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A HANDBOOK FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH 87: BASIC WRITING SKILLS II COMPOSED ON SABBATICAL LEAVE BY ROBERT BINI SPRING 2008 SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COLLEGE Table of Contents Introduction……………………………………………………………. p. 3 Interview: English 70 Coordinator…………………………………. p. 5 English 87 Portfolio Requirements………………………………… p. 9 Frequently Asked Questions…………………………………………… p. 10 Results of Portfolio Readings…………………………………………... p. 22 Comparable Courses……………………………………………………. p. 23 Planning the Semester………………………………………………….. p. 27 Curriculum Outline………………………………………………………. p. 31 Learning Activities……………………………………………………….. p. 37 Responding to Student Writing 1………………………………………. p. 43 Responding to Student Writing 2………………………………………. p. 49 Case Study 1……………………………………………………………... p. 54 Case Study 2……………………………………………………………… p. 64 Sample Handouts………………………………………………………… p. 72 Sample Lesson Plans…………………………………………………… p. 76 Sample Writing Topics…………………………………………………… p. 78 Sample Narrative Essay………………………………………………… p. 87 Sample Argumentative Essay………………………………………….. p. 90 Sample Syllabus…………………………………………………………. p. 94 Sample Course Packet………………………………………………….. p. 101 Bibliography………………………………………………………………. p. 116 2 Introduction English 87 is a place where two tributaries meet before entering into the main river of English 79. The two tributaries are English 70 and English 85. In English 87, native and near-native English speakers from English 70 are introduced to the English 85 students who have just completed the English as a Second Language program. While native English speakers do enroll in the course, most students in English 87 are non-native English speakers. For example, eighteen of the twenty-two students who completed one section in the fall of 2007 were ESL students. Originally designed as a bridge course for ESL students, English 87 in the past year has been serving more native and near-native English speakers as the English 70 program has developed. With the possibility of even more growth in the near future, English 87 seeks to continue to improve basic writing skills of students before they enroll in English 79, Preparatory English. In the spring of 2006, the course curriculum of English 87 was revised to institute a mandatory portfolio examination to be evaluated by a group of English 87 instructors at the end of the semester. The new curriculum also aligned the entry skills of English 87 with the exiting skills of students completing English 70 and English 85 and established more precise course objectives, which ensure that students completing English 87 have the fundamental skills necessary for entering English 79. Since the English 87 portfolio requirements involve an objective summary, a subjective response, a narrative essay, and an argumentative essay, the curriculum includes these as sample writing activities for the course. With the change in curriculum, more students have been recommended to enroll in English 87 than in years past; as a result, English 87 has grown in the number of sections offered in a semester. Before the fall of 2005, English 87 was usually limited to one or two sections, but the number of sections has increased, and the course now has three or four sections in the fall and spring semesters. Another change in curriculum concerned prerequisite courses. English 87 now requires successful completion of English 70 or English 85 in order to enroll in English 87. An advisory committee of composition course coordinators and faculty in the English, English as a Second Language, Reading, and Assessment areas determined that this requirement would help to create a sequence of composition courses that would appeal to the students from English 70 and English 85. Students wishing to enroll in English 87 had to complete either English 70 or English 85 beforehand. The goal was, with the limited number of sections, to take care of those students who had already completed course work at Delta College. Students from other directions, such as through an assessment score or 3 through a previous enrollment in English 79, had to find alternative means to refresh their skills. Suggestions were made that these students could enroll directly in English 73. At the present time, English 87 functions in an unusual way in that it is considered a component of a sequence of composition courses (English 70/85, English 87, English 79, and English 1A), but it does not correspond directly to one of the levels of composition at Delta College. English 70 and English 85 are the traditional Level I composition courses, English 79 is Level II, and English 1A is Level III. Since English 87, a Level I composition course, does not by itself represent a level of composition, it can only be offered as a recommendation to students and not as a requirement. Based on a portfolio evaluation, students who successfully complete English 70 and English 85 receive a recommendation from their instructor to enroll in either English 87 or English 79. However, since this is only a recommendation, students can opt to skip English 87 and enroll directly in English 79. Students who have chosen to bypass English 87 have stated one of the causes to be the limited number of sections of English 87 offered. In the fall of 2007, the evaluators of the English 70 Portfolios recommended 200 students to take English 87, but the following semester three English 87 sections, serving only ninety students, were offered. For a number of international students, one more reason to skip English 87 has been the high cost of another composition course. Currently, there is discussion to change the English Department curriculum from three levels of composition to four levels, thereby making English 87 a required course for those students completing English 70 and English 85. 