Achievement requirements

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GSW 1120123L

Spring 2015




Office Phone:

Office Hours:


Learning Commons:

Learning Commons Phone:

Andy Myers

439C East Hall



210 East Hall (my mailbox is above my name)

140 Jerome Library

372-2823 (call ahead to make an appointment)


  • Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 12th edition. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. Pearson Longman, 2013.

  • Kirszner & Mandell: The Brief Wadsworth Handbook. 7th edition. BGSU Custom Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

  • Portfolio of GSW 1120 materials (available at the BGSU Bookstore and SBX Bookstore).

  • A laptop with a word processing program (Microsoft Word or Open Office) that you must bring to every class, fully charged.

  • A means of backing up your work (for example— flash drive, OneDrive, etc.).

  • A BGSU e-mail address that you should check on a regular basis, and a MyBGSU account.

  • A college-level dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster, which is available online for no charge ( Alternatively, you could purchase a hard copy collegiate dictionary, such as The American Heritage Dictionary.

  • Funds on BG1 card for printing GSW-related assignments

  • Paper clips or staples and a stapler.

GSW 1120, “Academic Writing,” is the last in the series of General Studies Writing (GSW) courses offered at BGSU. Although there are probably hundreds of varieties of academic writing that occur in various contexts (some of which you may have explored in 1100 or 1110), in this class we concentrate on three varieties of writing that are especially prominent in academic settings: the critique, the multiple source synthesis essay, the Pre-Search essay, and the synthesized, researched essay.
The emphasis in GSW 1120 is on developing your critical and analytical skills in reading, thinking, and writing. Specifically, GSW 1120 is designed to give you instruction and extensive practice in reading scholarly articles, writing critiques of what you read, making logical connections among several sources, and writing about those connections. As part of your GSW 1120 research requirement, you also will learn to use the BGSU library effectively and to utilize a variety of academic sources in your writing.
Along with further developing your critical, analytical and rhetorical skills, GSW 1120 will provide further opportunities for you to consider, critique, and confirm your own and others’ values and the importance these values play in communication in all academic disciplines and professions.
In the table below, the Bowling Green Perspective (BGP) University Learning Outcomes for English Composition and Oral Communication (ECOC) are listed alongside their corresponding abbreviated GSW Learning Outcomes.

BGP Learning Outcomes:

English Composition & Oral Communication (ECOC)

GSW Course Learning Outcomes

ECOC 1. Formulate effective written and/or oral arguments which are based upon appropriate, credible research.

Engage in the electronic research and composing processes, including locating, evaluating, disseminating, using and acknowledging research, both textual and visual, from popular and scholarly electronic databases.

ECOC 2. Construct materials which respond effectively to the needs of a variety of audiences, with an emphasis upon academic audiences.

Demonstrate the importance of values systems in academic writing, including the abilities to write effectively to audiences with opposing viewpoints, to participate in an active learning community that values academic honesty, and to recognize the place of writing within learning processes.

ECOC 3. Analyze how the principles of rhetoric work together to promote effective communication. .

Practice the processes entailed in academic writing, including recursive processes for drafting texts, collaborative activities, the development of personalized strategies, and strategies for identifying and locating source materials.

ECOC 5. Utilize rhetorical strategies that are well-suited to the rhetorical situation, including appropriate voice, tone, and levels or formality.

Demonstrate rhetorical knowledge through writing in a variety of academic genres and to a variety of academic audiences.
Demonstrate knowledge of the conventions of academic writing, including format and documentation systems, coherence devices, conventional syntax, and control over surface features such as grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.

ECOC 6. Demonstrate critical thinking, reading, and writing strategies when crafting arguments that synthesize multiple points of view.

Demonstrate critical thinking, reading, and writing skills through approaching academic writing assignments as a series of cognitive tasks, including engaging in multiple modes of inquiry, synthesizing multiple points of view, critiquing student and professional writing, and assessing source materials.

In addition to the evaluation of your final expository argumentative essay for an essay grade, this essay will be used for assessment of the BGP’s ECOC Learning Outcomes using the following rubric in Canvas:

BGP Learning Outcomes:

English Composition & Oral Communication (ECOC)

Exceeds Expectations


Meets Expectations


Does Not Meet Expectations


ECOC 1. Formulate effective written and/or oral arguments which are based upon appropriate, credible research.

