Dear prospective student,

On behalf of the faculty in the English Composition Program, let me welcome you to Cal State
Channel Islands! I look forward to your joining us this fall in our exciting first-year writing

At most CSU campuses, your English Placement Test score would determine which
composition course you'd take. EPT scores are used throughout the CSU system to "place"
students in first-year writing courses.

Here at CSUCI, we don't believe single timed essays can reliably predict how students will
perform in writing classes. We believe students and writing are far more complex than any
single score can suggest. We also believe students should make such career-shaping choices
for themselves. We call our experimental program Directed Self-Placement (DSP) because, with
a little direction from us, you place yourselves in first-year writing.

You and your peers, the Class of 2009, will be only the third freshman class at CSUCI. Like your
predecessors, you will make an important decision about which composition classes to take to
fulfill the first-year writing requirement. You have two choices:

English 102-103, also known as Stretch Composition, and

English 105, Composition & Rhetoric.

Don't let the names confuse you, both courses are writing classes with similar texts,
assignments, and grading procedures. The differences are twofold: first, the pace of instruction,
and second, where each course begins. The Stretch classes, ENGL 102 and 103, extend over
two semesters, with the same instructor and classmates. You earn 6 credits if you complete
both semesters. ENGL 105 is a one semester, 3 credit course.

I encourage you to read the accompanying materials describing our program and comparing
your options. Pay particular attention to the set of questions inside the red-and-white brochure;
they will help you decide which English composition class best suits you individually. Discuss
these materials with your high school English teachers, counselors, parents, peers, or any
CSUCI students you might know. If you do that, I'm confident you'll make an informed decision
about which English class to take. You'll certainly do a better job of placing yourself than a
single timed test would. The choice is yours!

If, after examining these materials and discussing your options, you still have questions, bring
them to orientation this summer, where you will meet student guides, academic advisors, and
faculty from the composition program. Any of us will be happy to answer your questions.

I look forward to seeing you on campus,

Bob Mayberry
Composition Director

Why take Stretch ENGL 102-103?

  • Fulfills requirement in 2 semesters
  • Emphasis on developing writing strategies
  • An entire year working with same peers & teacher
  • Less demanding assignments at first
  • More opportunities to revise papers
  • 102 offered only in fall, 103 in spring
  • Eases transition to college writing

Typical Assignments

ENGL 102-103:

  • Narrative/reflective paper
  • Problem/solution papers
  • Researched argumentative paper
  • Group research project
  • 4 in-class essays (2 each semester)

Why take ENGL 105?

  • Fulfills requirement in one semester
  • Emphasis on research writing
  • Quicker pace
  • Greater challenge
  • Begins with research assignment
  • Offered both fall and spring
  • Designed for students ready for college writing

Typical Assignments

ENGL 105:

  • Research report
  • Problem/solution paper
  • Researched argumentative paper
  • Group research project
  • 2 in-class essays


(applies to both ENGL 102-103 & 105)

All essays and portfolios scored by team of composition faculty

  • Classroom teacher determines only 20% of students' final grades
  • 2 in-class essays determine 25%
  • 55% of final grade based on portfolio of best papers

Portfolios in 102-103 and 105 scored with same criteria

(see Criteria for Good Writing in brochure)

Final portfolio must receive passing grade to meet first-year writing requirement