4 An Interview with the English 70 Coordinator, Dr. June Gillam Q: When students complete English 70, they are recommended to go to English 87 or English 79, depending on their skill level. What are some of the general differences between these two groups? A: Students recommended to English 87 would probably not write as much on their assignments in their portfolios as students recommended to English 79. Students heading to 87 do not have enough detail, lack development, and have significantly more sentence problems, such as noun forms and verb forms. Students skip the “s” on plurals and drop helping verbs. Also, students drop the “s” on present tense verb forms. English 79 students have better development, have a firm grasp as readers, and have a stronger writer’s voice, which makes a claim, even in simple writing like a reader response. English 79 students get to the point quicker than 87 students who wander around more with their writing. Students who have a strong voice and have more authority in their voice go to English 79. When 70 portfolio readers have to struggle more to make meaning of the writing, then the students need English 87. These students could use a combination of more skill, practice, and confidence. Q: What are the types of writing areas that students who enter English 87 need to concentrate on? A: In English 70, students need conversation, thinking, and writing activities. Students in 87 could use more work on five-paragraph argumentative and four paragraph narrative essays. English 87 instructors could also weave in some kind of vocational focus Q: Do you have suggestions on how to address these particular writing needs? A: Instructors could, for example, give the students a choice in reading selections. Instructors should give the students a choice to read about vocational areas. I am now working with Mary Jo Zimmerman, an electrical technology instructor. In this certificate program, there is a high level of technical reading. English 87 instructors could offer students options in reading and writing. Have students argue options about their occupational choices. Let trade students fit in. Q: Aside from the need for improved writing skills, what other areas could students spend more time on? 5 A: Reading. Try to get students to work on addressing a piece of reading directly in their response. Interestingly enough, students in English 70 mostly did this in their summaries anyway, but more work could help. Q: Do you have suggestions about teaching to these areas? A: Work on using transitional devices from the summary to the personal response. Some students refer to the original writer. Some do so in a subtle manner. A sustained response with repeated references to the reading could be effective. In 87, instructors could build on this skill more. The English 70 Personal Response directions require the students to summarize the author’s thoughts, transition to a personal response, and give one main idea, which should have both general points and specific examples. This direction helps students move to connecting with authors. Instructors could also use school catalogs as readers. Students could read up on certification programs and vocational programs. Try this in 87. Explore the school catalog more for its content. For reading activities, students in English 70 have kept reading logs while reading books on Pamela Pan’s Multi-cultural Reading List. After reading some of these books, the students in my class write letters to the authors of these books. I want the students to think of the authors as regular people, who want to hear from their readers and want to hear what they got from the book. The students connect to the writers in this way. Q: What types of individual learning differences have you identified with students in developmental writing courses? A: Lots of students have a range of differences. Some are slow to catch on to auditory directions and some even with written directions. Some students are easily confused. It is not easy for them to focus on directions and to focus on a task. I have used DVDs on vocational programs. The Delta College DVD on Delta careers works well. Ask the students questions. “Which career would be interesting?” The students remember specific information presented on the DVDs. Q: Do you take into consideration these individual learning differences in your teaching? And how? A: Yes. I have students do kinesthetic sentence building. The activity helps some students, but it is complicated. Some students need a small group exchange to get it. Some students work best in social situations. They help each other. They ask questions in small groups, which are less intimidating. 