Writing demonstrates appropriate attention to sustained argument and/or credible, relevant research.

Writing demonstrates basic attention to sustained argument and/or credible, relevant research.

Writing lacks a sustained argument and/or credible, relevant research.

ECOC 2. Construct materials which respond effectively to the needs of a variety of audiences, with an emphasis upon academic audiences.

Writing demonstrates appropriate attention to context, audience, and assigned task

Writing demonstrates basic attention to context, audience, and assigned task.

Writing lacks minimal attention to context, audience, and assigned task.

ECOC 3. Analyze how the principles of rhetoric work together to promote effective communication. .

Writing demonstrates appropriate attention to purpose and to connecting various rhetorical elements into a whole essay.

Writing demonstrates basic attention to purpose and to connecting various rhetorical elements into a whole essay.

Writing does not demonstrate basic attention to purpose or to connecting various rhetorical elements into a whole essay.

ECOC 5. Utilize rhetorical strategies that are well-suited to the rhetorical situation, including appropriate voice, tone, and levels or formality.

Writing demonstrates appropriate attention to rhetorical situation, including tone, language level, and word choice.

Writing demonstrates basic attention to rhetorical situation, including tone, language level, and word choice.

Writing lacks minimal attention to rhetorical situation, including tone choice, language level, and word choice.

ECOC 6. Demonstrate critical thinking, reading, and writing strategies when crafting arguments that synthesize multiple points of view.

Writing demonstrates clear critical thinking and an ability to synthesize various points of view.

Writing demonstrates basic critical thinking and an ability to synthesize various points of view.

Writing does not demonstrate clear critical thinking or an ability to synthesize various points of view.

Classroom Etiquette
The classroom is a place for learning, and learning requires a respectful and appropriate environment. Therefore, students are expected to adhere to the following rules:

  1. As soon as class begins, students must log off Facebook, chat, email, Twitter, and the Internet. For the remainder of the class, students may not access any of these sites unless doing so is part of a required class activity.

  2. Students must turn off their phones and put them away at the beginning of each class session; phones should not be visible during class time.

  3. Likewise, I-Pods, MP3 players, and similar devices may not be used during class unless the instructor has specifically incorporated them into a class activity.

  4. Students should not talk with their neighbors while another person is talking.  Ample time for discussion will be allotted in this class, but when the instructor or a fellow student has the floor, that person should be given everyone’s undivided attention.

  5. Students may not come to class habitually late.  Work and other activities should be scheduled around courses, not the other way around.

  6. Students may not leave class before they have been dismissed.

  7. Class discussion must be respectful.  That is, whenever students speak, they should be considerate of other students’ feelings, use appropriate language, and make their points without being combative or confrontational.

When students maintain these and other standards of respect, everyone in the class benefits.

Laptop Sections

All students enrolled in this section are required to have a laptop that they will bring to each class. Because computers affect how scholars write, research, and communicate, this course will use laptops extensively to introduce student writers to the basics of academic writing. Your laptop must have a word processing program on it, and it should be fully charged and ready for each class. The use of power cords during class sessions is not permitted.

While we will use the Internet periodically throughout the semester, you will be expected to remain on task during class time. (See the previous Classroom Etiquette section.) Because we only meet for a few hours a week, it is required that you stay focused on the tasks at hand rather than surfing the internet or checking your email or Facebook site.

You will be graded on four fully-revised essays this term: a critique, two multiple source essays, and one researched essay.

