To promote a uniform standard of competence in writing throughout the various programs
and colleges of the university, all students must successfully complete the English
Qualifying Examination as a prerequisite for admission to all major or professional
programs. In addition, all entering freshmen and transfer students are required to
take the appropriate university diagnostic or qualifying examination in English composition.
Entering students may not register for any composition course until they have taken
the appropriate examination.
ENGLISH 1230 WRITERS' WORKSHOP I (3)/6/
Prerequisite: Placement by prior examination
An intensive study of the basic principles of expository and argumentative writing
for all students (including those students wishing to transfer three-to-four hours
of composition credit) who do not meet the minimum standards for placement into Composition
I. Practice in exposition, argumentation, reasoning skills, paragraph and essay development
with focus on sentence construction, usage, punctuation, and mechanics. The writing
lab for individualized instruction is mandatory. To receive a passing grade in this
course, the student must successfully complete the English Qualifying Examination.
Successful completion of English 1230 satisfies the Composition I requirement. Credit
not given for both English 1230 or 1270. Additional course fee.
ENGLISH 1240 WRITERS' WORKSHOP II (3)/6/
Prerequisite: Placement by prior examination
An intensive study of argumentative writing for transfer students who do not pass
the English 128 Transfer Examination (English Qualifying Examination). Additional
practice in paragraph and essay development, sentence construction, usage, punctuation,
and mechanics. A lab for computer-assisted instruction is mandatory. To receive a
passing grade in the course, the student must successfully complete the course exit
examination (English Qualifying Examination). Successful completion of English 1240
satisfies the Composition II requirement. Credit given for English 1240 or 1280, not
1270 COMPOSITION I (3)
Prerequisite: Placement by prior examination
Basic principles of exposition and argumentation for those students who meet the minimum
standards of the Composition I Placement Examination. Practice in reasoning skills,
paragraph and essay development, usage, punctuation, and mechanics. To receive a
passing grade in this course, the student must successfully complete the English Qualifying
Exam/exit examination. Credit given only for English 1270 or 1230, not both courses.
1280 COMPOSITION II (3)
Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 1230 or 1270 or the English 1270 Transfer
Advanced techniques of exposition with emphasis on argumentation, reasoning, research,
and documentation. Additional practice in paragraph and essay development, sentence
construction, usage, punctuation, and mechanics. Credit given for for English 1280
or English 1240, not both courses. IAI: C1901R1220 WRITING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (3)
Prerequisite: Consent of the department
An alternative to ENG 123, 124, 127 and 128. Designed for non-native speakers of English.
Sentence patterns, writing skills, grammar, and usage. To receive a passing grade
in this course, the student must successfully complete the appropriate exit examination.
May be taken more than once as needed by non-native speakers of English to satisfy
Top of page
All students who enter Chicago State University must take an essay examination. These
examinations are used for two purposes:1) to place students in the appropriate English
composition class, 2) to determine if transfer credit will be granted. Students cannot
take any course in composition unless they have been assigned to it on the basis of
their performance on their essay examinations. There are many courses in the university
that students cannot take until they have passed all of their composition classes
- Freshmen and other students with no college credit in composition take the diagnostic
examination for placement in English 1230 or English 1270. Students who demonstrate
competencies for 1270 must register for that course; those who do not must register
- Transfer students with three semester hours of composition credit from another institution
take the English Qualifying Examination, which is the same as the English 1270 final.
If they pass, their three credit hours in composition are accepted as transfer credit
and they enroll in English 1280; if they do not pass, they must register for English
- Transfer students with six semester hours of composition credit from another institution
must pass the English Qualifying Examination in order to apply the transfer credit
hours toward graduation requirements at Chicago State University. Those who do not
pass the examination must register for English 1240.
- Students in the Board of Governors and University Without Walls programs must also
pass the English Qualifying Examination. BOG, UWW students must register for English
1240 if they do not pass the English Qualifying Examination. BOG and UWW students
are strongly encouraged to take six hours of composition at Chicago State University
to ensure their writing skills are strong when they graduate.
For information about the times and dates for placement exams, please visit the Office of Examinations
For all examinations you have 90 minutes to write and proofread your essay. You should
plan to spend 10 to 15 minutes planning and outlining your essay, 40 to 60 minutes
writing it, and 15 to 20 minutes proofreading it.
1) For the diagnostic placement examinations (taken by new freshmen), the English
1270 placement examination, you must write an essay of 300-350 words on one of two
topics. You will be given a short prompt; a paragraph designed to stimulate your
thinking; and a topic in the form of a question. In your essay you must answer the
question and explain your answer.
