Click here for a guide to placing yourself in the First-Year Composition (FYC) course that is best for you: Directed Self-Placement Brochure (pdf)
We believe that, with good guidance from us, you are the best person to choose which first-year composition course is best for you. You know what your background and experiences with reading and writing have been. You also know how motivated and confident you are, what your goals are and what support systems you have in place to help you meet those goals. You now have the opportunity to make an important decision about which composition class is best for you (that is the “self-placement” part of DSP). Our job is to provide you with some additional guidance to help you make the best choice possible (that is the “directed” part of DSP). You have three options to choose from:
- The Semester-Long Program: English 114
- The Year-Long Stretch Program: English 104/105
- The Composition for Multilingual Students Program
1. DSP and the English 114 Choice
English 114 is a 3-credit, single semester version of FYC. Once students successfully complete ENG 114, they have completed SFSU’s First-Year Written Composition requirement and have earned 3 credits toward the 120 needed for graduation. Because students complete English 114 in a single semester, the pace is quicker than in the English 104/105 stretch course. The class size in English 114 is also slightly larger (20 students compared to 18 in the stretch course).
Why Choose English 114?
There are at least three benefits to choosing English 114 compared to English 104/105:
- English 114 is a good choice if you feel confident about your reading and writing ability and don’t feel the extra time offered by the year-long stretch course is necessary or beneficial.
- In our experience teaching these courses, we find that some students actually need a faster pace to feel challenged and motivated. Even so, if you find you need some additional help, you still have access to the same wide variety of tutoring and other support services as students who enroll in the stretch course.
- Students earn 3 credits toward the 120 needed for graduation and can advance to the next level composition course (English 214) the following semester, thereby completing both the First and Second Year composition requirements in a single year.
2. DSP and the English 104/105 “Stretch” Choice
English 104/105 is SFSU’s year-long version of First-Year Composition. We call it the “stretch” program because we stretch course expectations and learning goals over a full year rather than a single semester. Students who complete the stretch course earn 6 units of credit (3 units each semester), all of which count toward the 120 units needed to graduate. Once students successfully complete English 104/105, they have met the University’s First-Year Composition requirement.
Students who choose this year-long “stretch” option enroll in English 104 in fall and English 105 in spring during their first year at SFSU. Since English 104/105 is a year-long course, students will have the same instructor and group of classmates in the spring semester as they had in the fall semester. The class will also meet at the same day and time during both semesters. This will help when it comes time to plan the rest of their class schedule.
Why Choose Stretch?
There are at least three benefits to taking English 104/105 compared to English 114:
- The stretch program allows more time (a full academic year) to meet the learning goals of the course. Because of this extra time, there are more opportunities to practice, to receive and offer feedback, to revise and re-read, before turning in assignments and compiling the final portfolio.
- English 104/105 has a smaller class size (enrollment is limited to 18 students per class). This allows students to receive more personal attention, guidance and assistance from their instructor.
- Students choosing the stretch option earn 6 credits toward the 120 needed for graduation.
3. DSP and the Composition for Multilingual Students (CMS) Choice
The Composition for Multilingual Students program (CMS) is designed for students who are non-native speakers of English. Our CMS program is designed specifically to meet the learning needs of multilingual students, including speech and grammar instruction that is not available in either our stretch course, English 104/105 or in English 114.
Students who choose the CMS option will be enrolled in the appropriate Level 1 CMS courses at their new student orientation session. For more information about CMS courses, please go to http://cmls.sfsu.edu/course-descriptions or email the CMS Coordinator, Lisa Heyer at email@example.com
Why Choose CMS?
Even if you did not take “ESL” classes in high school and you speak English fluently, if English is not your first or primary language, our CMS program may be the most appropriate choice for you for at least 4 reasons:
- CMS courses help you develop an English language base needed to do well at the university
- CMS courses provide focused attention to smaller units of language including word forms, sentences and paragraphs
- You can complete SFSU’s First-Year Composition requirement in your first year
- Completing your writing requirements in the CMS program will not delay your graduation in any way since all the credits earned in CMS courses count toward the total needed for graduation
San Francisco State University has designed an online application for placing students in first-year composition classes. This application is called Directed Self-Placement (DSP). If your EPT score is 138-146, you are required to use this application to help you decide which of our three FYC options is best for you.