Critique: The GSW 1120 critique is written as a systematic evaluation of an academic article. An effective critique provides your reader (and yourself) with a full understanding of the article being critiqued, its intended meaning, and its merits and faults. The 1120 critique will be graded on how fairly, accurately, and efficiently the text is summarized, how thoroughly and sensibly it is evaluated, and how clearly the criteria used to evaluate the essay are presented.
Multiple Source Essay: Another kind of essay you will write is a synthesized multiple source essay. You will write one such essay for this course. In this assignment, you will offer your own argument supported by various sources. You will be expected to present your view on the subject matter of several readings while synthesizing ideas from the authors you have read. While a proficient multiple source essay clearly expresses your own thoughts on a particular issue, it also exhibits your thorough familiarity with differing views on that issue. Your success in writing a proficient multiple source essay will be determined, in part, by how well you understand and synthesize information from the various sources you have read and your ability to incorporate sources found through independent research.
Pre-Search Essay: The Pre-Search Essay is designed to help you conduct preliminary, exploratory research on an issue of interest to you and to help you develop and hone a focused research question that you will answer in your formal Researched Essay. In this PreSearch assignment, you will familiarize yourself with multiple sides of one specific topic by finding four to five articles that show both similar and differing viewpoints on the issue. Like the multiple source essay, you will synthesize these sources to exhibit your familiarity with the complex views on the issue. However, this PreSearch essay does not present and support your argument; rather, it presents information about the multiple views/sides/arguments on the issue. Once you understand the multiple sides of an issue, you will consider your stance and develop a research question that you will use as the basis for your argument in the Researched Essay.
Researched Essay: You will write one 8-10 page researched essay in GSW 1120. This essay will make use of a variety of sources (e.g., journal and newspaper articles, books, online sources, interviews, surveys, etc.). Like the multiple source essay, the researched essay will present your view/argument on a particular issue while synthesizing ideas from a number of sources. The researched essay will be graded on the quality of the research, the clarity and accuracy with which the information is presented, the effectiveness and logic with which sources are used to support your own original and relevant argument, and your use of appropriate documentation of your sources. Because proficiency in argumentative synthesis is a key goal of GSW 1120, all students must pass the researched essay with a grade of C or higher in order for their work to be submitted for Portfolio Assessment, which is necessary for passing GSW 1120.
Please follow these format requirements for submitting your work:

  • Papers should follow MLA format. Examples and information on MLA can be found in Kirszner & Mandell’s The Brief Wadsworth Handbook. We will also discuss MLA format in class.

  • Essays must be word processed, double-spaced, and have standard 1” margins on the right and left sides, top, and bottom of the page.

  • The font used for your final drafts should be 12-point Times New Roman or another similarly proportioned and sized font.

  • Pages must be numbered with your last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner.

  • Your essays must have a title, but please don’t include a separate title page with your papers.

  • When you submit a final draft of an essay to me for evaluation, you will need to include a number of other materials along with it, arranged in the following order:

      1. A GSW Rubric should be on top (goldenrod color).

      2. The assignment sheet should be included next.

      3. The final (or most recent) draft of your essay should be included next.

      4. The various drafts of your paper should be included next, in reverse chronological order. Only drafts which contain substantial revisions or which peers or I have commented upon should be included, however.

      5. On the bottom of the stack should be a completed Audience and Values Exploration/Student Process Analysis Sheet (peach color) and all other prewriting you have done for the assignment.

Please be sure to secure these various documents together with a staple or large paper clip.

Other Assignments

I will occasionally assign short writing exercises to supplement drafting, revising, and editing the graded projects, which, like the four graded essays, need to be fulfilled as part of your Achievement Requirements for passing GSW 1120. As with the graded assignments, the additional writing assignments are designed to improve your critical thinking and writing skills and will help you better address the more complicated writing tasks I am asking you to conduct.

You should type and publish such activities which I assign on the designated discussion boards on Canvas. The posts should be completed on time and ready to use and access in class. Sometimes I will ask for volunteers to share their entries with the class as a way to start discussion, and I may ask you to use your posts for small-group discussions. I will read and respond to your posts periodically via email or the comment function to monitor your efforts.
You will also be given reading assignments that we will discuss as a way to improve your critical thinking and reading skills. You should be prepared throughout the semester to discuss all reading assignments in class on the dates they are assigned. You can keep up with the reading pace of this class if you read on a regular basis and follow your syllabus closely.
One other important requirement is your active participation in collaborative activities because collaboration is a valuable way to get and give useful feedback. Peer revision and small group activities can assist in your development as a thinker and writer. Your contributions to the work of classmates are considered a part of the course’s Achievement Requirements.
Each of you has the opportunity to earn up to 100 participation points for fully investing and participating in this class. Your participation grade will be determined by a number of choices that you make about your scholarly activity in this class. If you bring the required materials to class each day, complete required written homework for each class participate in class discussion on the readings each day, participate in assigned activities each day, participate in peer review, post to discussion board in Canvas, successfully lead discussion at least once, pass reading quizzes, and complete the Library and MLA quizzes, you will likely learn a lot and may make a notable improvement to your final grade. These points are non-negotiable. Participation points are not given for attendance.

