Composition policy for syllabi

Course Guidelines and Policies

English 1A
English 1B
Add/Drop policy
Grading policy
Consent to record class
Academic integrity policy
ADA compliance statement
Estimation of student workload
Technology available to students
Peer Connections
Writing Center


English 1A

Writing: Writing assignments shall give students repeated practice in all phases of the writing process: prewriting, organizing, writing, revising, and editing. This class requires a minimum of 8000 words, at least 4000 of which must be in revised final draft form. Because in-class writing is valued and students should be able to perform well in timed writing situations, at least three essays shall be written in class. English 1A classes require at least three out-of-class essays. How the 8000-word minimum will be met and distributed must be clearly indicated on greensheets.

Throughout the semester, your instructor will give you frequent feedback on your writing, including comments on what is working well and suggestions for how to improve specific features of individual papers.

Reading. Reading for the course will be extensive and intensive. It shall include useful models of writing for academic, general, and special audiences. A dictionary, a rhetoric (or rhetoric/reader), a handbook, and assigned readings are appropriate materials to require.

Tutoring. At the discretion of the university or the instructor, students may be required to attend tutoring sessions as a corequisite to completing the course.

Class size: Enrollment shall normally be limited to 25 students.

Grading: A-F. Completing Area A2 with a grade of C or better (C- not accepted) is a graduation requirement.

Prerequisites: Passage of the English Proficiency Test (EPT), or passage of an approved substitute course for EPT.
Area A2 courses must be taught in the English language per CSU Executive Order 1065.

Research: In this course, you may learn to use the tools of the SJSU library, including online resources for research, but library research is not a requirement of the course.

Diversity: In English 1A, you will address issues of race, class, and gender as well as the perspectives of women and diverse cultural groups.


English 1B

Diversity: Students will engage in integrated reading, writing, and oral assignments to construct their own arguments on complex issues (such as diversity and ethnicity, class and social equity) that generate meaningful public debate.

Writing: Students will write a series of essays informed by research and articulating fully developed arguments about complex issues. Assignments emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce 1) the persuasive argument, and 2) the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. Writing assignments give students repeated practice in prewriting, organizing, writing, revising, and editing. This class requires a minimum of 6000 words, at least 4000 of which must be in revised final draft form. Assignments should include timed (or “In class”) writing as well as revised writing (out of class). How the 6000-word minimum will be met and distributed must be clearly indicated on the course greensheet.

Students will receive frequent evaluations of their writing from the instructor. In keeping with the core goal of A3—understanding the relationship between language and logic-evaluative comments must be substantive, addressing both the logic of the argument and the quality and form of the writing. Comments should encourage and acknowledge student success as well as note problems and suggest ways to improve.

Writing assignments will be structured to explore the relationship between language and logic in composing arguments, and to develop strategies for incorporating critical thinking skills into the writing process. Instruction in writing will help students to recognize and produce language that:

  • conveys complex ideas clearly, logically, persuasively
  • states a clear position while taking into account other points of view, integrating both qualification and rebuttal as appropriate
  • understands the kinds of argument and the kinds of evidence appropriate to each, and chooses both appropriately
  • integrates research logically and ethically: analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing, and documenting information and ideas gleaned from reliable sources
  • uses paragraph and essay form to effectively organize complex arguments into clear, readable logical sequences that are both coherent and persuasive
  • controls word choice to develop prose that is readable, logical, and persuasive
  • controls syntax, grammar, and punctuation to develop prose that is readable, logical, and clear

Oral: Students will also complete oral communication assignments. These assignments might include individual presentations; group presentations; group, team, or dyadic discussions; debates; and similar speaking events. Evaluative comments for these assignments, addressing issues of both content and presentation, must substantively remark on the logic of the argument as well as the presentation’s delivery.

Reading: Readings are an integral part of A3 courses. Readings include useful models of writing for academic, general, and specific audiences; readings are used consistently with the course goal of enhancing ability in written communication and reading. The majority of the reading is devoted to analytical, critical, and argumentative texts. Instructors will help students develop and refine strategies for reading challenging, college-level material.

Readings will represent a broad spectrum of opinions and ideas, writing styles, and cultural experiences. Students should be introduced to methods of argument analysis, both rhetorical and logical, that allow them to parse complex arguments and articulate their logical structure. These methods of analysis can include, for instance, stasis theory and Toulmin analysis, truth trees and Venn’s diagrams—any method formal and informal that encourages students to assess the validity of an argument and evaluate the relationship of the language to the argument’s logic, including:

  • distinguish denotation from connotation, abstract from concrete, literal from inferential
  • identify logical structures (such as warrants, evidence, qualification, rebuttal; enthymemes and syllogisms) and distinguish common logical fallacies
  • recognize and evaluate assumptions underlying an argument
  • draw and assess inferences and recognize distinctions among assumptions, facts, inferences and opinions
  • distinguish the role of audience and context and purpose in shaping argumentation strategies
  • evaluate rhetorical appeals to understand the role of emotion and ethos in relation to logic as part of effective argumentation 

Research: Area A3 courses will include a library orientation conducted or approved by a trained librarian, to introduce the library and basic research strategies that students will need to complete upper division coursework, including locating materials, using them effectively (e.g., quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing), and citing them properly. A traditional research paper or a series of short essays informed by library research is required.

