English Department Proposes Eliminating English 090, Adding New Credited Class

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Yaasmeen Piper 

Editor-in-Chief 

A major ESU English Department curriculum proposal that would eliminate the noncredit-bearing remedial writing course, English 090, and replace it with English 101—where students would receive a standard letter grade and credit toward graduation—overcame an important hurdle in being approved during an Arts and Letters meeting on March 26.

English 090 runs as a pass or fail course that does not offer students credit toward graduation. However, those who take the course are still required to pay nearly $300 for the class.

“A lot of students quite reasonably object to having to pay for a course that doesn’t count toward graduation,” said Professor Leigh Smith who currently teaches English 090. “That is the reason that my committee has been pushing to make the credits count.”

According to one curriculum document, since 40 percent of students are required to take English 090, the English department no longer see the course as remedial.   

Students are placed in the course based off of their SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER test scores. The class specialized in teaching students sentence structure, paragraph organization and other skills they would need for English 103.

But professors are experiencing low attendance and participation numbers.

“If you tell any people that a C is as good as an A, would you try just as hard?” Smith said. “It’s not giving the proper incentive.”

Having English 090 as a pass/fail course also does not reflect the effort that goes into the class, Smith said.  On average, students are expected to complete four essays throughout the duration of the class as well as other writing and reading assignments. 

“When we call something pass/fail, we create the impression that it is easy, and it’s not,” Smith said. “For me, it just comes down to fairness. Having the credits count will also reflect the difficulty of the course.”

The curriculum document states that implementing English 101 will contribute to students’ motivation because their grade will affect their GPA.

The math department has a similar course, Math 090, that is another noncredit-bearing class required for certain students. The department is looking into other remedial math options, but they have no current plans on eliminating the course.

The curriculum document states that implementing English 101 will contribute to students’ motivation because their grade will affect their GPA.

The math department has a similar course, Math 090, that is another noncredit-bearing class required for certain students. The department is looking into other remedial math options, but they have no current plans on eliminating the course.

“Frankly, we have a number of students who need it,” said Olivia Carducci, chair of the math department. “We have to figure out another way to help them before we can get rid of it, so we are not there yet.”

Dr. Maria-Kitchens-Kintz, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, declined to comment on the pending proposal but said the process is faculty driven and must go through several layers before being approved. 

If approved, ESU will choose a start date for the new curriculum and effect all incoming students after that chosen date.

According to Dr. Kathleen Duguay of the English Department, the new curriculum will not work retroactively, meaning, students who took English 090 before English 101 was created will not have their credits replaced.

Students will still be able to test out of English 101 and go straight to the required English 103 by taking the ACCUPLACER test.

“I am very much in favor of doing,” said Dr. Duguay. “We’re hoping that the proposal will benefit students by giving them the opportunity to become more proficient in their writing and make them better prepared for when they get into 103.”

Email Yaasmeen at:

ypiper@live.esu.edu

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