6 Another activity is the round robin paragraphs. Social group work is helpful. In groups, students catch on to the task faster. Every group gets the same topic sentence. Then, each student gets to add a sentence. Try this activity at different times during the semester. This activity works well because it is not individually graded. But I’m not sure how well this exercise transfers over into individual work. For a round robin activity, we would start with the same topic sentence, such as the following: “College students are worried about many things.” Then, each student in the group has to add on a sentence. Students writing sentences need to read what others have written before and try to apply transitional words. They also have to identify when examples are needed. Q: What types of textbooks have you found to be successful? What are some reading activities that work with developmental writers? A: I use Final Draft in English 70. Instructors in English 87 could use Delta Winds. I have not found any textbooks to stick with. “Writers World” can be split up into four parts, so I use the skinny, green one for 70 students and the writing process, blue one for 79. I use My Writing Lab for the grammar part of the class. Another resource is “Silly Sentences: A Grammar Skills Practice Game” with packages of nouns and verbs, which are linked together to create sentences. Students create their own package of word forms, for example “dance, dances.” I also use a dictionary in class. Students have to create ten cards out of words found in the dictionary. Students have to find words they haven’t used before. Then, they have to build sentences from these words. First, the students build two word sentences. Then, they build compound sentences. Then, they use subordination and more complex sentences. Early on, we learn about prepositional phrases in simple sentences to show how to add and delete prepositional phrases to find the basic noun/verb clause. We do this in teams, two or three times in 45 minutes. I also give them a sentence pattern to match. The students have to create a sentence that copies the particular pattern. The sentence has to make sense, though. For the final exam, students have to create a 100- word sentence. If they do, they can win a prize. Two students did this. They enjoyed the challenge and worked hard. Students in the class enjoy the activity. They puzzle over it. They become active over it. But you need considerable space in a classroom for the activity. Students write funny things too. Almost all of the students seem to feel enthusiasm for building these sentences. They do catch on to creating a sentence that is 7 meaningful and that fits the pattern. Paragraph building, which is used in 79, is similar to this activity. Q: How do you teach grammar? Is this a need for students in English 87? How would you recommend teaching grammar? A: Grammar should be taught and not taken for granted. Even in English 1D, Critical Thinking, I have students work on grammar by choosing their own personal gremlins to work on over the semester. Sometimes I help them to identify particular grammatical areas. In English 70, I teach grammar through sentence building cards and sentence composing. A good book for this is English Sentence Structures and Their Rhetoric by Nona Anderson at Sacramento City College, but it’s difficult to find since it was self-published. I also use self-paced grammar texts that focus on sentence composing for the different levels of school. Students have to unscramble sentences and put them back together. Another activity would be to have students copy a writing sample and make a change to only one grammatical point, such as change all of the verbs to past tense. The students have to practice exact copying, which makes them focus on accuracy. This activity may be valuable in English 87 classes. 8 English 87 Portfolio Requirements Responsibility: It is the responsibility of the student to organize and maintain assignments in the portfolio. Portfolio Contents: The portfolio should include one piece of writing from each of the four writing projects listed below: 1. Summary of assigned essay—written in class in 80 minutes. Instructors will be provided with two essays for students to choose from for their summary. All students in 87 should summarize one of these two essays. The work should be a first draft of an objective summary. The work should demonstrate reading comprehension. 2. Response to assigned essay—written in class in 80 minutes. Instructors will be provided with two essays for students to choose from for their response. All students in 87 should respond to one of these two essays. The work should be a first draft of a subjective response. The work should demonstrate an ability to respond appropriately to reading material and to a writing prompt. 3. Narrative essay—written in and out of class. Instructors will be provided with two topics for students to choose from for their narrative essay. All students in 87 should write on one of these two topics. The work should be about three paragraphs in length and should be in multiple drafts. The essay should reflect the use of narration as a method of development. The work should demonstrate an application of the writing process. Revisions should indicate an understanding of written suggestions from the instructors. 