Class size: Enrollment shall normally be limited to 25 students.

Grading: A-F. Completing this GE Area with a grade of C or better (C- not accepted) is a graduation requirement.

Prerequisite: GE Areas A1 (Oral Communication) and A2 (Written Communication I, English 1A) with grades of C or better (C- not accepted).


Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc.  Refer to the current semester’s Catalog Policies section.  Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage.  The Late Drop Policy is available. Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub.

Grading Policy

English Department Grading Policies: In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs. Grades issued will represent a full range of student performance and will adhere to the following SJSU academic standards of assessment:

The "A" essay will be well organized and well developed, demonstrating a clear understanding and fulfillment of the assignment. It will show the student's ability to use language effectively and construct sentences distinguished by syntactic complexity and variety. Such essays will be essentially free of grammatical, mechanical, and usage errors.

The "B" essay will demonstrate competence in the same categories as the "A" essay. The chief difference is that the "B" essay will show some slight weaknesses in one of those categories. It may slight one of the assigned tasks, show less facility of expression, or contain some minor grammatical, mechanical, or usage flaws.

The "C" essay will complete all tasks set by the assignment, but show weakness in fundamentals (usually development), with barely enough specific information to illustrate the experience or support generalizations. The sentence construction may be less mature, and the use of language less effective and correct than the "B" essay.

The "D" essay will neglect one of the assigned tasks and be noticeably superficial in its treatment of the assignment--that is, too simplistic or short. The essay may reveal some problems in development, with insufficient specific information to illustrate the experience or support generalizations. It will contain grammatical, mechanical, and usage errors that render some sentences incomprehensible.

The "F" essay will demonstrate a striking underdevelopment of ideas and insufficient or unfocused organization. It will contain serious grammatical, mechanical, and usage errors that render some sentences incomprehensible.

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the SJSU Catalog. Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A= excellent; B= above average; C= average; D= below average; F= failure. 


University Policies

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor’s permission to record the course. 

“Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor’s permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material.”

  • It is suggested that the greensheet include the instructor’s process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
  • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • “Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent.”

Academic integrity

Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University.  The University Academic Integrity Policy S07-2 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

In 2013, the Disability Resource Center changed its name to be known as the Accessible Education Center, to incorporate a philosophy of accessible education for students with disabilities.  The new name change reflects the broad scope of attention and support to SJSU students with disabilities and the University's continued advocacy and commitment to increasing accessibility and inclusivity on campus.


Estimation of Per-Unit Student Workload

Academic Policy S12-3 has defined expected student workload as follows:

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/ studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library.

A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media Services located in IRC 112. These items include digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.

Peer Connections

Peer Connections is the campus-wide resource for mentoring and tutoring.  Our staff is here to inspire students to develop their potential as independent learners while they learn to successfully navigate through their university experience.  Students are encouraged to take advantage of our services which include course-content based tutoring, enhanced study and time management skills, more effective critical thinking strategies, decision making and problem-solving abilities, and campus resource referrals.  In addition to offering small group, individual, and drop-in tutoring for a number of undergraduate courses, consultation with mentors is available on a drop-in or by appointment basis.  Workshops are offered on a wide variety of topics including preparing for the WST, improving your learning and memory, alleviating procrastination, surviving your first semester at SJSU, and other related topics.  We are located in SSC 600 (10th Street Garage), at the first floor entrance of Clark Hall, and in the Living Learning Center (LLC) in Campus Village Housing Building B.  See the Peer Connections website for more information and be sure to come see us! 

SJSU Writing Center

Writing Center QR CodeThe SJSU Writing Center is located in Clark Hall, Suite 126. All Writing Specialists have gone through a rigorous hiring process, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. In addition to one-on-one tutoring services, the Writing Center also offers workshops every semester on a variety of writing topics. To make an appointment or to refer to the numerous online resources offered through the Writing Center, visit the Writing Center website. For additional resources and updated information, follow the Writing Center on Twitter and become a fan of the SJSU Writing Center on Facebook.

SJSU Counseling Services The SJSU Counseling Services is located on the corner of 7th Street and San Fernando Street, in Room 201, Administration Building. Professional psychologists, social workers, and counselors are available to provide consultations on issues of student mental health, campus climate or psychological and academic issues on an individual, couple, or group basis. To schedule an appointment or learn more information, visit Counseling Services website.