An Overview of DSP

A presentation for CSUSB advisors, SOAR staff,
Writing faculty, and anyone else who might be
Beginning with the incoming class of Fall 2012,
students will place themselves into their first year
writing courses by means of a directed self
placement process.
This replaces the use of the EPT to determine
what writing sequences students will enroll in.
Students will still take the EPT in accordance with
the current CSU requirement, but the test will no
longer determine placement in first year writing
Placement exams place assessment models at the
center of students’ educational experiences, by
judging literacy practices and competencies in
relation to a set of abstract criteria that students
are usually unaware of.
Self-placement models situate students at the
center of their educational experiences by asking
them to evaluate their literacy practices and
competencies in relation to a reading and writing
activity or some other reflective self-assessment
Research shows that high stakes timed writing
tests are not especially accurate measures of
student ability.
The EPT has become associated with the idea of
remediation. Students report that the
stigmatizing label “remedial” is damaging. They
lose confidence and motivation as a result.
Labeling students “remedial” makes no sense at
schools like CSUSB, which no longer offer
remedial courses.
Harvard says:
The Writing Test measures the
preparation in analytical writing that
students have received before enrolling
at Harvard. The test allows the Writing
Program faculty to determine the
appropriate beginning course for each
student: Expository Writing 20 (the
course required of all students) or
Expository Writing 10, designed for
students who will benefit from an
introductory course before Expos
20. For information about both
courses, please see the “About Expos”
and “Courses” pages on our website.
CSU says:
New California State University students
must show they are ready for college
English by meeting the English
Placement Test (EPT) requirement.
Warning: Failure to Meet the EPT
Requirement Costs Time and Money
You cannot enroll in for-credit CSU
college English classes until you meet
the requirement.
You must spend time taking remedial
English classes during your freshman
year until you meet the requirement.
You will graduate later because you get
no degree credit for remedial English
You may have to pay additional charges
for the remedial classes.
If you do not pass the remedial classes
by the end of your first year, you
may be disenrolled from the university.
The stretch program at CSUSB proceeds from 3
students who are admitted to CSUSB have
successfully met expectations for high school
writing; they are college-ready students.
the nature of college level writing and intellectual
work is different from that of high school.
students benefit from supported immersion into
the kinds of thinking, reading, and writing that
mark college level work.
Provides students with four paths by which to
become acquainted with these new literacy demands.
Each sequence, regardless of length, is designed as
one coherent course.
Students in the 2 and 3 quarter sequences stay
together as a cohort, along with their instructor.
The difference among the courses is the amount of
time students have to explore and practice their
newly emerging college literacies, and the amount of
scaffolded support they receive in this process.
One quarter long;
Our most aggressively paced first year writing option;
Intended for students who are confident, flexible
readers and writers, have familiarity with academic
conventions and habits of mind, and are self-directed
and self-motivated;
26 students per class;
Successful completion of 107 earns 4 credits and
satisfies the general education written
communication requirement (GE A.1).
Two quarter sequence;
Our accelerated option;
Intended for students who have some confidence as
academic readers and writers, but may want to develop
more familiarity with academic conventions and habits of
mind. Should appeal to students who like the idea of more
extended relationships with colleagues and some support
in managing extended intellectual projects;
23 students per class;
Successful completion of 105-106 earns 4 elective credits
and 4 GE writing credits (GE A.1).
Three quarter sequence
Our most moderately paced option
Intended for students who may feel somewhat nervous about
reading & writing in college and/or whose writing experiences
have primarily focused on more rigid forms for writing, like 5
paragraph format. Should appeal to those who like the idea of
more extended relationships with colleagues and those who
would appreciate more support and time for writing projects.
22 students per class
Successful completion of 102A-103A-104A will earn 8 credits: 4
elective units and 4 credits to satisfy GE writing (GE A.1).
(Enrollment in the102A-103A-104A sequence counts as 12 units
for financial aid purposes).
Three quarter sequence, similar in pacing and purpose to the “A”
Intended for multilingual students (those who speak another
language in addition to English, i.e. international students,
students who immigrated to the U.S. during elementary, middle,
or high school, and U.S.-born bilingual students);
“B” instructors have training and experience in working with
multilingual students;
22 students per class;
Successful completion of 102B-103B-104B will earn 8 credits: 4
elective units and 4 credits to satisfy GE writing (GE A.1).
(Enrollment in the102B-103B-104B sequence counts as 12 units
for financial aid purposes).