Sample Diagnostic Topics:
Gang violence is a serious problem. Many young men join gangs and then participate
in criminal activities. In a well-developed essay of 300-350 words, please respond
to the following question: Why do teenage boys join gangs?
2) For the English Qualifying Examination or the exit examination for English 1240or
English 1280, you must write an argumentative essay of 400-450 words. You will see
a short prompt; designed to stimulate your thinking; and a topic in the form of a
question. In your essay, you must write an argument that persuades readers that one
answer to the question is better or more reasonable than another.
Sample 1230/1270/1240 topic:
Some people argue that the need for programs such as affirmative action are not longer
necessary. On the other hand, civil rights activists keep reminding people that the
struggle for equality in America is far from over. In a well-developed essay of 400-450
words, please respond to the following question:Are all Americans now treated equally?
A complete list of possible topics can be found by clicking here: Exam Topics
Placement Examination ResultsThe Office of Examinations will send students their examination results within two
weeks after their placement tests and tell them which composition course, if any,
they should register for. If they wish to see their examinations, students may get
copies from the Office of Examinations (Administration Building, room 126). The current
fee is one dollar. The results can be interpreted in the office of the Director of
Composition, Concetta Williams, Science Building, room 318, ext. 4456.
Top of page
In order to receive credit for English 1230, 1240, or 1270 students must demonstrate
mastery of the material by passing both the course and the department exit examination
given at the end of the course. Students who do passing work during the semester
but do not pass the exit examination will be given a grade of Incomplete. English
1270 students have one semester to retake the class, pass the exam, and earn a passing
grade. English 1230 and 1240 students have two semesters to retake the class, pass
the exam, and earn a passing grade. After one semester (for English 1270) or two
semesters (English 1230 and 1240) the grade will revert to an I/F.
English 1230 or 1240 students who have not passed after four attempts at passing the
course or six attempts at passing the examination will be withdrawn from the university
for poor scholarship.
Top of page
English department faculty grade the examination essays and assign a score of 6, 5,
or 4, which are passing scores, or 3, 2, or 1, which are failing scores. These scores
are based on the criteria spelled out in the scoring guide (See below).Each essay
is graded separately by two instructors; neither instructor knows what score the other
has given the essay. If one instructor passes the essay and the other does not pass
it, the paper is read by a third instructor, who makes the final decision.The Scoring
Guide. All passing papers must reflect competence in standard American English
Score of 6: Superior
- Addresses the question fully and explores the issues thoughtfully
- Shows substantial depth, fullness and complexity of thought
- Demonstrates clear, focused, unified and coherent organization
- Is fully developed and detailed
- Evidences superior control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition
- May have a few minor mechanical flaws
Score of 5: Strong
- Clearly addresses the question and explores the issues
- Shows some depth and complexity of thought
- Is effectively organized
- Is well developed, with supporting detail
- Demonstrates control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition
- May have a few mechanical flaws
Score of 4: Competent
- Adequately addresses the question and explores the issues
- Shows clarity of thought but may lack complexity
- Is organized
- Is adequately developed, with some detail
- Demonstrates competent syntactic control
- May have some mechanical flaws
Score of 3: Not Competent
A failing paper will reflect one or more of these weaknesses:
- Severely distorts or neglects parts of the question
- Is very simplistic or stereotyped in thought
- Demonstrates serious problems in organization
- Contains generalizations without supporting detail or detail without generalizations:
may be undeveloped
- Shows patterns of flaws in language, syntax or mechanics
Score of 2: Weak
- Demonstrates serious inadequacy in one or more of the areas specified for the 3 paper
Score of 1: Very Weak
- Fails in its attempt to discuss the topic
- Is completely off-topic
- Is severely underdeveloped (i.e. too short)
- Is wholly incompetent syntactically and mechanically
Top of page
The examiners assume that men and women who are seeking college degrees are interested
in and knowledgeable about the current events of the world in which they live. The
topics are developed from current events.Your chances of passing your examination
will be increased significantly if you know about issues of current concern to educated
women and men. Get into the habit of regularly reading news magazines and newspapers.
Local and national television news broadcasts rarely provide enough detail and analysis
to be useful. A list of some good sources for information about current events follows:
The Chicago Tribune
The New Yorker
The New Republic
The New York Times
The Sun Times
U. S. News and World Report
The Atlantic Monthly
The Washington Post
Current issues of all of these publications can be found in most public libraries
and on the Internet. They are also available in the periodicals room of Douglas Library
on the Chicago State University campus.