Participation Requirement

Description of Participation Requirement

Points Possible

Total Participation Points: 100

Class Preparation

Students are expected to bring all required materials to class each day; to complete all assigned readings; to actively participate in discussion each class; and to complete and turn in all required homework.


Collaborative Work

Students will be required to participate in peer review and collaborative activities both during class and outside of class. Students are expected to follow guidelines for peer review/collaborative assignment and are expected to give prompt and thoughtful feedback to their peers.


Presentation(s)/Discussion facilitation(s)

Students will be required to facilitate discussion of at least one required reading and will be required to present their research findings from their Research project to the class. Students are expected to be thoroughly prepared by developing questions for discussion and by preparing a visual to enhance discussions and presentations.

_____/20 points

Library and MLA Quizzes

Complete, print and turn in results of both quizzes. Must score at least 80% on both quizzes to earn total possible points for this category.

____/10 points

Paper Printing

Students who anticipate using university printers for printing GSW-related assignments should keep funds available on their BG1 Cards ( Please note that a lack of funds on a BG1 card is not considered a valid reason for failing to submit a hard copy of a GSW paper at the time it is due.

To save resources and to help students save money, General Studies Writing asks students to submit two-sided papers. 

Writing Conferences

Because college-level writing can be frustrating at times, it is important to get encouraging and specific feedback from not only other members of the class, but also from me. To ensure that you are getting the encouragement and feedback you need in your writing, it is important that you schedule at least two conferences in my office so that I can give you personalized help and assistance.

GSW 1120 Library Research Guide

To help familiarize you with the level of academic library research skills necessary for this course, you will be required to work with online materials, which have been provided by the staff of the Jerome Library. The materials – which you are encouraged to use on your own as well for this class – are located at the following site:
These materials differ from the Library Research Guide used in GSW 1100/1110. On this site, you will learn about scholarly sources, locating sources beyond Academic Search Complete and evaluating sources. This Research Guide is also available by going to the main library web page and clicking on Research Guides by Course in the center of the page.
As you will see, the GSW 1120 LibGuide provides significant assistance with search strategies, the use of the Library’s databases, integration of sources into papers, academic honesty, and more. The site also contains a “Library Quiz” which you will be required complete when I assign it, and it contains an IM Chat Box which will allow you to ask a question which will be responded to immediately by a BGSU librarian.
I strongly recommend that you refer to this site as you work on your papers outside of class, as well as during class.

Attendance in this class is mandatory. Class time will be devoted to actively building writing skills by writing and revising, discussing, and critiquing your own writing and the writing of others. Such activities simply cannot be “made up” satisfactorily by getting the notes from a peer or by meeting with me. I realize, however, that sickness or emergencies can occur; should you need to miss class, please be sure to contact me, preferably beforehand, to discuss what might be done to assist you with getting on track. However, I would hope that such absences would not occur more than a couple of times this semester. At the discretion of the instructor, students with excessive absences –more than four—will not have their portfolio submitted and therefore will not pass this course. Tardiness will not be tolerated and showing up more than fifteen minutes late will be considered an absence.

University Closure Due to Bad Weather

In most cases, the University will not close for winter conditions unless the Wood County Sheriff’s Department declares a Level 3 emergency. Closing information will be communicated through BGSU’s AlertBG text system, BGSU e- mail notification, BGSU’s website, and Toledo’s Television stations. (Note: You can sign up for AlertBG, by signing into MyBGSU and clicking on the AlertBG tab at the top of the page.)

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University to make every reasonable effort to allow students to observe their religious holidays without academic penalty. In such cases, it is the obligation of the student to provide the instructor with reasonable notice of the dates of religious holidays on which he or she will be absent. Should you need to miss a class due to a religious holiday, you should understand that absence from classes for religious reasons does not relieve you of responsibility for completing required work. In such an event, you should consult with me well before you leave for the holiday to find out what assignments will be due while you are absent—and you subsequently should have the assignments completed and turned in to me prior to missing class.

Student Veteran-Friendly Campus

BGSU educators recognize student veterans’ rights when entering and exiting the university system. If you are a student veteran or a student currently serving in any branch of the military, please let me know if accommodations need to be made for absences due to drilling or being called to active duty.

