Steps Program (English 071, 072, 073, 074)
Here are the answers to some of the questions people ask about the English Department’s STEPS program. If you have questions that are not answered here, please call the Arts & Humanities Division at 425-564-2341 and ask for the English Department Chair.
- What is the STEPS Program?
STEPS is an intensive 11-12 credit reading and writing course that prepares both native and non-native speakers to do well in college level courses. It includes 10 hours per week of class time and at least two hours per week of work in the Reading Lab (ENGL 080). If you complete 22 hours of work in the Reading Lab by the end of the quarter, you will receive one credit of 080. If you complete 44 hours by the end of the quarter, you will receive two credits.
- Do I have to start with English 071?
No. You may start the STEPS program in any quarter. You don’t have to follow the numbers in order. If you begin in the spring with 074 and need to take STEPS another quarter, you’ll take 071 (summer) or 072 (fall) next. The numbers do not represent a sequence. They just show which quarter it is.
- I have a friend who also placed in STEPS. I read and write much better than my friend does. How can we both be in the same class?
You won’t be in the same class. STEPS is designed to give each student the kind and level of work that he or she needs in order to improve. Every STEPS class has two or three instructors, each using a different book and study materials. During the first two days of the quarter, you’ll write an essay in class and take a reading diagnostic test (different from the placement test). The instructors will use the essays and the reading diagnostics to divide the class into groups of students with similar needs. Each instructor will teach reading and writing to one group. If your friend really does have different needs from yours, you probably won’t end up with the same instructor.
- How will the class work? Will reading and writing be taught separately?
Reading and writing are taught together. You will read articles, stories, and perhaps even a novel. You and your classmates will discuss what you’ve read, and you’ll write about it.
- How will the class be graded?
STEPS is graded Credit/No Credit. To pass the course, you must complete all of the required work, receive a satisfactory evaluation on all of the required work, and attend 80% or more of the classes (no more than 10 absences). English 080 (Reading Lab) is also graded Credit/No Credit . To pass the Lab, you must complete at least 20 hours of work by the end of the quarter.
- If the class is graded Credit/No Credit, how will I know whether I’m improving?
Some instructors may grade your individual assignments just as usual. Others may use written or tape recorded comments to let you know how you’re doing. You’ll take a new reading test at the end of the quarter, so you’ll know if your reading level has improved.
- How will I be able to move from STEPS up to the next level – English 092 or 093?
At the end of the quarter, you’ll write another essay in class and take another diagnostic reading test. Your instructor will meet with the other instructors from your STEPS class to read all of the essays and evaluate all of the new reading diagnostics. If they decide you are ready for English 092 or 093, you will move up.
To move up, you must score at 9 or 10 or above on key parts of the reading test and write an essay that has a clear main idea and adequate supporting detail. The vocabulary and sentence structure must be appropriate, and it must be relatively free of lower level grammatical errors.
- What if I don’t receive placement in 092 or 093 at the end of the quarter? Will I fail STEPS?
No. If you’ve completed the requirements for passing, you’ll pass STEPS. If your reading and writing skills are low when you begin STEPS, it may take you more than one quarter to raise them to the 092 or 093 level. Language learning requires practice, practice, and more practice. If your scores on the tests at the beginning of the quarter are below 7.5, ten weeks may not be enough time for you to raise them above 10 (ten).
- I don’t want to take 11 credits of reading and writing in one quarter. Can I register for just five or six credits?
No. But there is one exception. If work or family responsibilities prevent you from taking more than six credits total in a single quarter, we will make arrangements for you to spread one quarter of STEPS over two quarters. You must take Reading Lab (ENGL 080) both quarters. Under this arrangement, you will not receive credit for any part of STEPS until you have completed the entire 11-12 credits. Students who take this option generally take at least 3 quarters to move up.