Pathway Transformation Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions
I took the English Assessment test and my score suggests placement in English 59; what are my options?
You should definitely see a counselor who will discuss the following options with you: Enroll in English 59 (Developmental Writing): The first course in the traditional, two-semester composition sequence is designed to provide instruction in academic essay writing fundamentals. Students read pre-college-level texts and write essays that respond to ideas in those texts, using the reading as a springboard for writing and working toward more involved engagement with the readings as the semester progresses. The course meets four hours per week and moves from shorter readings and essays toward slightly longer and more challenging assignments. Successful completion of this course readies a student for English 60 (Preparation for College Writing). Enroll in English 99 (Accelerated Preparation for College Writing): In the accelerated pathway, students meet five hours per week, engaging with college-level readings and writing essays that, from the outset, require thorough engagement with those readings. This course includes more frequent essay assignments than is typical in the traditional sequence, and students submit a sampling of their best writing at semester’s end, a portfolio worth 30% of their grade. 99 is appropriate for any student who has placed below college level (59 or 60) and would prefer an intensive one-semester course that provides the necessary support for students to work at a more demanding pace to prepare themselves for English 100 in one semester. Successful completion of this course readies a student for English 100. (College Writing). Enroll in English 100 Enhanced (College Writing): With this option, students will enroll directly into College Writing and receive additional support to help them be successful. This support includes an extra hour of instruction, for a total of five hours class time per week, and an in-class tutor who will also be available for support sessions outside of class. In addition to covering the usual English 100 curriculum, this course will address study habits, time management and other academic skills needed for college success.
I took the English Assessment test and my score suggests placement in English 60; what are my options?
You should definitely see a counselor who will discuss the following options with you: Enroll in English 60 (Preparation for College Writing): The second course in the sequence (60) builds upon the essay skills developed in 59 to foster more effective organization and development and more integration of ideas from a mix of pre-college and college-level readings. This course emphasizes synthesis of ideas from readings and increasing ability to meet the demands of various academic writing situations as preparation for the research-oriented tasks that will be encountered in English 100. The course meets four hours per week, and builds from summary response assignments to analysis essays that draw upon multiple readings. Successful completion of this course readies a student for English 100 (College Writing). Enroll in English 99 (Accelerated Preparation for College Writing): See course description above. Enrolling in English 99 will not save you time; however, some students may find the intensive curriculum of English 99 combined with the course’s emphasis on student success skills beneficial in preparing them for College Writing. Enroll in English 100 Enhanced (College Writing): See course description above. Students whose placement score suggests English 60 will save one semester by enrolling directly into College Writing and might benefit from extra support to be successful.
I took the English Assessment test and my score suggests placement in English 100, but I don’t feel ready for that class; what course should I take?
If students have already placed into English 100, they should NOT take a lower class because they don’t “feel ready” for college-level work. Students should enroll in the highest level course for which they are eligible. Evidence shows they will be more successful this way. This also goes for students who have successfully completed English 60 or ESL 186 which means they are ready for English 100 and should enroll in that course next. If students feel they might need additional support to be successful in English 100, they might want to choose the English 100 Enhanced option which meets 5 hours per week in order to provide extra attention to skills for success.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional sequence (59-60-100, or 60-100)?
In both English 59 and English 60, there is more explicit and step-by-step instruction in the writing process and the components of effective essays, which can be more comfortable for students who want more time to prepare for English 100 and wish to build skills gradually. Students who begin in 59 will need to pass both 59 and 60, which means at least two semesters in order to prepare for transfer level English 100 (College Writing). Thus, the 59 –60-100 sequence can take longer than the 99-100 sequence, and thus may use more of a student’s financial aid eligibility.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the accelerated option (99-100) or direct placement into College Writing (100 or 100 Enhanced)?
If students place in 59, the accelerated sequence will save a semester’s time which can be good for persistence and save money. If students are motivated by challenge, the course can inspire them to make significant progress in a short time, but only if they are willing to commit to the heavier workload the course demands. Students who simply want to move faster but are unwilling to work harder will struggle in this pathway. Direct placement into College Writing (100 or 100 Enhanced) will also save time and will provide a similarly challenging learning environment for students willing to commit.
Can I handle an accelerated course or direct placement into College Writing if I’ve been out of school for a while or have a learning disability or don’t feel confident about my writing skills?
Students with these profiles have all been successful in English 99 if they are willing to be challenged and work extra hard. In fact, students who have faced low expectations in the past and have thus become demotivated in their English classes often find the challenge and fast pace of this course to be particularly motivating. They might be similarly challenged and successful by opting for English 100 Enhanced.