English 1300 promotes the development of basic expository writing skills for students who have not met the prerequisite requirements for Freshman Composition. Utilizing a variation of the "peer tutor" model, each section of the class is broken down into groups of five to eight students who are taught by undergraduate writing consultants in alternating weekly individual and group meetings. Through an intensive drafting process, students write and revise two major papers over the course of the semester. These papers, along with in-class writing assignments and drafts, comprise the students’ final portfolios. A committee of English Department Teaching Assistants and faculty assess these portfolios at the conclusion of the semester and assign each student a grade of either "S" (satisfactory) or "U" (unsatisfactory).
Our English 1300 students reflect the diversity of the University of Houston – nearly half are multilingual, and others are native English speakers who for one reason or another need more time to work on their writing skills. This course is designed to respond to the various needs of these students and provide them with a solid foundation in academic writing and the writing process, which will enable them to succeed in their future writing courses. Our research shows that, on average, students who take English 1300 perform as well in the first semester Freshman Composition course as those who were not required to take developmental English. In addition, student satisfaction and confidence are consistently high, as measured by various institutional research surveys. Upon completion of English 1300, students feel that their writing has improved, and they believe that the small class size together with the personal attention from their Writing Consultant has helped them become better writers.