4. Argumentative essay—written in and out of class. Instructors will be provided with two topics for students to choose from for their argumentative essay. All students in 87 should write on one of these two topics. The work should be about five paragraphs in length and should be in multiple drafts. The essay should reflect the use of argumentation as a method of development. The work should demonstrate the use of general and supporting sentences to develop multiple points. The essay should demonstrate an application of the writing process with concern for organization, development, transitions, and focus. Revisions should indicate an understanding of written suggestions from the instructors. Due Dates: Students must complete portfolios by date announced during the semester. Instructors should bring Portfolios to the Portfolio Reading. Portfolio Reading: All English 87 instructors are expected to participate in the Portfolio Reading. Instructors may cancel their classes on that day. Adjunct faculty will be compensated for their time. 9 Frequently Asked Questions: Expectations Question: I realize that many students in English 87 are coming from English 85 (ESL) so does this mean that they do not take English 70 but go from 85 to 87? Yes. Almost all of the ESL students in English 87 come from English 85, which is the equivalent of English 70. In fact, in the English 70 reading, the instructors are reading portfolios from students in 70 AND 85. Question: My class this semester is comprised almost entirely of second language learners with the exception of maybe three students, and I am finding their writing ability to be much lower than that of the English 70 students I taught last semester. I somehow expected that the English 87 students would be more advanced writers than English 70. Is this a fair expectation? That would be a reasonable expectation. Your English 70 class might have just been more advanced than the average 70. Other instructors of 87 are also surprised with the writing level of the students. In some ways, some instructors probably view 87 as an extension of 70. Question: In English 70, the portfolio is calibrated at the end of the year and given a pass or no pass grade. Does this same method apply to English 87? Yes, in 87 we have the same pass or no pass grade for each student portfolio. However, in English 87 the pass or no pass grade applies only to the material in the portfolio. Sequence of Composition Courses Question: My understanding was that students scoring a Level I on the Assessment/Placement test were placed in English 70 and then either progressed to English 87 or to English 79. Based on the evaluation of the English 70 portfolio and the recommendation of the instructor, the students who pass English 70 go to 87 or 79. However, some students who pass English 70 do not choose to enroll in English 87. For some students, this decision is based on the time and money involved in enrolling in another semester of composition. Students can skip English 87 since, at this time, it is not a required 10 course, only recommended. Question: Those not passing English 70 are either recommended to repeat English 70 or take English 87. Is this correct? No. That is not correct. If students do not pass 70, they are recommended to take 70 again or try some supplementary courses like Reading 98 and English 73. Students who do not pass English 70 are not allowed to enroll in English 87. Question: What about the students who do not pass English 87? Do they retake the class? Students who do not pass 87 could retake the class. Or they could be advised to take the lab courses in the Reading/Writing Learning Center, such as Reading 98 and English 73. These are more individualized and are very helpful. Question: I guess I am trying to wrap my brain around the progression of English classes at Delta so that I am aware of what I need to be offering the students in terms of curriculum. Every semester I am handed a different class, which is nice because I get to see the full range of student ability, but I need to be more aware of what to expect from each class. Students in English 87 should be able to meet the exiting guidelines as stated in the English 70 curriculum. To review material up to this point, English 87 courses frequently emphasize basic sentence level skills, such as verb tenses, coordination, and subordination. From the sentence level area, students are also expected to work towards an understanding of the structure of a multiple paragraph piece of writing. The portfolio for English 87 requires two multiple paragraph writing samples, which can be from three to five paragraphs. These short essays should show competence in the narrative and argumentative methods of development. Students who pass English 87 should be prepared for the demands of an English 79 course, which focuses on the five-paragraph essay. Question: A student handed me a Petition for Declaration of Course Prerequisite Equivalent form. The form states that the student wishes to receive permission from the instructor to enroll in the course. What should I do? According to the current curriculum, students must pass either English 85 or English 70 before enrolling in English 87. But on a rare occasion, a new student to the College can ask to enroll in English 87 based on the student’s evaluation through the assessment process. A new ESL student 11 to the school is assessed through the ESL placement by an ESL faculty member. If the student places at Level II reading and the ESL instructor recommends the student be enrolled in English 87, the student may be given the choice between English 85 or English 87. However, since the student has not satisfied the stated prerequisite, the student can only be allowed in the English 87 course if the instructor of the course allows the student to enroll in the course. If you wish to add the student to your course, you can do so by signing the form. The choice is yours. Portfolio Assignments Question: How many assignments should I require in the portfolio? Four separate assignments are required for the portfolio: a summary, a response, a narrative essay, and an argumentative essay. Question: Does the department provide writing prompts like they do for the English 70 writing assignments? Yes. You will be provided with prompts for the portfolio assignments. The response, the narrative essay, and the argumentative essay all have specific topics. The summary assignment has no specific prompt or written instructions. Question: Where do I obtain the specific assignments for the portfolio? The topics will be provided to you before or during the course of the semester. Portfolio Assignments: Summary and Response Question: How long do the summary and the response have to be? The summary and response can be one paragraph, although some students end up writing more than one paragraph. If you do have the students write one paragraph, aim for more than just a few sentences in the paragraph. Some instructors ask that the summary and response be one and a half handwritten pages. Question: I have been going over the portfolio assignments and have noticed that there are two assignments for the response; however, there is no summary assignment. There aren't any specific assignments for the summaries. Just ask the 12 students to summarize the designated Delta Winds essays. The two response assignments are for the two Delta Winds essays that were selected for the responses for this semester. The response assignments ask the students to respond in a particular manner. Question: There are four Delta Winds essays in the material I received for this semester. According to the writing prompts for the Summary and the Personal Response, only two of the essays correspond to the prompts. So, do I have my students read all four? Do I have them read the two that they are supposed to write on only? You have four Delta Winds essays since there are four assignments—two summaries and two responses. The student will get two chances to write a good summary on a Delta Winds essay, and the student will get two chances to write a good response on a Delta Winds essay. You do not receive specific topics for the summary assignments. Just ask the students to summarize the essays. The two writing prompts you have in your material correspond to the two responses the students are supposed to write. Question: Regarding the summary and the personal response, do I have the students FIRST read the Delta Winds essay, give them time to think about it, discuss it, go over it, etc. and THEN give them the writing (say on a different day) OR do I give them the essay AND the prompt on the SAME DAY. Have the students first read and discuss the Delta Winds essay. Give them some time to read the essay on their own if they wish to. In your next class, you could have the students write on the essay. Do not give the students the prompt until the day of the in-class writing. The students can read the essays beforehand, but the prompt for the response should be read only just before the response assignment begins. You can answer questions on the prompt to make sure the students understand the topic. Question: I have a student who did not do well on the main two summaries, but the student did okay on the practice summaries. Can the student do one more summary? It appears the student has test anxiety. The student should not be given another chance at writing the summary for the portfolio since that would not be fair to other students who have only one chance to write the summary. Allowing the student another chance to write the summary would set a precedent that would then cause problems in the future. The good thing about the 87 portfolio is that there are multiple writing samples involved. So the evaluation of the 13 student's work won't be based solely on the summary. It sounds as though you believe the student can do better work. You could include in the portfolio one of the practice summaries that the student has taken. The portfolio has to have the four assignments in there, but supplementary work could be provided. In the curriculum, there is no information that states that more student writing cannot be included. Portfolio Assignments: Narrative Essay and Argumentative Essay Question: After the summary and the response assignment, what else goes into the portfolio? The other two assignments for the portfolio are the narrative essay and the argumentative essay. Those assignments are also in the material provided to you. The essays are supposed to be in draft form—the first draft in class and the remaining draft or drafts out of class. Question: Are the narrative essay and the argumentative essay written in class? The summary and the response should be done in class in one setting. But the short essay assignments (the narrative and the argumentative essay) should show work done in class and out of class. The essays should also show that the students can improve their work through multiple drafts and through revision and editing based on the instructor’s comments. Question: How long should these assignments be? Try for around three paragraphs for the narrative essay and for five paragraphs for the argumentative essay. Scheduling of Portfolio Assignments Question: Is there a specific day to give the summary or the response assignment? In the past, it was at the instructor's discretion. Is it still true? Choosing the dates for any of the assignments is up to the instructor. It is essential, however, to have all of the portfolio assignments completed before the portfolio reading. 