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Learning Support Services

Academic Development Courses



AD 090 Basic Writing I – (5 credits)

Course Description

AD 090 Basic Writing I, the first level of two courses offered by Learning Support Services, is an intensive 5 hour course designed to help students develop college level writing ability and acquire grammatical and mechanical skills necessary for all academic writing assignments. Specifically, students will:

  • Develop and improve upon their own writing process;
  • Develop paragraphs using basic essay structure;
  • Work on making papers logical and coherent;
  • Review sentence structure and grammatical skills;
  • Explore diverse topics through readings, observations, discussions.

This course carries institutional credit only, which means that the credits are not calculated in the number of hours earned toward graduation. However, they do count toward full-time student status and for financial aid requirements.

Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of AD 090 is to assist students in achieving a level of competence as academic writers that will allow them to enter the freshman composition program (ENG 101) and successfully meet writing requirements in 100 level general study courses.

In order to successfully meet these goals, students must consistently write multi-paragraph essays (about 350-500 words) that are logical and coherent. The student must exhibit competence with essay structure, methods of development, sentence structure, standard English usage and mechanics. The Freshman Composition Program requires these minimum standards for a C paper.

Required Materials

From Self to Sources: Essays and Beyond, Brandon-Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
The Writer’s Selections, McWhorter, 2009.
The Concise Wadsworth Handbook, Kirszner & Mandell, 2009.

Course Content

Individual instructors set the specific course outline, but in general Basic Writing might include the following:

  • Assignments
  • Diverse readings from the textbook, periodicals, or newspapers
  • Discussion and practice with various types of writing that focus on synthesis, analysis, evaluation
  • Related journal or notebook assignments
  • Summary writing
  • Paragraph development
  • Multi-paragraph expository essays
  • Synthesis projects (mini-research assignments)
  • Editing exercises that focus on grammar, mechanics, vocabulary, usage
  • Individual self-tutorial grammar and rhetoric modules


  • Entry pretesting in grammar skills and entry writing sample
  • Grammar quizzes and reading quizzes
  • Midterm grammar test and midterm essay
  • Final grammar test and final essay

Grades and Recommendations

Students with a final grade of C or better in AD 090 and the recommendation of the instructor may proceed to ENG 101. Students who receive a D in AD 090 may proceed to AD 092 only with a recommendation from the instructor. Grades will be based on the completion of ALL course requirements, midterm and final grammar tests and essays and the quality of the final drafts of papers.

Academic Support

Part of Learning Support Services’ mission is providing student support with additional help available outside of class. This includes:

  • Instructors provide scheduled office hours and include individual conferences as part of the course curriculum
  • Tutors are available by appointment in the Writing Center (Student Success Center 1254)
  • The Writing Center provides self-tutorial computer modules on grammar and rhetoric; students have scheduled class time to work in the Writing Center, but may also work on a walk-in basis

Students needing special academic accommodations must have a documented disability and an ID CARD from Disability Support Services and must discuss with the instructors those accommodations that are needed by the end of the first week.


Attending class is essential in a writing course because the classroom experience provides information and instruction that cannot be made up. If an absence occurs, the student is responsible for obtaining assignments and handouts. Students who miss more than FIVE hours of class time (about a week) could fail the course. WARNING: Students may be dropped by instructors due to poor attendance.

Grading Standards/Course Outcomes

Although what constitutes A, B, C, D, or F on written work is governed by many factors that vary from assignment to assignment, student writing is evaluated according to the four following categories:

  • Purpose – topic, focus or thesis, audience
  • Development – support of purpose
  • Order – essay, paragraph, and sentence organization; logic and clarity
  • Language – conciseness, usage, sentence construction

Minimum Standards (Outcomes)

In order to pass this course and receive a recommendation for ENG 101, students must consistently write essays that meet minimum standards. The following outcomes use the above four categories to define expected results or satisfactory progress:

Work that receives a C must meet the following minimum standards:

  • Purpose – The purpose of the writing, its thesis and the audience to which it is addressed are clearly if not consistently defined.
  • Development – The thesis is adequately developed with details, examples, and/or reasons, but without an abundance of them; the writing is reasonably clear and logical, but rarely thought-provoking.
  • Order – The writing is unified and coherent, each paragraph developing a single aspect of the thesis; the introduction, transitions, and conclusion are satisfactory.
  • Language – The writing is composed in formal, edited English, although it may have some errors in mechanics and usage; its sentence structures and word choices are adequate if undistinguished.

Work that receives an A or B must meet minimum standards plus exhibit the following additional strengths:

  • Purpose – The writing has a controlling sense of purpose, such as to persuade or to inform; it has a clear thesis and is tailored to a given audience.
  • Development – The thesis is developed thoroughly with abundant, fresh support; the writing achieves clarity throughout and exhibits imagination, logic, and a mature level of thought.
  • Order – The writing is organized in a unified manner, with an apt introduction, smooth transitions, and a vigorous conclusion.
  • Language – The writing uses variety in sentence structure, exhibits precise word choice, and is concise; it is composed in formal edited English and is mostly free from errors in mechanics and usage.

Work that receives a D or F does NOT meet minimum standards:

  • Purpose – The writing lacks a clear sense of purpose and audience; the thesis is vague or absent.
  • Development – The writing lacks sufficient support; it is often illogical and lacks clarity.
  • Order – The writing has lapses in organization, or lacks clear organization; introduction, transitions, and conclusions are inadequate.
  • Language – The writing exhibits consistent errors in mechanics and usage, as well as problems with sentence structure and word choice.

Academic Integrity

SIUE will not tolerate inappropriate behavior, cheating, or plagiarism. Failure to follow these rules may result in a zero on a paper or test, a failing grade for a course, or even expulsion from the university. Students may refer to the SIUE handbook, “Student Conduct and Student Grievances: Rights and Responsibilities” if they have questions about the policy.

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