English 101 Home Page

Baseline Writing Assessment

(you have 50 minutes to complete the following)

Step 1

Choose any one of the Mercury Reader essays below to provide the subject for your examination essay, and read that essay carefully.

"If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What is?" James Baldwin (page 84)


"Today' s Kids Are, Like, Killing the English Language. Yeah, Right." Kirk Johnson (page 90)


"Spanglish" Janice Castro and Dan Cook (page 119)

Step 2

Write a Summary of the reading passage you chose (maximum of 100 words, entitled " Summary" ).

Step 3

Write an Essay that opposes, defends, or modifies the argument contained in the reading passage you chose (maximum of 600 words, entitled " ssay" ).

Explain in your essay why you agree or disagree or why you wish to modify the author' s position.

Arrange your ideas so that they will make sense to a reader.

Use your reading, your observations of others, and/or your personal experiences to elaborate or to defend your ideas.

Correct your grammar, punctuation, word choice, and spelling. If you are unsure how or whether to correct a possible error, enter

  • G above possible errors in grammar
  • P above possible errors in punctuation
  • W above possible errors in choice or arrangement of words
  • S above possible errors in spelling.

Step 4

Write a Plan for a second draft of your essay (maximum of 300 words, entitled "2nd Draft Plan" ).

Supply two good questions you would ask a reader to answer to help you improve the next draft of your essay.

Describe ways you would plan to expand, rearrange, or shorten your essay.

Rewrite two sentences from your essay to demonstrate how you might improve your essay's clarity or emphasis.

Step 5

Save Your Work in the BWA folder. Name this file with the letters BWA, your initials, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.  (Thus, my BWA file would be named: BWALAO4255.) Save another copy to your Student folder. Name this version simply "BWA"