14 Question: How long should I give them to write the summary assignment and the response assignment? You can allow the students 80 minutes to write the summaries and the responses in class. Question: I know the summary assignment and the response assignment are supposed to be in class. Do they get to take them home? Or are they solely in class? The summary and the response assignments are to be done solely in class. Question: When do you have your students write the portfolio summaries and personal responses? Should I wait and do them towards the end of the semester? If you wish to have the students do the portfolio summaries and responses near the end of the semester, you can. That is up to you. Evaluation of the Student Question: What does a student need to do in order to pass this course? If the student's portfolio passes, then the first hurdle is completed. But the next hurdle is to get the required number of points in the course to earn a letter grade of C or better. Question: It seems that there are two ways to pass English 87—either by the portfolio (the committee signs off on it stating the student is now allowed access to English 79) OR by passing the class with a grade of “C” or better regardless of what the portfolio says. Is this true? Can a student pass the class by simply doing assignments but receiving a No Pass on the portfolio? The answer is no. The student must pass the portfolio in order to pass the course. The student must also have enough points in the course itself to pass the course. So there really are two things going on—the portfolio and the course assignments. Question: How do the results of the portfolio affect the grading of the students in the course? As for grading, the portfolio process is a tool to determine if the 15 student's work is considered passing or not. The work is evaluated by at least two English 87 instructors. How an instructor uses the portfolio in grading for the class is up to the instructor, but the portfolio is not meant to affect the specific grade for the student. The portfolio is given a Pass or a No Pass evaluation. While a student could have a passing portfolio, the student may still fail the course. In the past, students have passed the portfolio but have failed the course since they did not have the adequate number of points to earn a passing grade in the course. Question: How are the students graded for the course? This is NOT a Credit/No credit course. This is a letter grade only course. Question: I am confused about the assessment for English 87. I don’t know why, but I was under the impression that English 87 functioned primarily the same way English 70 does and that is that there is no grade received for the class but rather a Pass/No pass and this is all dependent on the portfolio. Basically, if one doesn’t pass the portfolio, one fails and receives a No pass or Incomplete and must then retake the class. There are similarities in the ways that English 70 and English 87 function. Both courses use a portfolio process. A major difference is that English 70 is a Credit/No Credit course, and English 87 is letter grade only course. Another difference concerns how students can pass the course. Just because a student in English 87 passes the portfolio does not guarantee that the student will pass the course. The student must still meet the requirements of that particular course to earn a passing letter grade. This distinction should be made clear in the syllabus of each course. Portfolio Procedure Question: Where do I get the portfolio folders? As you prepare for the reading, you could pick up empty portfolio folders for your students in one of the file cabinets in Holt 201. Before the reading, be sure to fill out the information requested on the front of each folder. Do not fill out the Pass/No Pass part. We will determine that at the reading. Question: While writing the summary assignment and the response assignment, can the students use a dictionary and/or a thesaurus? Yes. 16 Question: While writing the summary assignment and the response assignment, can the students use a copy of the Delta Winds essay? Yes. Question: While writing the summary assignment and the response assignment, can the students use an outline? No, but they can have notes on the copy of the essay that they are writing on. Question: I am NOT planning on telling the students about the summary because I think they might cheat and write one at home. Do you let your students know ahead of time or not? It is not only customary but also recommended to let the students read and discuss the essay beforehand. For many students, the vocabulary and content of the essays can be challenging. Just as in English 79, by reading and discussing the essay beforehand, students can dedicate their allotted class time to writing. If you are concerned about your students writing a summary ahead of time, you could bring in your own lined paper and have them put away all of their notes. Then, have them write on the paper you have provided. You could even use lined paper of a different color if you'd like to make sure the students are composing on that one given day. Question: I was just checking my calendar and noticed that our reading portfolio date is coming up. I am a little concerned because I may not be done with all the writing assignments. I have very low students and I have spent a considerable amount of time prepping them. Do you have any suggestions? I still have two assignments to go. Do whatever you can to get the portfolio assignments completed so that the group of instructors can read the portfolios on the scheduled date. If students do not have all of the assignments in the portfolio, they cannot get a passing score on the reading of the portfolio. Just let the students know the urgency, and they will most likely meet your demands. Make sure that you have at least one summary done and one response done, and then concentrate on the narrative essay and the argumentative essay. At the least, you should have two drafts of each of these essay assignments. The students can be doing the drafts as homework; the drafts do not have to be written in class. 