ENG 0090 - Basic Writing Skills

ENG 0090 - Basic Writing Skills

students walkingDescription

ENG 0090 is a preparatory writing course for those students who, as determined by the result of their writing placement exam, need to further develop their writing skills before being able to participate successfully in ENG 1112.

In the course students review:

  • grammatical and stylistic conventions
    • usage
    • punctuation
    • spelling
    • mechanics
    • diction
    • voice
    • sentence variety
    • transitions
  • practice writing well-organized, specifically developed paragraphs and brief essays
  • practice writing paragraphs and essays in an in-class exam setting.

Throughout the course students are involved with writing as a process that includes:

  • prewriting
  • drafting
  • feedback
  • revision


Upon completion of ENG 0090, students will have demonstrated that they can:
  1. write reasonably well-focused, well-organized, and stylistically and grammatically proficient paragraphs;
  2. write reasonably well-focused, well-organized, and stylistically and grammatically proficient 2-3 page expository essays;
  3. write proficient paragraphs and essays in an in-class exam setting; and
  4. use the writing process to initiate ideas, to create and revise drafts, and ultimately to produce a relatively polished product.

Assessment Criteria and Procedures

During the course students create an extensive body of writing from numerous informal writing assignments and 4-10 formal writing assignments. Near the end of the term, students select 3-5 pieces from this body of writing and collect them in a writing portfolio as a representative product of their writing ability. These pieces of writing have been evaluated by the instructor and have been thoroughly revised under the instructor's guidance via conferences, in-class work, peer groups and/or Writing Center tutoring. A student's writing portfolio is worth at least 50% of the course grade and must receive a favorable evaluation in order for the student to pass the course and proceed to ENG 1112.

The MINIMUM criteria for a favorable evaluation of a writing portfolio are listed below.

Content & Ideas

  1. A relatively successful attempt is made to clarify and focus the topic.
  2. Ideas are presented in a reasonably clear and considered manner. 
  3. An attempt is made to develop most of the ideas presented. 
  4. Ideas are at least occasionally original. 
  5. The writer is basically in control of the ideas presented.


  1. An introduction and conclusion are recognizable. 
  2. At least some main ideas attempt to support the central topic. 
  3. At least some main ideas are supported with relevant details. 
  4. Transitions sometimes work effectively. 
  5. The essay sometimes moves along at an effective pace, even though at other times it may bog down or hurry. 
  6. Despite problems, the organization basically develops the central topic.


  1. The language basically is clear and communicates ideas, even though it may not always be fresh or specific. 
  2. Sentences are functional. 
  3. The sentence structure usually conveys relationships between ideas. 
  4. Competent control of simple sentence structure is evident, though control of complex sentence structure may sometimes be deficient. 
  5. Attempts are made to vary sentence structure. 
  6. The tone is basically consistent and controlled.


  1. Paragraphing is basically proficient, though paragraphs may sometimes run together or begin in the wrong place. 
  2. Terminal punctuation is often correct, though internal punctuation may be faulty or missing altogether.
  3. Spelling is usually correct, or reasonable phonetic, on common words. 
  4. Problems with usage are not severe enough to distort meaning. 
  5. Moderate editing would be required to polish the text.

Course instructors are responsible for evaluating the portfolios, but in a case where they perceive a portfolio to be on the borderline between a passing and failing evaluation, they will refer the portfolio to the Portfolio Committee (made up of the departmental chair, Composition Director and other ENG 0090 instructors) who will then take on the responsibility of evaluating the portfolio and will communicate their evaluation to the instructor.