
develop their ability to read carefully and think critically. Throughout the semester,
students will demonstrate—through writing and speaking—that they have understood
both the content and structural principles at work in what they have read.
Rhetorical Knowledge
Students who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Recognize the elements that inform rhetorical situations. Students should be able to
distinguish among evaluative, personal, informational, and analytical essays as ways to
communicate. Furthermore, students should be able to produce expository texts that
Have a clear purpose,
Include explicit or implicit thesis claims,
Respond to the needs of a variety of audiences, and
Assume an appropriate stance.
Adopt an appropriate voice, tone, style, and level of formality for different rhetorical
situations.
Use conventions of format and structure appropriate for different rhetorical situations.
Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
Students in this class will examine the cultural context of published writing. Students
who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Use reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communication.
Think critically of the ideas developed in published works, analyzing relationships among
writer, text, and audience in various kinds of texts.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
80
Analyze the features and rhetorical devices that professional writers use to achieve their
purposes.
Access print and electronic library resources.
Evaluate library resources and Internet materials.
Write essays that integrate appropriate source material.
Knowledge of Composing Processes
Students who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Recognize that writing is a flexible and not necessarily linear process, but rather a
recursive one.
Understand that most writers must compose multiple drafts to complete a successful text.
Use various strategies to generate ideas and text.
Understand the differences between drafting, revising, and editing.
Apply their understanding of drafting, revising, and editing processes to their own work,
thus producing successive drafts of increasing quality.
Collaboration
Students who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Participate in collaborative and social aspects of writing.
Work with others to improve their own and others’ texts. They will frequently be
required to thoughtfully complete activities such as peer review.
Balance the advantages of advantages of relying on others with taking responsibility for
their own work.
Knowledge of Conventions
Students who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Employ appropriate conventions for structure, paragraphing, mechanics, and format.
They should be able to write multi-paragraph essays that develop a coherent thesis with
unity, structure, and sufficient detail.
Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Their six
formal essays should not only be written in Standard American English, using collegeappropriate diction, but also demonstrate a competence in the conventions and grammar
of the English language.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
81
Acknowledge the work of others when appropriate. They will recognize, understand, and
avoid plagiarism by providing complete documentation that adheres to MLA format.
Composing in Electronic Environments
Students who successfully complete English 1101 should be able to
Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts.
Use a variety of technologies and digital media to address a range of audiences.
Grading:
The departmental grading standards for the formal essays you will produce in English
1101 and English 1105 are printed on pages A21-A27 of this handbook. Your instructor
will give you a handout that describes your writing assignments and indicates how much
weight will be given to each. At least 70% of your course grade will be determined by
the scores you receive on your essays.
Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s words or ideas as your own writing without
acknowledging your debt to the original source. Plagiarism can include not only quoted
material that is not cited and credited but also summaries or paraphrases of material that
are not cited and credited. Plagiarism can also include submitting a paper that someone
else wrote or one that was substantially revised by someone else. Plagiarism can be
unintentional as well as intentional. To avoid plagiarism, submit your own work and be
sure to credit and cite sources properly. If you have any questions about proper
documentation, see your instructor.
Plagiarism constitutes academic misconduct according to university policy. Any
incidents of plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, may be reported to the Chair of the
Department of English and Humanities or other university officials. The chair, in
consultation with the faculty member, will then determine whether circumstances warrant
a formal charge of academic misconduct as set forth in the SSU Student Handbook. A
student who turns in plagiarized work will receive a failing grade for the assignment and
may face dismissal from the course. In such a case, the student will receive an F—not a
W—for the course.
Use of Student Work:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
82
Students in English 1101 should expect to share their writing with their classmates on a
regular basis. Activities such as peer review and group work are central to a successful
writing class. Furthermore, the papers that you write for English 1101 may be retained by
the college for educational purposes. Any graded work that your instructor cannot return
by the end of the term will be retained by the Department of English and Humanities for
one semester only.
