New Gordon Rule counts assignments, not words

Home Archived News New Gordon Rule counts assignments, not words

Published: August 23, 2006

Students who are enrolled in the Associate in Arts program will see a number of changes this semester. One of these changes concerns the Gordon Rule requirement for writing-emphasis courses.

In past semesters, students have been required to write a specific number of words in writing-emphasis (Gordon Rule) classes. As of fall 2006, courses designated as writing-emphasis will require a significant writing component, designated by assignments rather than by word count.

“The Gordon Rule writing requirement has changed to require students to have at least 12 credits of courses designated as writing-emphasis courses,” Martha Caughey, PJC admission/registration coordinator, said. “At Pensacola Junior College, we will continue to consider all courses currently designated as writing emphasis as eligible for the 12 credit requirement. Students in A.A. programs will complete ENC1101, ENC1102, and a general education literature course of their choice. Those three classes will comprise nine of the required credits, and a student will then be required to enroll in at least one additional writing emphasis course.”

Students will choose the additional course from their general education requirements (humanities, history, behavioral science, social science, etc.).

PJC’s redefinition of writing-emphasis course requirements reflects changes mandated at the state level by the Florida Board of Education and the Florida Board of Governors on Nov. 7, 2005. Instead of a word count requirement, the state Board of Education has ruled that “the student is required to demonstrate college-level English skills through multiple assignments.”

“It’s good news that we no longer have to count words to meet a state requirement,” said Thom Botsford, head of the English and Communications Department. “The quantity of words says absolutely nothing about the quality of writing.”

At the same time, Botsford “is a little concerned about the vagueness of the new guidelines. The state still mandates 12 credit hours of coursework in which students are required to ‘demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments.’ It is up to each college to interpret “college-level’ and “‘multiple.’

“The English and Communications Department hopes that students will write abundantly in these courses under professional guidance-whether the teachers hold master’s degrees in English or not.”

PJC is strongly supportive of the “writing across the curriculum” concept. Students will find that many of the general education courses include writing.

According to Caughey, “The change is simply the legislature’s way of relieving the quantitative measurement of the writing, not the qualitative measurement. Just because the state is lessening the number of writing courses required does not mean that the College is lessening the writing in our courses.”

Leave a Reply