(Dis)Abilities Statement

If you have a documented disability that requires accommodations in order to obtain equal access for your learning, please make your needs known to me, preferably during the first week of the semester. Please note that students who request accommodations need to verify their eligibility through the Office of Disability Services, 38 College Park (phone: 372-8495; TTY: 419-372-9455).

Late Work

All work must be handed in when I request it in class. I will not accept late work unless you have made previous arrangements with me. Similarly, I will not accept late work in my department mailbox or via e-mail unless you have made previous arrangements with me.

Lost Essays

You are responsible for maintaining a copy of each draft of your essays. Your essays will be returned to you no later than a week after they have been submitted to me, and all essays must be present in the portfolio at the end of the semester. It is your responsibility to compile these essays in your portfolio folder so that a portfolio assessor can further review them. Since occasionally essays (or backpacks) are stolen, lost, or destroyed, you should keep an additional hard copy of each essay and a back-up disk in a safe place. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to submit a complete portfolio. Incomplete portfolios will not be evaluated; students without portfolios will not pass the course.

Revision Policy

Knowing how to revise your writing is an important aspect of being a successful writer; therefore, you will be required to write multiple drafts of your papers, and we will work hard on the development of your personal revision and editing skills. One goal of this class is for you to learn to determine when an 1120-level paper has been revised to the point where you can submit it as a “final draft” that will earn a “passing” evaluation. Taking advantage of our class time, your own homework time, my office hours, the Writing Center, and other available services and tools will provide you with the support you need for submitting final drafts that are at the “passing” level.

Sometimes, though, even with hard work students submit final drafts that are not passing. If you receive NP grades, you may revise the multiple source essay and the researched essay once after their original evaluation but only if you first schedule a conference with me to discuss your revision strategy. A revised essay is due within a week of our conference and should be submitted with the original graded essay and a new rubric. Please note that the grade for a revised essay can be no higher than a C, and that the critique may not be revised after it has been submitted as a final draft. As you consider whether or not to revise a researched essay that has earned an NP grade, please remember that students must pass the Researched Essay with a grade of C or higher in order to pass this course.
Academic Honesty

Please refer to BGSU’s current Student Affairs Handbook and to your GSW portfolio materials for information regarding BGSU’s academic honesty policies. These policies and penalties apply to our class, as well as to all other classes at BGSU. We will discuss plagiarism and academic honesty in depth this semester.

In addition to the work you will do in class sessions and in conferences with me, there are a variety of services and tools which you can use to obtain additional assistance with this course. I suggest that you make use of the following:
Writing Support at the Learning Commons

Located on the first floor of Jerome Library, the Learning Commons is a valuable resource which provides students with individual tutoring assistance in writing, reading and study skills, math and stats, and content courses – free of charge. Within the Learning Commons, Writing Support works to create a space where writers feel comfortable discussing and developing their ideas and communication skills. Writing consultants work with writers collaboratively, rather than serving as a proofreading or editing service. Because the Commons will be very busy, you should call ahead to make an appointment well in advance of when you would like to meet with a writing consultant: 419-372-2823.

You may also submit your writing to an online writing consultant by following this link: There, you will be given directions for submitting your questions or your entire draft. Once again, though, plan ahead. An email response may take up to 72 hours, and writing consultants are not available on weekends or evenings to give immediate feedback.
Online Assistance with BGSU’s Library Resources

The Welcome New Students LibGuide explains the ins and outs of using the Jerome Library. You should use this site for basic information regarding the library, including how to check out materials and how to renew materials online. This URL will take you there:

The library site also offers a virtual tour of Jerome Library:

and a detailed map of its first floor:

Finally, since library personnel are always ready to help, you should stop by the Research & Information Desk with questions or concerns. Or, you may contact librarians virtually by using the services described here:
Contacting Me by E-mail

E-mail is a wonderful communication tool, and I welcome the chance of using it to help you with questions about your writing or about my assignments. Please note, however, that e-mail can be unreliable. Servers may be down, computers may malfunction, etc. As a result, I cannot be responsible for any e-mail messages that are lost or addressed incorrectly. If you e-mail me something, I will respond, ordinarily within 24 hours, to tell you that I have received your message. However, if you don’t receive my e-mail reply, this means that I did not receive your message and that you should discuss the content of your e-mail with me personally. Similarly, if you e-mail me right before class, I probably will not be able to read your message until after class.

