Writing Skills for College I

The intent of this syllabus is to provide adult education program administrators and instructors with a suggested core and title for the provision of a college preparation/developmental course in the conventions of standard English usage. Transition courses are designed for high school graduates or GED recipients who intend to or are applying to post-secondary institutions.

It is expected that this course will match the needs of adult learners to prepare for and develop skills for placement testing and success in college level English composition courses. This effort should avoid the need to take a basic developmental course in writing at the post-secondary level.

Suggested contact hours: 45-60

Course Description
Writing Skills for College Part I will cover conventions of standard English usage with their applications in writing sentences, paragraphs, and simple essays. Coursework will help students prepare for college placement examinations, specifically the ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills test.

The integrated course content should include:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Understanding Grammar
  • Noun plurals and possessives
  • Pronoun case, number, person, reference and agreement
  • Verb tense and voice
  • Modifiers
  • Punctuation
  • Mechanics

Understanding Sentences

  • Types of sentences
  • Clauses – independent and dependent
  • Subject / verb agreement
  • Subordination and coordination

Understanding Words

  • Spelling
  • Words often confused
  • Gender reference

To ensure understanding of these concepts, application in context should be practiced and used. Students should learn not only the concepts but also understand why using language in a particular way is correct.

Suggested Text and Materials

  • Fawcett, Susan and Alvin Sandberg, Grassroots with Readings, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0618-11586-2
  • Wilson, Paige and Teresa Ferster Glazier, The Least You Need to Know about English, Form A, Harcourt, ISBN 0155080318
  • Silverman, Jay, Elaine Hughes, and Diana R. Wienbroer, Rules of Thumb: A guide for Writers, 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, ISBN 0-07-057582-7
  • Sebranek, Patrick, Verne Meyer, and Dave Kemper, Write Source 2000: A Guide to Writing, Thinking, & Learning, Great Source Educational Publishing, Burlington, WI, ISBN: 066946774X
  • Hacker, Diana, The Writer's Reference, 5th Edition, Bedford/St. Martin's, ISBN 0312412622
  • Harris, Muriel, Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, 5th Edition, ISBN 0-13-184678-7
  • Langon, John and Janet M. Goldstein, English Brushup, 3rd Edition, McGraw Hill, ISBN 0-07-281890-5

Placement Testing
Although various cut scores are required at individual campuses of the Maine Community College System, we recommend Writing Skills for College Part I for students scoring less than 60 on the sentence skills section of the Accuplacer examination or less than 450 in Writing in a recent (within one year) GED test. These scores closely align with a 8.0 GE or 550 Scale Score on the TABE A.

Readiness for Comp I: Elaine Wright at USM
SMCC Placement Rules