Another good source of in-depth reports and analyses of current events is National
Public Radio, FM 91.5. Both the morning and evening news broadcasts (Morning Edition
and All Things Considered) provide excellent coverage of local, national, and international
There is no single required essay form. Generally, an essay must have a clear beginning,
middle and end. The introduction should set the tone and topic for the essay and
give a general indication of the information or arguments that will be developed in
the rest of the essay. The body of the essay should develop in detail the information
or points mentioned in the introduction, but there should be no repetition of what
has already been said. The conclusion should bring the essay to a clear end and should
not repeat what has already been said before. It is sometimes useful to answer the
question; Why is what I've said important? in the conclusion.
Avoid formulaic thesis statements in your introduction, such as; There are three reasons
that health care should be free to all citizens. The three reasons thesis statements
may have been acceptable in your high school English classes, but they are not considered
to be appropriate for college level work. Your thesis should make a thoughtful statement
or state a considered position and should lead to a discussion of those points most
appropriate to your essay.
Be sure that your essay addresses the topic you are given. Also, be sure that your
essay does not wander off the topic. Each paragraph should be clearly connected to
the main point of the essay and to all the other paragraphs in the essay.
Be sure that you understand and can apply the rules of academic English. Many students
who fail their examinations do so because of errors in the following areas:
- Subject/verb agreement
- Verb forms
- Pronoun agreement
- Pronoun reference
- Plural nouns
- Possessive nouns
- Incomplete sentences
- Run-on sentences
You can review the rules for these and other conventions of academic English in any
English usage handbook. You can also find help at owl.english.purdue.edu/by-topic.html
To a large degree, correctness in academic English depends on proofreading skills.
Practice reading what you have written closely and carefully. Make a list of the
errors you make most often and practice finding and correcting those errors in your
own writing. For example, if you have a problem with subject/verb agreement, learn
to find all of the subjects and verbs in your writing and check to see if they agree.
You will find information about help with study skills, test anxiety, or other problems
in the Office of Academic Support Services (Student Union Building, room 158).
The Office of Continuing Education can give you information about workshops that will
help you prepare for the examinations. Call (773) 995-2572 for scheduled English
examination preparation workshops.
Perfect neatness isn't necessary, but your writing must be readable. If a grader
cannot read a word or letter, he or she may assume there is an error. If you have
handwriting that is hard to read, practice writing with a clear, legible hand. Also,
make sure that the distinction between capital letters and small letters is clear.
- Be sure you know what examination you are taking. If you are not sure, check with
the Office of Examinations (Administration Building, room 126, 995-2481) a day or
two before you take your examination.
- Be sure to double check the location of your examination ahead of time. Most placement
examinations are administered in the Library, room 119.
- Arrive at least fifteen minutes early so that you can get signed in and settled before
the examination starts.
- Bring a dictionary, electronic spell checker (if you have one), a black ballpoint
pen and a photo ID to the examination. Do not bring paper, books or any other equipment
- You may use the directions sheet or the topic sheet as scratch paper for planning
and outlining your essay.
- You may ask for additional paper if you need it.
- You may not share a dictionary or communicate with other students taking the examination
while it is in progress.
- Attempts to cheat will be reported for disciplinary action.
- Be sure you answer the question in your essay. The prompt that precedes the question is there to help you to get your thoughts flowing.
Your topic, however, is determined by the question. Do not let the information given
in the prompt distract you from answering the question.
- Pick the topic that you know the most about. The exam graders look for specific details
and examples. Remember, it is easier to write about what you know.
- Think your essay through before you begin writing. It is a good idea to spend ten
to fifteen minutes thinking about, planning, and outlining your essay before you write.
- Do not write a rough draft and then copy it over. You will run out of time. If you
need to make changes, draw a single line through the word or phrase you wish to change
and write your correction neatly above it.
- Use several different sentence patterns and lengths.
- Avoid ineffective repetition of words, phrases or sentences.
- Make sure your essay is consistent and logical. If you start off arguing one point
of view, don't switch sides in the middle of your essay.
- Avoid vague generalizations, such as; Most people feel that there is too much child
abuse. Unless you have asked them, you don't know what most people feel, nor is it
clear what amount of child abuse is too much.
- Avoid overly used phrases, such as, In today's world. These phrases often lead you
to make illogical statements, for example, In today's world, children need love.
This statement implies that in previous times children did not need love.
- Use specific details and examples. If you are arguing that children need discipline
in order to learn right from wrong, you need to describe exactly what kind of discipline
they need, like time-outs or spanking, in specific situations.
- Make sure every point you make has a logical connection to your thesis statement.
