University Literacy Policy

Reference Number: S87-014
Senate Approval Date: Thursday, January 01, 1987


Academic Senate Policy S87-14

At its meeting of October 30, l984, the Academic Senate approved revisions to S77-l4, University Literacy Policy approved in l977. At its meeting of May 19, 1987, the Academic Senate approved a change in the membership of the Literacy Policy F84-14 on p.3, section d.1.


a. English 114, a course devoted exclusively to composition, is required either semester of the first year of all entering freshmen except those who have passed the CSUC English Equivalency Examination or the Advanced Placement Examination. Students who demonstrate the required levels of writing ability on diagnostic tests during the first two weeks of instruction are exempted. Grading will be on either an ABC/No Credit or Credit/No Credit basis, at the student's option.

b. English 214, a course in logic, style, rhetoric and literature (or its equivalent), is required sometime during the second year of all sophomores except those who have passed the CSUC English Equivalency Examination or the Advanced Placement Examination. "Its equivalent" means a course numbered 214 but with a departmental prefix other than English--e.g. Humanities, La Raza, Music 214. Students who believe they have already met this requirement should see the Director of the Composition Program.

c. Remedial Instruction. Students who score at or below 150 on the English Placement Test will be required to take English 50: Writing Skills Workshop or an equivalent course elsewhere. Units and grades earned in this course will not count towards meeting graduation requirements. Successful completion of English 50 by those students needing it is a prerequisite for enrollment in English 114.


All undergraduate students must demonstrate upper division written English competency as prescribed by University policy. To meet this requirement, students are required to take the Junior English Proficiency Essay Test (JEPET) after completing 48 semester units and before completing 80 semester units. To be eligible to take this JEPET students are required to have passed English 114 and 214 or their equivalents. Those who pass the JEPET examination will have satisfactorily met the upper division written English units. Those who do not pass JEPET must enroll in English 4l4 before completing 90 semester units. All undergraduate degree objective students on this campus must complete JEPET (Pass or Fail) before enrolling in English 414. The passing of English 414 satisfies the upper division written English requirement for those who did not pass JEPET.


Students who transfer to this University with 80 or more semester units completed should take the JEPET examination during their first semester of enrollment at San Francisco State. Students who have taken an upper division expository writing course at another institution or passed a test similar to JEPET may apply for a waiver of the JEPET/English 414 requirement.

Students who do not complete this requirement in accordance with the above stipulated provisions may not be able to graduate in the term planned. All problems or questions regarding this requirement should be addressed to the Reading and Composition Office.

3. ENGLISH 414

English 414 is graded on either ABC/No Credit or Credit/No Credit basis, at the student's option.


The development and administration of an effective literacy program is recognized as a responsibility shared by all faculty members in the University. Evaluation of student performance in all majors will include written work completed in the classroom. The instructor is responsible for making judgments about the student's writing ability and is to refer those with writing problems to the Student Learning Center or the Robert Tyler Reading and Writing Center.


a. Purpose

The All-University Literacy Committee exists for the purpose of encouraging broad and effective participation by all segments of the campus community in the development of programs which will address all aspects of the literacy problem.

b. Responsibility

Charges to the Committee will be developed sequentially, beginning with the writing skills program and later expanded to include reading and other aspects of literacy. Subsequent charges may be formulated by the Committee itself or by the Academic Policies Committee. In either case, the APC will have the ultimate responsibility for recommending action on such charges. The Committee is given the following responsibilities:

l. To develop and recommend criteria for the approval of alternatives to English 214 (See attached criteria)

2. To review and make recommendations on proposals for approved alter- natives developed by the Schools in accordance with the approved criteria.

3. To recommend procedures and standards for monitoring and evaluating each aspect of the writing skills program: English 50, English l14, English 214, the alternatives to English 214, the Junior English Proficiency Essay Test (JEPET), and English 414.

4. To submit an annual report to the Academic Senate on the writing skills program by the end of Spring semester.

c. Authority

The Literacy Committee makes policy recommendations (such as item b.l, above) to the Academic Policies Committee of the Academic Senate. It will make administrative recommendations (such as items b.2 and b.3) to the Provost.

d. Composition

l. The Committee consists of eight members as follows:

- three faculty members from the Department of English, elected by the department according to its established procedures for committee membership;

- three faculty members from areas other than the Department of English, elected at-large, at least one of whom is tenured and has experience teaching composition;

- one student selected by the Associated Students; and

- one member of the Academic Affairs staff appointed by the Provost.

