Policies and Practices in Clark College’s Composition Courses

ENGL 097, 098, 101, 102, 103, 110, 113, 115, 135, and 235
The Clark College English Department designs composition classes to increase students' reading, writing, and thinking skills in order to promote fluency and confidence in written communication. At each level of English composition the grade of C will signify students' ability to: All of the above are courses in composition. They are not courses in literature, even though an instructor may require literary as well as non-literary works to support the master goal in this writing program: to teach students to write well about something important.

ENGL& 101, 102, and 235 are "common course numbers," as indicated by the ampersand (&) after ENGL in the catalog and schedule. These courses have the same number in all Washington community colleges and transfer automatically, without review. In this document, the ENGL or ENGL& prefix is sometimes dropped.

ENGL 097 and 098
These courses are designed to prepare students for college-level writing; at Clark they are crucial to the preparation of well over three-thousand students each year. The COMPASS test, which includes an assessment of English writing skills, is required prior to enrollment in ENGL 097, 098, 101, or 135.

Students who score from 34 to 48 in writing skills in their COMPASS test must register in ENGL 097. They must achieve at least a C (2.0) in ENGL 097 to move to ENGL 098

Those who score from 49-77 in writing skills are assigned to ENGL 098, which we intend to be their springboard into ENGL 101, the first college-level writing course. They must achieve at least a C (2.0) in ENGL 098 to move to ENGL &101.

Students should also take any reading courses indicated by their COMPASS reading test results.

Instructors choose the texts for ENGL 097 and 098; and in helping students to prepare themselves for college-level writing, they will assign and assess as much written work as possible, between 2500 and 4000 words, in the forms of essays and other exercises. In-class writing will also be assigned.

ENGL 101, 102, 103, 110, 113, 115, 135, and 2355
Those who score from 78-100 in writing skills on the COMPASS test may register in ENGL &101. In addition, they should register in the reading class indicated by scores on the COMPASS reading test.

The purpose in common of ENGL 101, 102, 103, 110, 113, 115, 135 and 235 is to help students understand and practice the process of writing while developing the ability to write standard English effectively, to discuss ideas and opinions in a precise, clear, direct, vigorous, and sustained manner, and to use information found through research to develop and support ideas.

The special goal of ENGL 102, 110, 113, 115, is to instruct students in the principles and practices of performing research and presenting the results of that work in a major paper that takes and effectively argues a position.

English 103 aims to build upon achievements in 101 and 102: the course emphasizes the development and explanation of challenging ideas in longer essays on literature, economics, philosophy, and other fields. Like ENGL 102, this course stresses the importance of sound research to develop and validate ideas on an important subject.

English 135 and 235 are the lower- and upper-level courses in technical writing. They fill the work-world writing needs and curricular requirements of students in designated technology degree programs across the College (see the Clark College catalog or talk with an adviser). In their special ways, Although writing in these classes concerns technical subjects and uses technical formats, these courses incorporate the same goals and rules that we have prescribed for ENGL 101, 102, and 103. Those goals and rules, as adapted by a technical writing instructor, will apply to those courses.

Texts for These Courses
In order to help students strengthen and refine their writing, all instructors will require purchase of a writing handbook selected by English department faculty. Instructors will usually prescribe other texts as well and will require students to own one of the standard dictionaries available in the college bookstore.

Scope and Methods of ENGL 101, 102, 103, 110, 113, 115, 135, and 235
Above all, of course, your instructor will ask you to write. He or she will require you to produce between 4000 and 5000 words of finished compositions, including some in-class writing. In ENGL 102, that total will include 2000 or more words in a library-research paper.

Each instructor will determine the number and kinds of writing assignments for each class. The instructor will also decide what special approaches or work may be appropriate to a particular section of ENGL 101, 102, 103, 110, 113, 115, 135, or 235. He or she may require a journal, a vocabulary notebook, an oral report, special assignments tailored to a student's particular needs, a rewrite of an essay, complete re-accomplishment of an assignment, exploration of the library, or individual conferences about the work.

All instructors study and comment systematically on student essays. They will also generally return the essays for follow-through correction before the next assignment is due in order to encourage the continuity of skill development from one assignment to another.

Instructors will also explain in a written syllabus, within the first week, details of the course that will include the criteria for arriving at final grades.

In general, however, students will be expected by the end of each course to be able to describe and use the stages of the writing process; understand and apply the concepts of audience and purpose in writing; write essays that each contain a clear and competent thesis statement; organize essays logically; develop paragraphs fully and effectively; express ideas accurately, concisely, and clearly with appropriate diction, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and mechanics; and incorporate information from library research in a way that supports the essay's purpose and gives appropriate, academic-style credit to all borrowed material.

Instructors comment on these matters paper by paper; however, an instructor may give corrective advice on only two or three of these issues at a time, rather than advice on all of them on each paper.

Each instructor will also explain the criteria by which papers will be evaluated.

The Potential Problem of Plagiarism in Any Course
Instructors will explain that any writing that uses sources must follow appropriate conventions for citations in order to avoid plagiarism: the presentation as one's own work, with intent to deceive, the words, phrases, ideas, findings, illustrations, etc., of another commentator or writer. Please study the statement on plagiarism.

Other Rules for All Writing Courses, Including ENGL 097 and 098
Each at-home essay assignment must be legibly typed or word processed on standard 8 1/2x11-inch white paper.

The instructor may also require students to attach working drafts (never on loose-leaf tear-out paper) to the final ones and will give more detailed directions concerning special manuscript requirements.

Deadlines for assignments will be set by each instructor. All assignments for the quarter must be handed in or fulfilled by the times and under the conditions that the instructor prescribes. Failure to hand in or to fulfill even one assignment may be considered failure to complete the work of the course and may result in failure of the course. (Only under special circumstances can the grade "I" be given.)

Punctual arrival for classes and regular attendance will be expected throughout the quarter because writing courses need to be highly and carefully structured. Missing the equivalent of two weeks of classes typically results in failure of the course: The tardiness and attendance policies of individual instructor will prevail, however, even if they allow fewer absences. Punctuality and attendance as well as your writing itself can determine the grade. Students have the responsibility of discovering the announcements and work they might have missed during an absence and the work that might have to made up or done.

Note on Prerequisites for Writing Courses
As we have already explained, the grade of C (2.0) will be required for passage from ENGL 097 to 098 and from 098 to 101 and 101 or 135 to 102, 110, 113, 115, or 235 Please note in addition that you must earn at least a C (2.0) in ENGL 102 to qualify for 103. The prerequisite for entry into ENGL 135 is eligibility for ENGL 101. Prerequisite checking is done by computer at the time of registration for all English composition classes. Registration will be blocked if the records indicate a prerequisite has not been met. All instructors double-check student placement on the first day of the class.