17 Question: One of my students asked me if, on the day of the portfolio "put-together," I could help her choose which summary and personal response to put in her portfolio. Am I allowed to help her or is it her decision? I would think that she should be the one to decide. Go ahead and help your student decide. In general, instructors choose which works to include in the portfolio. As long as all four writing assignments are in the portfolio, the student should be in fine shape. It goes without saying to choose examples that best reflect the student's level of writing. Portfolio Reading Question: How long does a portfolio reading take? In the past, we have been able to finish reading the portfolios in three or four hours. Question: Will I be paid for participating in the portfolio reading? Since the portfolio reading for English 87 was initiated, the adjunct instructors have been paid for their time reading the portfolios. Make sure to fill out an hourly time form at the Division office. Question: Is there a norming packet for these portfolios? No. The English 87 instructors go through a quick review at the beginning of the portfolio reading to establish some common ground and to ask questions. When we are all agreement about the procedure, we begin reading the portfolios. Question: I have a problem. I am the only English 87 class this summer. What should I do about readers for the portfolios? Make arrangements to schedule a portfolio reading date with an instructor who has taught English 87 in the past. You will need at the very least two instructors to conduct the reading. Question: What needs to be inside the portfolio on the day of the portfolio reading? Be sure that you have all four of the assignments in the folder. The portfolio folder should contain one summary, one response, one multiple draft narrative essay, and one multiple draft argumentative essay. These 18 assignments should be clearly labeled. Your grades for the individual assignments should not be on the front pages. This measure is taken so the other readers will not be influenced by your grading. So if you haven't marked the assignments, please hold off on the grades on the actual pages in the portfolio. Of course, with the multiple draft essay assignments, you will be providing feedback to the students so the drafts are expected to have comments and marks, as you would do so normally. Question: When you include assignments in the 87 portfolio, do they usually have instructor comments? I am thinking about the summaries and responses done in one draft for the 87 portfolio. The summaries and responses in the portfolio do not have to have instructor comments. Question: I need to know if we are supposed to assess (grade) the portfolios BEFORE the reading date? If so, how do I assess the portfolios? We have tried excluding the original instructor as an evaluator of the portfolio, but lately we have been including the original instructor as a reader. The latter method seems to make the portfolio reading more efficient. Also, most instructors want to have a say in whether or not their students should pass the portfolio or not. So, please DO read the portfolios before the reading date and mark the back of the portfolio folder with your score of the portfolio material—either pass or no pass. Question: How are the portfolios evaluated? We have at least two readers for each portfolio. The first reader is the original instructor; the second reader is another English 87 instructor. If the two evaluations are NOT in agreement, then a third reader is called in to cast the deciding vote. We do not have a scoring rubric at this time, but with an understanding of the different skill levels involved we have followed the general distinctions made in the English 79 rubric to determine if a portfolio is at a passing level or not. Question: How are the results collected onto a spreadsheet? Copy and paste into an email to the person coordinating the portfolio reading your Drop Roster for your section. The Drop Rosters can then be collected into a spreadsheet with the names of all students in English 87 for that semester. After the Portfolio Reading 19 Question: What should I do after the portfolio reading? Please leave the response assignment inside the portfolio and return the portfolios to the Reading/Writing Learning Center (Holt 201) for storage in a file cabinet. The response assignment will serve as a proof of the student's writing. You can return the other portfolio assignments to the student. Question: What should I tell the students after the portfolio reading? As you know, if a student does not pass the portfolio, the student must receive a D or an F for the course grade. In general, you might consider advising students who passed but had a split reading on their portfolios and students who have a C for the course grade to enroll next semester in English 73 (2 units) and/or Reading 98 (1 unit) in the Reading/Writing Learning Center. These support courses can be taken before or while taking English 79. 20