2. Members of the Committee will be selected with due attention to their qualifications to discharge the professional responsibilities of the Committee, including the important responsibility of evaluating the effectiveness of the Program. Candidates for election to the Committee will be expected to submit position papers describing their qualifications and their commitment to literacy.

e. Terms of Service and Selection of Chair

l. The six elected faculty members will serve for a three-year term, except that those initially selected will draw lots so that one will serve for three years, three will serve for two years and two will serve for one year. A member may stand for reelection or reappointment for one successive term only.

2. The Committee will elect one of its members as Chair for a one-year term. The Chair will be granted assigned time consistent with the workload of the Committee.


I. Basic Requirement for Offering Alternates to English 214

A. Submission of Proposal

l. Content of Proposal

Any department wishing to offer an alternate to English 214 should submit a proposal, on the Standard University New Course Proposal form, to the University Literacy Committee, that body authorized to approve 214 alternates. In addition to supplying information requested on that form, the department should include a complete course outline, detailing course objectives, content, methods, and materials.

2. Submission deadlines

For offering of a course during the following fall semester, departments should submit proposals by November l; for offering of a course during the following spring semester, proposals should be submitted by April l.

B. Certification of Instructor

The department should note that it must provide an instructor certified by the University Literacy Committee to teach an approved 214 alternate.

II. Course Proposal Guidelines

A proposal must adhere to the following guidelines in order for the committee to consider it.

A. Course Objectives

As stated in the committee's Annual Report for l977-78, itself quoting from the English Composition Committee's description of English 214,

English 214 and approved 214 alternates are fundamentally writing courses. Subject areas, such as 'literature' in English 214 (or 'music' in Music 214), serve primarily as a vehicle for thinking and composition skills rather than literature (or music) study per se.

Thus, every proposed 214 alternate should focus primarily upon composition, the design of the course(s) reflecting this emphasis.

B. Course Requirements

In keeping with the specifications set forth in the Annual Report (Section l.b.), proposed 214 alternates should stipulate (at least) "six out-of-class essays and a total of 5,000 to 6,000 words from each student" - exclusive of in-class writing. At least one of these papers should be "major", i.e., should contain a minimum of l,000 words.

C. Grading

l. Quality of performance in writing should be the prime criterion in grading students. Apparent grasp of the subject area is not the prime criterion.

2. Consistent with the grading system in other composition courses, 214 alternates will follow the ABC/No Credit/Inc (or Credit/No Credit) grading system.

D. Course Title and Listing

All 214 alternates will be uniformly numbered and titled; e.g., "Music 214, Second Year Written Composition." All 214 alternates will be uniformly listed in the Class Schedule in two places:

l. under the appropriate departmental heading;

2. with all sections of English 214.

E. Prerequisites

l. Students must have taken and passed English ll4 at San Francisco State University, or the equivalents elsewhere, prior to enrolling in a 214 alternate.

2. Students must have completed at least 24 units prior to enrolling in a 214 alternate, but should have completed no more than 59.

F. Course Enrollment

In conformity with California State University and Colleges system normal enrollment limits for composition classes, course enrollment should be limited to 25 students.

III. Instructor Certification Guidelines

A. Preliminary Certification

1. Candidates for certification must have approval to seek certification provided in writing to the Chair of the University Literacy Committee by the Chair of an academic department or program.

2. Candidates for certification will be given copies of the policies and procedures for certification at the beginning of the process. In order to qualify for preliminary certification, candidates must complete one of the following:

a.l. Candidates must successfully complete English 657 and English 7161

(Each course instructor should certify in writing to the Literacy Committee the qualifications of the faculty member to teach the course), or

b.2. Candidates must successfully pass a challenge examination to be offered by the English Department and authorized by the University Literacy Committee.

B. Final Certification

The University Literacy Committee shall share its procedures for certification with the department Personnel Committee.

The University Literacy Committee will evaluate** the instructor's implementation of the approved course during the first semester in which that instructor teaches the course. The Literacy Committee may either grant final certification to teach a 214 alternate, or it may withhold final certification pending re-evaluation during a second semester. If the instructor does not receive final certification, she/he may not teach a course as a 2l4 alternate without special permission of the Literacy Committee.

**Current criteria for evaluation will be available from the University Literacy Committee.


1Enrollment may be limited by the English Department due to resource constraints.