Note to Instructors: The following core syllabus, with the exception of the required
textbooks list, is printed on pages A11-A14 of The Longman Concise Companion.
Some instructors reprint this information on their expanded syllabi, but most simply
refer students to pages A11-A14.
Disability Statement:
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, Shawnee State University provides reasonable academic
adjustments or accommodations for students with documented disabilities. (Reasonable
accommodations are those which would not compromise the integrity of the academic
program.) Examples of documented disabilities include physical, psychiatric, and/or
learning impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities of the
student. Students seeking academic adjustments or accommodations must provide
documentation of the disability to the Coordinator of Disability Services, Student Success
Center, Massie Hall (740-351-3276), prior to receiving services. After meeting with the
Coordinator, students are encouraged to meet with their instructors to discuss their needs.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
83
Appendix D
***Syllabus Template***
English 1102
Discourse and Composition
Course Syllabus
Catalog Description: An accelerated introduction to college composition. Students
practice responding appropriately to different types of rhetorical situations, writing in
various genres, and critiquing discourse. Students will be required to conduct scholarly
research and document their work in appropriate formats. Preq.: Placement.
Credit Hours: 3
This course counts toward a requirement of the General Education Program (GEP).
Students fulfill the English Composition component of the GEP by first completing either
English 1102 or 1101, and then by completing English 1105. In each of the composition
courses, students practice writing clearly and concisely in a variety of formats.
Required Textbooks:
Anson, Chris M., Robert A. Schwegler, and Marcia F. Muth. The Longman Concise
Companion. 2nd SSU ed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print. [ISBN 9780558310264]
Reid, Stephen. The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers ValPack. Brief 9th ed.
Boston: Prentice, 2011. Print. [ISBN 0205828205 Note: This is the ISBN for the
ValPack version of the textbook. The ValPack includes both The Prentice Hall Guide for
College Writers and Purposes: A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Both texts are required
for all students enrolled in either English 1101 or English 1102. Although Prentice Hall
often packages these two texts together for the same net price as The Prentice Hall Guide
alone, if you choose to purchase the books from a supplier other than the SSU Bookstore,
you may not be able to find the ValPack; thus, you may have to purchase the books
separately, and you will need the ISBNs for both texts in order to make sure you purchase
the correct editions. The ISBN for The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers alone is
0205752071. The ISBN for Purposes alone is 0132250691.]
Goals and Objectives:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
84
Note: These goals and objectives for English 1102 are based on the Council of Writing
Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition and on The
University System of Ohio Outcomes for English Composition. Many of the statements
that follow are borrowed directly from those documents.
Students who complete English 1102 will develop their writing ability, learning to write
coherent, focused, purposeful prose using the structural and mechanical conventions
appropriate to a college classroom. Furthermore, students who complete this course will
develop their ability to read carefully and think critically. Throughout the semester,
students will demonstrate—through writing and speaking—that they have understood
both the content and structural principles at work in what they have read.
Rhetorical Knowledge
Students who successfully complete English 1102 should be able to
Recognize the elements that inform rhetorical situations. Students should be able to
distinguish among evaluative, personal, informational, and analytical essays as ways to
communicate. Furthermore, students should be able to produce expository texts that
Have a clear purpose,
Include explicit or implicit thesis claims,
Respond to the needs of a variety of audiences, and
Assume an appropriate stance.
Adopt an appropriate voice, tone, style, and level of formality for different rhetorical
situations.
Use conventions of format and structure appropriate for different rhetorical situations.
Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
Students in this class will examine the cultural context of published writing. Students
who successfully complete English 1102 should be able to
Use reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communication.
Think critically of the ideas developed in published works, analyzing relationships among
writer, text, and audience in various kinds of texts.
Analyze the features and rhetorical devices that professional writers use to achieve their
purposes.
Access print and electronic library resources.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
85
Evaluate library resources and Internet materials.
Write essays that integrate appropriate source material.