- Avoid addressing the reader directly by using the words you or your. It is standard,
in a personal essay,to use the words or my.
- Leave fifteen or twenty minutes to proofread your essay. Careful proofreading is
critical to your success.
Top of page
Passing Diagnostic Essay (taken by by new freshmen). The topic: Why do teenage girls
Every year hundreds of teenage girls get pregnant. In spite of sex education provided
in schools, many girls still get pregnant, some intentionally. There are many reasons
as to why teenage girls fall into the trap. Some teenage girls may say they were
looking for love but in the end it was nowhere to be found. One reason why teenage
girls get pregnant is because they are ignorant to the fact that your first time is
all it takes. Some teen girls may say it won't happen to me my first time, when indeed
it may very well happen. A very good percent of teenage girls get pregnant their
first time. They believe that because they've never had sex before that there's no
need to use protection. When not being educated costs you the rest of your life you
would think girls would learn.
Another reason teenage girls get pregnant is to try and trap a man. That's when the
teenage girls getting pregnant intentionally comes in. Some teens feel as though
to keep a man they have to have his child. Many teen girls fail to realize that if
the man doesn't love you he won't love his child. Some men today never step up to
the plate and take responsibility for the seed they've sowed. Teenage girls are then
left empty handed. Girls are left taking care of a child when they can't provide
Also, teenage girls get pregnant because they were never loved and they want to fill
that empty hole inside their heart. Little did they know it's not easy raising a
child alone. They have to give up everything they did love to devote themselves to
the child. Teenage girls aren't ready to do that. They are not prepared to spend
the rest of their lives raising a child. Teenage girls are prone to letting their
feelings get the best of them. Some teenage girls grew up with a sense of insecurity.
They probably grew up in a type of household where no parents were present. Their
innocent minds mislead them into thinking that since they weren't loved, they can
have a child to love and to receive that love back.
In conclusion, sad to say, but every year innocent babies are brought in to the world
without a sense of security. Teenage girls need to realize that having a child is
not an easy task. Having a child means committing yourself to one thing. As I stated
before rarely is there a teenage girl who is willing to devote all of her time to
a child. So to conclude, I would have to say that if teenage girls just have to have
sex, I would recommend that they use protection.
The above essay is not perfect. There are some errors in pronoun usage and punctuation,
but it displays a level of ability that indicates the writer is ready for regular
freshman composition -- English 1270. The essay is organized with a clear beginning,
middle and end, and the paragraphs are adequately developed.
Topic: In what ways do stereotypes affect people's judgments?
In today Chicago Suntimes there were an page about how stereotyping can make judgement
on other people. As we know people are being stereotype for many reasons.
People are sterotype by there own peers. Some of our peers talk about how we look.
What we wear. And sometime about some people age difference. I were sterotype when
I decided to return to school. I was told that I were to old to return to school.
But I were not influence by my peers judgement of me. Every day there is someone
who are sterotype by there peers. Sometime in school or outside their homes.
Next some people are being sterotype about there culture. There are many diffent
kinds cultures. many people have religion faiths. Some people worship the sun.
We all have some kind of culture from when we were baby. So, if some one else culture
is different we might sterotypes because, and judge other. This is because lack of
understanding other cultures.
word stereotyping can come from member in your home. For instance if some one in
your home stereotype people because of their color this will influence you.
You might hear your mother or father talk what other people is wearning this make
your judgement sometime be the same. If there is nothing good said about other people
colors or looks you will stereotype these people in the same way.
Finally, people are stereotype because they come from a different race as others.
People fear other race because the fear of understanding.
In conclude, people can and will always be influence about sterotypes judgement.
There are some people who will stereotypes no matter what. Stereotypes is sometimes
cause because people look different. Sometime the same peers talk about some of their
other peer. Other people family might look at people differt because of color. Stereotype
other because the lack of knowledge. We must stop stereotyping other people and look
at them as human beings. We must learn to love and understand other races. Sterotypes
is a disease.
The essay above suffers from numerous grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
In addition, the essay is not well organized, nor are the paragraphs developed. This
writer needs intensive instruction in English 1230.
Passing English Qualifying Examination(taken by students attempting to transfer three to six hours of composition credit;
it is the same exam taken by students attempting to exit English 1230, 1240, or 1270). Topic: Are people losing their respect for their fellow citizens?
In an age where violence such as road rage is prevalent, the question has been posed
as to whether people are losing their respect for fellow citizens.The answer to that
question is evident on many fronts such as the streets, schools, sports, entertainment,
and even at home. Although it is nothing completely new, disrespect appears to manifest
itself today in a proportion unknown in recent history.