Note: For students with EPT scores LOWER THAN 138, you will complete DSP as part of your Early Start English class. For more information about SFSU’s Early Start Program, please go to http://www.sfsu.edu/~advising/esp/home.html
To help you make the best choice possible, you should complete the following steps before you access the DSP online application:
Step 1: Look carefully at the DSP Comparison Chart below, and consider which option best matches your reading and writing abilities
Step 2: Review the descriptions of the three options to confirm your ideas about which class will provide the instruction that best fits your current abilities
Step 3: Go to the DSP online application at https://dsp.sfsu.edu/
|Option 1: The Semester-Long Program||Option 2: The Stretch Program||Option 3: The Composition for Multilingual Students Program|
I think of myself as a strong reader and writer
I think of myself as an average reader and writer
I spoke another language besides English when growing up,
a language other than English is used in my home. I am fluent in spoken English, but it takes me a long time to read and write in English
|I am ready to work at a quick pace, with the instructor as my guide.||I would prefer to get more practice and help from my instructor as I learn to read and write for college.||I would like to complete my first-year composition requirement by taking an appropriate year-long series of courses in the Composition for Multilingual Students program.|
Stretch English 104/105
You access the online DSP application at https://dsp.sfsu.edu/ You can complete DSP from your home or at any other convenient location that has internet access. You can also come to SFSU to the English Tutoring Center and staff will be there to assist you. Once you access the DSP site, you will see this page where you log in with your SFSU student identification number to begin the DSP process. DSP takes about 3 ½ to 4 hours to complete. You need not complete all the steps at once; you can stop at any point and return later until you complete the process and make your decision about which FYC option is best for you.
After you start the DSP application by logging in with your SFSU ID number, you will complete these five steps:
Step 1: Annotate a reading. In this step, you’ll read some tips about how to use annotation to help you understand a short reading. You’ll then read and annotate a short selection. This step should take no longer than 1 ½ hours to complete.
Step 2: Plan Your Essay in Response to Reading. This activity is designed to prepare you to write an essay in response to the article you just read and annotated in Step 1.In this step, you’ll read some tips about how to read an essay assignment carefully, and how to plan an essay based on the reading. This step should take no longer than 40 minutes to complete.
Step 3: Response to a Reading. In this step you will write and upload an essay in response to the reading you did in Step 1. This step should take no longer than 2 ½ hours to complete.
Step 4: Self-Placement Inventory. In this step, you’ll be asked to complete a short survey asking you questions about the reading and writing you completed in Steps 1-3. The inventory takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Step 5: Self-Placement Decision. Once you submit your inventory, DSP will take you to the Self-Placement Decision page where, based on your responses to the inventory questions, a recommendation will appear about which FYC option is best for you. You will then be asked to take into consideration your understanding of the difference in the three FYC options, your experience reading the article and writing the essay you just uploaded, how you answered the inventory questions, your past experiences in high school, and any other relevant information to make your final decision about which FYC option is best for you. The final page of DSP looks like this:
As you can see, once you’ve considered all the relevant information, you will be asked to make your final choice and select the course you will place yourself into when you attend New Student Orientation. Please be sure to print this final page and bring it with you to your orientation session.
We understand that 3 ½ to 4 hours is a lot of time and you might be wondering why we are asking you to invest so much time in deciding what course FYC course to take. Our experience shows us that when students take the time to think about what course is best for them, they are likely to do better in that course. We want you to succeed at SFSU, and we think the best way to help you succeed is by giving you the time it takes to make this important decision. The time you invest now in picking the right course for you, and then succeeding in that course, is the best possible use of your time.
Registering for FYC Courses During New Student Orientation
During the summer before the Fall 2013 semester begins, incoming students will select a date to attend one of our new student orientation sessions. In addition to lots of helpful information and a chance to visit the campus, a real benefit of attending orientation is that you get to enroll in your FYC course in person during the orientation session. For this reason, it’s imperative that you complete DSP before you attend orientation.
You must complete DSP no later than the day before the orientation you choose to attend. In order for you to choose the right English course at orientation, you must complete DSP first. If you would like to complete DSP on campus, you may come to the English Tutoring Center the day before orientation, finish DSP, then attend orientation the next day. When you complete DSP, please print out the final page that shows what FYC program you chose, and bring the decision form to your orientation session. When you show that printed decision form at orientation, the orientation staff will help you register you in your chosen course.
Students who have not completed DSP will not be allowed to add any classes at orientation.
If you have any questions about new student orientation, please contact the Orientation Office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is required to DSP?
If your EPT score is 146-138, you must do the DSP before you can enroll in classes at orientation.
*If your EPT score in 137 or lower, you will DSP as part of your Early Start English class.
How is DSP administered?
DSP is an online application. All students log in, and at the conclusion of DSP, select the English course they will take for Fall 2013.
How long does it take to complete DSP?
DSP can be done in one sitting, or over the course of several days. Plan for 3-4 hours minimum to complete.
What is the cost of DSP?
DSP is free of charge.
Can I take the DSP at SFSU?
Yes. The English Tutoring Center has a lab and will be open Mon-Fri. At the lab, students can complete the requirement, and staff will be there to assist students.
How are Orientation and DSP related?
Students must complete DSP no later than the day before an orientation. In order for students to choose the right English course at orientation, they must complete DSP first. Students may come to the English Tutoring Center the day before orientation, finish DS, then attend orientation the next day. Students who have not completed DSP will not be allowed to add any classes at orientation.
Once I’ve completed DSP, can I change my mind?
No. Because such changes would present enormous challenges for students and the university alike, it will not be possible once the semester begins for you to change your DSP choice. For this reason, it is best for you weigh your options carefully before you complete the DSP.