Campuses with Fully
Implemented Stretch Programs
San Francisco
San Bernardino
Channel Islands
*Chico has a longstanding mainstreaming program
where all students go directly into first-year
composition courses with supplemental support
for students with EPT scores below the cutoff for
First-Year Composition. Like campuses with
stretch programs, Chico offers no remedial English
Campuses with Approved Stretch
Programs in Pilot Phase
 Sacramento
 Los Angeles
 Stanislaus
 Long Beach
 Humboldt
Campuses with Stretch Program
Proposals in Development
 Pomona
 East Bay
 San Jose
 Bakersfield
Channel Islands
San Francisco
Humboldt (pilot DSP to begin in Fall 2013)
San Bernardino (DSP pilot to begin Fall 2012)
Stanislaus (implementing DSP in Fall 2012)
Sacramento (DSP Proposal in Committee)
Chico ((DSP pilot to begin Fall 2012)
Los Angeles (DSP pilot to begin Fall 2012,
may or may not be linked to Stretch)
95% of the 2 semester sequence students
passed FYC, as did 100% of the 1 semester
88% of the stretch students were satisfied
with their placement, as were 96% of the 1
semester students.
Those who chose the 2 semester sequence
had a 96% retention rate at the university.
Students' placements are consistent with their approach to
writing, with STRETCH students employing a Surface Writing
approach while STANDARD students more often employ a
Deep Writing approach
Students' placements are consistent with their levels of
writing self-efficacy and writing apprehension
Students' placements are consistent with their levels of egoresiliency (Confident optimism, productive and autonomous
activity, interpersonal insight, and skilled expressiveness)
What’s to stop
students from
simply choosing
the quickest
Channel Islands: Students regularly choose 2
semesters over 1, with 68 % enrolling in the
longer sequence and 32% selecting the shorter
Fresno: On average, 75% of the students select 2
semesters; 25% select the 1 semester option.
(Note: Due to budget cuts only 60% of the
students can actually get the longer sequence!)
Students should complete DSP before they go
to SOAR and register for classes.
Early Start students should complete DSP at
the end of their Early Start course—because
the course will prepare them to do DSP--but
still before SOAR. Thus, Early Start students
should complete their Early Start course
before SOAR.
Email to all first-year and lower-division
transfer students about DSP and doing DSP
before they come to SOAR.
Announcements about DSP on MyCoyote.
Reminder emails about what students should
bring with them to SOAR (including their DSP
print-out sheet with their chosen course).
ESE 99, Introduction to Academic Literacies, is designed to work
hand in hand with DSP, for those ES students who will
matriculate at CSUSB.
Students who place below 138 on the EPT are required to take ES
in the summer, before they register for SOAR.
The ESE 99 course involves students and trained instructors in
classrooms for 15 hours together, and engaged in a range of
self-reflective reading and writing activities and activities that
ask them to investigate the nature an expectations of writing in
ES culminates with CSUSB-bound students doing guided DSP
activities in class in a supportive environment.
ES thus prepares students to do DSP and should ensure that the
ES subset makes serious and well-considered choices about their
First-day of SOAR at 4 pm—time to go to
computer labs, do DSP and do DSP print-out
with their course choice.
Second day of SOAR—DSP overview included
in morning presentation.
Second day of SOAR—Faculty advisors in the
afternoon will have a one-page handout on
the four course options that they can give to
students who still have not decided.
Make it clear that all CSUSB FY writing classes are college level.
Avoid language that smacks of references to remediation or otherwise
suggests deficit models of literacy. (Words like skills, needs, and
improvement can be replaced with words like abilities, interests, and
growth , for instance.
Let students know that the EPT is not the most useful instrument for
placement purposes. Students can factor their EPT score into their
decision, if they wish (and the DSP website discusses one way of thinking
about this), but it should not replace their own assessment of their
experiences and interests as readers, writers, and learners.
Encourage students to do self-placement thoughtfully and to base their
selection on what will best support their best interests as a writer,
reader, and learner.
For those just out of high school, encourage them to see their selfplacement as an act of self-efficacy -- one of the many, many times in
college they will be called upon to act self-responsibly as an adult.
Ask why the student is uncertain. Is the uncertainty about him- or herself as a writer?
OR about institutional concerns (the lack of units for 102; a perception that a longer
sequence = remedial; a misguided belief that taking 107 and retaking it if necessary
would be an equivalent experience to stretch composition)?
Address institutional concerns with data about success rates, information about
financial aid, and information about the stretch program. Offer reasons why the
student’s learning and literacy interests should trump all other concerns in the decision
Address other uncertainties by asking questions about the student’s writing, reading,
and learning experiences. Have the student describe these aloud. Use the DSP website
and the advising handouts to help you frame questions and discuss course sequence
Look together at course sequences and discuss the features in relation to the student’s
self-perceptions. Ask the student what seems most useful and supportive to his or her
learning styles and growth as a writer, reader, and analytic thinker.
If a student asks what option to take, avoid overtly telling him/her what to do. Ask what
advice the student would give you if roles were reversed. Or, talk the student through
the way you would REASON about the choice, rather than saying, “Do this.”
Ultimately, leave the decision in the student’s hands. The student has the right to make
his or her own choice, even if it is not the one you hope the student will make.
If you feel you MUST say something about the choice, suggest to the student that s/he
sign up for the course in Fall, so that s/he will have more time to try a different
sequence if the first choice isn’t a good fit, after all.

similar documents