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English 14/14X

In English 14, students develop their reading, writing and formal rhetorical skills. Not only do students learn to read and write about a variety of texts, they also learn to compose rhetorically sophisticated essays that take into account purpose, context, and audience. Students learn strategies for creating effective written arguments. English 14X is a course parallel to English 14 for nonnative speakers who need additional work in English as a Second Language.

Philosophy & Goals

English 14/14X, the second course in our developmental writing sequence, both builds on the rhetorical activities and skills students learn in English 13/13X and orients students who place between 13/13X and 16/16X to the requirements of academic and workplace writing. Generally, students placed into English 14/14X demonstrate fluency and clarity in narrative and descriptive writing but still exhibit some difficulties with the fundamental conventions of academic discourse, including reading comprehension, knowledge of rhetorical elements such as audience, genre, context, purpose, and modes, and awareness of Standard English, syntax, grammar, and mechanics.

English 14/14X seeks to help students go beyond personal narrative to engage with more complex academic discourse through intensive reading and writing of critical and creative texts. Students read a variety of genres, including poetry, editorials, short stories, novels, essays, and nonfiction. They are introduced to rudimentary research skills of evaluating, integrating, and citing sources. By the end of the semester, they should be able to write a thesis-driven essay that integrates at least two course readings using MLA-style parenthetical documentation.

Students continue to learn different invention strategies, such as free writing, clustering, process writing, and informal writing; they review rhetorical strategies learned in English 13/13X and add others to them such as definition, division, and classification; and they review basic grammar and punctuation in relation to their writing assignments. They present their writing in a full class workshop on a regular basis. All essays should go through a process of drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading. Twice in the semester, students submit a portfolio of their work that includes formal essays with drafts and revisions, in-class essays, and reflective/self-evaluative writing.

Although better prepared for college-level work than students who place into English 13/13X, English 14/14X students remain at risk for academic failure, and student retention continues to be a primary course goal. English 14/14x promotes critical literacy with an emphasis on the thesis-driven essay. It combines acquisition of academic discourse through practice of reading and writing skills with a meta-cognitive focus on language, the writing process, and rhetoric.

By critically examining themes such as language and literacy that encourage meta-cognitive awareness of texts and their own experiences, students are primed to improve both their writing skills and their chances of academic success.

Learning Outcomes

Reading: By the end of English 14/14X, students should be fluent, critical readers of several genres, with strategies for appropriating new language, concepts, and discourses. On the continuum from English 13/13X to Core Seminar, English 14/14X students should:

  • continue to build on skills of fluency, comprehension, and interpretation, with an increasing emphasis on analysis;
  • understand the need to reread and appropriately mark and annotate a text to develop a “reading”;
  • be conversant with several genres, including fiction, nonfiction narrative, and the analytical essay;
  • have practice using texts both as source material and writing models;
  • practice close reading strategies such as paraphrasing, summarizing, marginal notation, and locating key words; and
  • have practical knowledge of library, Internet, and research skills, including evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources.

Writing: By the end of English 14, students should be able to write clear, reasonably correct, thesis-driven, expository essays. On the continuum from English 13 to Core Seminar, English 14 students should:

  • gain rhetorical knowledge of purpose, audience, context, voice across genres, including personal narrative and the expository essay;
  • use writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating;
  • understand writing as a staged process involving invention, drafting, revising, and editing;
  • learn to use rhetorical strategies of definition, division, and classification;
  • engage in peer editing and writing workshops;
  • learn basic library, Internet, and research skills and concepts, including thesis development, integration of primary and secondary sources, citation, documentation, and how to avoid plagiarism;
  • develop control over the conventions of format and writing, including syntax, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation; and
  • become acquainted with a variety of writing technologies, including basic word processing and computer skills, Web navigation, and multi-media tools like PowerPoint.

All the above goals will be adapted with sensitivity toward students whose first language is not English.

Writing Requirements

  • 3 formal (4-6-page) essays with drafts, including 1 critical narrative and 2 thesis-driven essays utilizing a range of rhetorical strategies
  • 2 in-class essays (minimum), one of which will be a 2-stage essay
  • Reflective/self-evaluative writing for each formal essay or twice a semester
  • Practice in summary/paraphrase/quotation  
  • Informal writing (e.g., journals, in-class writing, free-writing, blogging)

Portfolio Requirements

  • Midterm Portfolio (optional): one finished essay, with drafts attached; in-class essay
  • Final Portfolio: two finished essays, with drafts attached; two-stage, in-class essay; departmental exit exam

English 14 Exit Exam Information

Click here for information about the English 14 Exit Exam.