Gen ed English classes will change in fall 2019


Alexandra Radovic

Dave Meng, the department chair for English and communications (right), and professor Candice Hill discuss upcoming English course changes.

Alexandra Radovic, Editor-in-Chief

AACC students must take three more credits of English in order to earn an associate degree, starting next fall.

Current students who placed high on the Accuplacer test or took the SAT and earned a high score can take ENG 121 as an accelerated three-credit course instead of taking the usual six-credit sequence of ENG 111 and 112.

However, starting next fall, “We’re losing the option for students to take three credits instead of six,” Dr. Candice Hill, chair of the English Department’s Curriculum Committee, said.

And the college will replace ENG 111 and 112 with two new, three-credit courses, ENG 101 and 102. Degree-seeking students will have to complete both.

Students who transfer to four-year schools without an associate degree will only need to take ENG 101.

In addition, the college is changing the way it determines which students need to take developmental English courses.

Dave Meng, the department chair for English and Communications, said the English faculty is in the process of replacing the Accuplacer test with a writing sample—probably a short essay. Meng said the essay will be a “much better way” to place students in the correct English classes.

Previously, students who scored low on the Accuplacer test would have to take developmental courses before taking English classes for credit. If they scored high, they placed directly into ENG 121, the three-credit accelerated course.

But the state decided that developmental English courses were holding students back. “What studies have found is that students who take developmental courses don’t continue on” to credit courses, Meng said. “It’s a hurdle for them.”

For this reason, Meng said, the new ENG 101 has two sections.

Students who need extra help in English will place into ENG 101A and earn three credits that will appear on their transcripts. But ENG 101A also includes two supplementary credits that will not count toward the students’ degrees.

Hill said students who have qualified for the accelerated ENG 121 but do not take it by next semester will have to take both ENG 101 and ENG 102 because the college will no longer offer ENG 121.

Meng said taking a single English class “is just not sufficient to get students up to where they … should be in terms of skill. … Writing is a fundamental skill for all students. It doesn’t matter what field you’re going into.”

Second-year student Brett Seabolt is studying computer science, but said he agrees that writing is an essential skill for success in any field.

“Writing skills are pretty important in expressing ideas and being able to communicate effectively,” Seabolt said.

Hill said the English faculty will design specific projects for the new classes that will depend on students’ majors, so “the papers can be based on students’ interests and career goals. They can look at bias and how we analyze data,” Hill said. “It’s preparing them better for other classes they have here.”

ENG 101 and 102 will involve more analytical, persuasive and argumentative writing than 111 and 112, Meng said.

Hill said the English department looked at the top five AACC transfer schools to make sure the content of the new courses matched up with their curricula.