Essay Grades

Throughout the term, I will collect and comment upon first drafts (and perhaps on some intermediate drafts) of every essay you write, and I will give them back to you within a week’s time so that you can use my comments as guidelines for revision. Your first drafts will not receive a grade.

However, when you submit final drafts of your essays, I will provide you with both written comments and a grade. I will also fill out an evaluation chart (called a “rubric”) for each final draft to indicate the paper’s strengths and weaknesses; like commentary on early drafts, your evaluated final drafts will be returned to you within a week’s time. Each essay you write for GSW 1120 will be graded A, B, C, or NP (Not Passing). An explanation of these grades follows:
An A essay clearly passes all categories of the rubric. It demonstrates a superior command of the subject matter and presents that information so effectively that the reader enjoys reading the essay and learns from it. The A essay shows clear organization that captivates the audience and keeps readers involved through all stages of the essay. Moreover, the A essay reveals a sophistication in style and an original voice; sentences are appropriately varied in length and construction; transitions and metadiscourse are used to produce a smooth flow for the reader; connections between sentences and ideas are clear. In addition, individual sentences are concise, clear, and highly specific. The A essay demonstrates a high degree of selectivity in word choice and is free of all but a few minor errors in grammar and mechanics. The A essay is the work of a writer who is able to deal comfortably with complex material and can present that material effectively for others. As a result of its careful organizational structure and development, all factors, both in content and style, combine to form a unified whole. For the multiple source and researched essays, effective synthesis must be demonstrated for a grade of A.
A B essay clearly passes in all categories of the rubric. It contains few mechanical errors (none of which impede communication), and it effectively delivers a substantial amount of interesting information. The specific points are logically ordered, well-developed, and unified according to a clear organizing principle. The introduction and conclusion are effective, but not as engaging as in the A essay. The B essay exhibits an understanding of metadiscourse, and transitions are adequately smooth and logical. Sentence structure is sufficiently varied in both length and construction, and the choice of words has been made selectively, with few minor errors in grammar and mechanics. The writing in a B essay is organized, clear, coherent, and correct. The essay is far more than competent and, again, must show effective synthesis.
A C essay passes all categories of the rubric. It is generally competent and reasonably well developed and organized. The C essay demonstrates an average knowledge of the subject matter, but the presentation of that information is often vaguely stated and superficially connected. The essay may lack adequate transitions and use of metadiscourse. The sentence structure is often not varied in either length or construction. It may contain some mechanical or grammatical errors, but they do not interfere significantly with meaning. Though the C essay fulfills the assignment, it is not especially engaging or enlightening. In GSW 1120 multiple source essays and researched essays, a C essay must show synthesis of source materials and an ability to construct and sustain an academic argument.
An NP (Not Passing) essay does not pass in one or more categories of the rubric. It has serious flaws in audience awareness, organization, development, syntax, word choice, and/or mechanics and grammar.

GSW 1120 Course Grades

Each of the 4 essays in GSW 1120 is graded on a100 point scale, but they are weighted differently. Please check the gradebook on Canvas periodically so that you know where you stand. The table below outlines how exactly your grade will be determined:


Assignment Grade

(out of 100 points)

Weighted Percentage of Course Grade


____/100 total points possible



____/100 total points possible



____/100 total points possible


Pre-Search Essay

____/100 total points possible


8-10 page Researched Essay

____/100 total points possible


FINAL course grade= weighted % = letter grade

A             100-90 %

B             89-80 %

C             79-70 %

D/NC     69 % and below
Remember that your researched essay must earn a C or higher and your final course grade must be a C or higher for your portfolio to be eligible for the portfolio assessment process.
If your work passes Portfolio Assessment at the GSW 1120 level, you will receive an A, B, or C for this course. Your GSW 1120 grade will be calculated into your grade point average.
The General Studies Writing Program acknowledges that writing is a skill that takes some people longer than others to master. For this reason, if your work is not eligible for the Portfolio Assessment or if you have met all of my requirements but your work does not pass the Portfolio Assessment, you will receive an NC (No Credit) for GSW 1120. An NC grade allows a student to repeat GSW 1120 without any negative effect upon his or her grade point average.
However, it is possible to receive an F in this course. If you should stop attending this class for any reason without going through the University's official procedure for dropping the class, you will receive an F, the grade will appear on your grade report, and an F will be calculated into your grade point average.