Knowledge of Composing Processes
Students who enter English 1102 typically understand that writing is a flexible and not
necessarily linear process, but rather a recursive one. Furthermore, they typically
recognize that most writers must compose multiple drafts to complete a successful text.
English 1102 will help these students better understand the various phases of the writing
process. Students who successfully complete English 1102 should be able to
Use various strategies to generate ideas and text.
Understand the differences between drafting, revising and editing.
Apply their understanding of drafting, revising, and editing processes to their own work,
thus producing successive drafts of increasing quality.
Collaboration
Students who successfully complete English 1102 should be able to
Participate in collaborative and social aspects of writing.
Work with others to improve their own and others’ texts. They will frequently be
required to thoughtfully complete activities such as peer review.
Balance the advantages of advantages of relying on others with taking responsibility for
their own work.
Knowledge of Conventions
Students who enter English 1102 should be able to write multi-paragraph essays that
develop a coherent thesis with clear structure and reasonable detail. They should also be
able to edit such essays, correcting flaws in syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
In English 1102, students will further develop these drafting and editing skills as they
practice writing more sophisticated essays. Students who successfully complete English
1102 should be able to
Employ appropriate conventions for structure, paragraphing, mechanics, and format.
Refine their use of syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Their four formal essays
should not only be written in Standard American English, using college-appropriate
diction, but also demonstrate proficiency in the conventions and grammar of the English
language.
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
86
Acknowledge the work of others when appropriate. They will recognize, understand, and
avoid plagiarism by providing complete documentation that adheres to MLA format.
Composing in Electronic Environments
Students who successfully complete English 1102 should be able to
Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts.
Use a variety of technologies and digital media to address a range of audiences.
Grading:
The departmental grading standards for the formal essays you will produce in English
1102 and English 1105 are printed on pages A21-A27 of this handbook. Your instructor
will give you a handout that describes your writing assignments and indicates how much
weight will be given to each. At least 70% of your course grade will be determined by
the scores you receive on your essays.
Plagiarism:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another’s words or ideas as your own writing without
acknowledging your debt to the original source. Plagiarism can include not only quoted
material that is not cited and credited but also summaries or paraphrases of material that
are not cited and credited. Plagiarism can also include submitting a paper that someone
else wrote or one that was substantially revised by someone else. Plagiarism can be
unintentional as well as intentional. To avoid plagiarism, submit your own work and be
sure to credit and cite sources properly. If you have any questions about proper
documentation, see your instructor.
Plagiarism constitutes academic misconduct according to university policy. Any
incidents of plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, may be reported to the Chair of the
Department of English and Humanities or other university officials. The chair, in
consultation with the faculty member, will then determine whether circumstances warrant
a formal charge of academic misconduct as set forth in the SSU Student Handbook. A
student who turns in plagiarized work will receive a failing grade for the assignment and
may face dismissal from the course. In such a case, the student will receive an F—not a
W—for the course.
Use of Student Work:
FRESHMAN COMPOSITION
87
Students in English 1102 should expect to share their writing with their classmates on a
regular basis. Activities such as peer review and group work are central to a successful
writing class. Furthermore, the papers that you write for English 1102 may be retained by
the college for educational purposes. Any graded work that your instructor cannot return
by the end of the term will be retained by the Department of English and Humanities for
one semester only.
Disability Statement:
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, Shawnee State University provides reasonable academic
adjustments or accommodations for students with documented disabilities. (Reasonable
accommodations are those which would not compromise the integrity of the academic
program.) Examples of documented disabilities include physical, psychiatric, and/or
learning impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities of the
student. Students seeking academic adjustments or accommodations must provide
documentation of the disability to the Coordinator of Disability Services, Student Success
Center, Massie Hall (740-351-3276), prior to receiving services. After meeting with the
Coordinator, students are encouraged to meet with their instructors to discuss their needs.
Download

This analysis explores the various Freshman Composition courses