Modern ideologies such as political correctness may be highly culpable for some of
the disrespect seen in people today.The current liberalism often promotes a degree
of respect for all races, genders, and religions, yet it sometimes promotes free speech
to a faulty extent. Nowadays, many people, including children, are taught the importance
of having the right to express themselves.The problem with this ideology is its failure
to also emphasize tact and discretion in an individual's expression. Profanity is
commonplace in almost every walk of life, and many people gain a sense of power in
telling someone else what they can kiss or suck. After all, in the United States we
have the power to express ourselves freely, and if someone angers us many people will
not hesitate to make their feelings known. Unfortunately, this frankness of speech
finds its way to children who constantly hear adults swearing in their presence.No
wonder why we have seen so many disrespectful children on Maury Povich and Jenny Jones
in recent years.
Often, when people feel that they have arrived to a certain level, their respect for
others dwindles.Living in the United States today has confused the values of many
citizens.This arrival to a certain level may not be world-wide fame, but maybe only
popularity in school.Children tend to justify their ridicule of other children who
are less popular than they are.Therefore, if popularity may breed disrespect in children,
it may expand to adulthood if it is not curbed.One example is that of professional
star athletes who believe they need not conform to league or team standards based
on their stardom.Another example is in the music industry's lyrical vulgarity, particularly
in hip-hop or rap music.Many rap performers use reality and free speech as the basis
for their frankness of speech.However, the sale of their material is the true motivation
for their vulgarity.Free speech is just as operable to say positive and meaningful
words, but sex and violence sell, so many rappers choose this kind of expression regardless
of who may be offended.
Money is probably the overall root of the disrespect that we see in American society.Road
rage is prevalent because people may be on their way to acquire money in addition
to the fact that some people value their automobiles more than human life.Also money
has the influence to make an artist forsake his or her artistry if they may acquire
more money by being disrespectful.In American society, money is power, thus a form
of power in disrespect has developed.Even if no money is acquired although disrespect,
some people still gain a sense of power through disrespect because they are utilizing
their first amendment rights.Perhaps power could be utilized in words of kindness,
but kindness is weakness and money is power and power lies in disrespect to many in
today's American society.
This essay is well-developed. Each paragraph advances the argument, and the connections
between paragraphs are clear. there are almost no grammar, punctuation, or spelling
Failing English Qualifying Examination. Topic: Does Rap music promote negative values?
Rap music does promotes negative values. It promote negative values in young and
old people. The lyrics in rap music has caused people to murder. Rap music has promoted
The negative values that rap music have promoted is; sex, murder, guns and drugs.
Young people listens to the music and watch the video's that accompany the music.
The video's help explain the lyrics. When young people listen to the lyrics and see
the video's, they degrade themselves' and get themselves' in trouble. Sex has become
a public issue today. Little Kim raps about oral sex and ways she wants men to lay
in bed with her. young and older lady's that listens to her music will feel disrepected,
because when you are in the lime light you represent that gender. Women have fought
for years to be repected and heard. When you have rap artist like Little Kim rapping
degrading Lyrics it degrades all women. The young ladies that are coming up in the
world, needs positive role models to enhance their up bringing.
When boys and young men listen to lyrics that degrade women, they will do the same.
They feel that it is acceptable, if their mother and sisters accept being called a
bitch why souldn't they do the same?
Rap music has caused music artist as well listeners to get murdered. Tupac and Biggie
Small were two legendary rap artist that occasionally rapped negative about one another
and about the lives they lived. They are both dead, and they both were murdered.
Teens listens to these lyrics and have done the same thing. On the west side of Chicago
a teen murdered a classmate because he said the young man did not agree with him on
what the rapper was talking about. This is a senseless crime, all because of rap
There are rappers all around the map case, west, north, and south. Rappers today
has a lot of competition among one another. Everyone wants to be better than their
peers. This competition can cause negative lyrics as well as negative thoughts among
each other. Snoop Dogg is a rapper from the east side and Nelly is a rapper from
the west side they usually have lyrics that comflict with one another and this causes
Rap music does promote negative values in our society. The listeners has to get together
to raise their voices to make a change among the music industry. We as adults needs
to moniter what our children listens to, and try to explain how the lyrics could be
wrong and degrading. We have to make this stand because we are responsible for the
values of ourseleves as well as our children.
This essay is simplistically developed, with no real supporting detail. The numerous
errors, especially errors in subject/verb agreement, prevent the essay from passing.
This writer requires more instruction
Top of page