Portfolio Assessment Process

During the last week or two of class, I will let you know whether your essays are eligible for a portfolio assessment. If your writing has not reached a minimal level of proficiency in GSW 1120 or if you have not satisfied my achievement requirements for this class, your work will not be eligible for a portfolio assessment. This means that I will not be able to submit your portfolio and that you will be required to re-enroll in GSW 1120.

If I make the judgment that your portfolio is eligible for a portfolio assessment, during the last week of the semester your essays will be judged by one or more GSW 1120 instructors in addition to me. These portfolio evaluators will determine whether or not your writing has reached proficiency at the 1120-level. Please note that unlike other courses where one or two weak assignments can ensure failure, GSW’s portfolio assessment allows you to make improvements in your writing and to grow as a writer. Even if you struggle with an essay or two, as long as your portfolio shows that you can write proficiently at the 1120 level by the end of the term, you can pass the class.
If your portfolio is passed by a first evaluator, you will receive the grade I assigned to your work. If the first evaluator determines that your writing, overall, does not demonstrate proficiency at the 1120 level, however, then that evaluator will not pass your portfolio. At that point, a second evaluator—often a member of the General Studies Writing staff—will evaluate your work, again looking at your writing as a whole, and will make a final determination regarding whether your writing is proficient enough for you pass GSW 1120 (and earn the grade I assigned to your work) or whether you will need to retake GSW 1120 again.
Policy for GSW Portfolio Appeals

Students may appeal an instructor's decision not to submit their portfolios for evaluation if they have evidence that they have met their instructor's achievement requirements and that they have fulfilled the minimum criteria for passing the course. Likewise, students may appeal no-passing portfolio assessments if they have reason to believe that the two evaluators (both of whom are trained, experienced GSW instructors) have overlooked important evidence that their portfolio, in fact, successfully meets the established criteria for passing the course. Students should not, however, routinely appeal no-passing portfolios simply because they are unhappy with their instructor's or the portfolio evaluators' decisions.

Following is the timetable for retrieving portfolio results and for appealing a portfolio decision; please note that any students wishing to appeal a portfolio decision must adhere to this timetable.

  • Monday, May 4

Deadline, by 5:00 pm, for students to appeal an instructor’s decision not to submit a portfolio for assessment. Students must pick up their portfolio by the designated time period in order to file an appeal.

  • Thursday, May 7

Students must pick up their evaluated portfolios during the time period, which is designated by their instructor; this time period is ordinarily after 2:00 PM. Near the end of the term I will let you know exactly when I will be available in my office on this day to return your portfolio to you.
If you are absolutely unable to retrieve your portfolio and your evaluation results from me at the designated time, it is your obligation to provide me with a large self-addressed, stamped envelope so I can mail the portfolio to you. To determine the proper postage, before submitting your portfolio to your instructor please take your portfolio to a post office (such as Stampers on the second floor of the Student Union) where a postal employee can determine the proper postage to affix to the envelope. Submit the envelope with proper postage when you submit your portfolio to your instructor.

  • Thursday, May 14 5:00 pm

Deadline for appealing a non-passing portfolio result.


In summary, to pass GSW 1120 you must meet the following requirements:

  • Hand in all required written work on time (critique, multiple source essay, Pre-Search essay, researched essay, and all other writing assignments).

  • Attend all classes and participate in class discussions and group work.

  • Complete all reading assignments.

  • Attend all scheduled conferences (two required).

  • Receive a grade of C or higher on the research essay.

  • Receive a final grade of C or higher for the course.

  • Pass the Portfolio Assessment at the 1120 level.

A Final Word

I hope that you will find our class to be a place where you can receive help with developing your academic writing skills. Though many students are uncomfortable with academic writing, which is a new kind of writing for most first-year students, understanding how to go through various writing processes will help you achieve your writing goals. To make this course as successful as possible for yourself, I encourage you to take advantage of the resources around you and to keep in touch with me as we go through the semester.

If you have any questions about these achievement requirements or other class matters, please feel free to talk to me. I look forward to working with you and helping you develop your academic writing skills.

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