About Independent Plus Language Courses
Independent Plus courses combine independent study with small group conversation sessions and one-on-one peertutoring. Independent Plus courses emphasize speaking, listening, and basic literacy in the language; reading and writing practice reinforces developing oral skills. Students are required to complete a standard syllabus during the semester and demonstrate competencies through regular attendance and participation in conversation and peer-tutoring sessions, a homework portfolio, and a final oral evaluation with an external evaluator conducted at the end of the course.
1. Successful mastery of the material assigned on the syllabus and accompanying study guides. The study guides provide instructions for speaking, listening, reading and writing practice, including preparation for conversation sessions and instructions for work to be submitted to the student’s homework portfolio. Students are reminded that the final comprehensive oral evaluation will cover all material assigned for the course regardless of whether it was used or discussed in conversation or peer-tutoring sessions.
2. Time commitment: Half-courses: Minimum of one hour per day of independent study.
3. Small Group Conversation Sessions. Weekly conversation sessions are led by native speaking conversation partners. Most conversation partners are Five College international students. Conversation sessions provide practice in both speaking and listening comprehension. Sessions emphasize activities that require language use similar to what students may encounter using the language in the real world. The sessions also constitute the primary practice for the oral evaluation at the end of the course. Attendance is required and a student’s attendance record affects the final grade for the course. Half-course conversation sessions: 1 hour per week.
4. Meetings with a Peer-Tutor. Weekly one-on-one meetings with the peer-tutor assigned to the course. The peer-tutor will help students with pronunciation practice, help students identify and self-correct errors in speech and written homework, and facilitate activities such as dictation and reading aloud. The peer-tutor will also help students understand and use idiomatic language or culturally complex expressions. Peer-tutors do not provide answers to homework assignments and do not correct or edit homework. Half-course peer-tutoring sessions: 30 minutes per week.
5. Weekly homework assignments submitted to the FCCSWL office for inclusion in the student’s homework portfolio. Students should bring finished homework to meetings with peer-tutors for discussion. Students should self-correct homework and then either hand it in directly at the FCCSWL office, scan it and email it, or send it via Five College Mail. Homework is due at the end of each week and must be received by the FCCSWL office no later than noon on the following Monday. Late assignments received within one week of the due date will only receive half credit; assignments turned in more than a week late will receive only one-quarter credit.
6. Weekly self-assessment reports submitted on time. Self-assessments are due at the end of each week and are recorded as “on time” as long as they are received by noon on the following Monday. Late self-assessments receive only partial credit. Self-assessments help students to evaluate their own progress in learning the language, their overall development of language learning strategies, and also alert the program staff to any problems with preparation or logistical details of the course.
7. Final comprehensive oral evaluation covering listening and reading comprehension, conversational fluency, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and cultural knowledge.
Assignment Due Dates:
Written homework is due at the end of every week except for designated introduction and review weeks. Assignments will be considered late if they are not submitted by noon on the following Monday. Assignments must be turned in to receive full credit. Late assignments turned in within a week of the due date will receive half credit. No credit will be given for assignments more than a week late.
Homework Submission Instructions:
Submit homework listed under “Homework for Tutorial” on the weekly study guide. Submit written homework with your own self-corrections and notes directly to the FCCSWL office either by 1) bringing it to your course organizer in the FCCSWL office; 2) emailing a scanned copy; or 3) sending it via Five College Mail with pre-addressed envelopes provided by your course organizer. Please let your course organizer know at the beginning of the semester how you will submit the homework. We recommend submitting photocopies of your homework, so you can keep your originals for study reference.
10% attendance, preparation, and participation in all conversation sessions and meetings with the peer-tutor – regular attendance is required in order to pass the course 1
10% on-time submission of self-assessment reports due at the end of each week
10% on-time submission and completeness of the written homework portfolio
70% final comprehensive oral evaluation covering listening and reading comprehension, conversational fluency, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation The final comprehensive oral evaluation must be passed in order to pass the course. Final grades are submitted by the program director based on final evaluation grades, the student’s overall course participation record, and the on-time submission and completion of the homework portfolio.
Grading scale: A (94-100); A- (90-93); B+ (87-89); B (84-86); B- (80-83); C+ (77-79); C (74-76); C- (70-73); D+ (67-69); D (64-66); D- (60-63); F (59 or lower). Final oral evaluation must be completed in order to pass the course.
Drop and Course Repetition Policies
Drop policies differ by home campus. The drop policy for your campus is stated on the course contract you signed at registration. A student who receives a grade below a B- for the course or who has repeated absences from conversation sessions will not be allowed to enroll in future FCSILP courses. FCSILP courses cannot be repeated to replace a failing grade or to improve a grade.