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Transitional English Course for High School Students

Transitional English instruction builds on students’ experiential and academic knowledge to develop skills in reading, critical thinking, and analysis that will enhance their success in college-level courses across majors and career pathways while aligning with Illinois Learning Standards.

Transitional English is a year-long course offered to students during their senior year of high school, with the goal of providing students the requisite skills for “day one” success in college-level courses. Courses are taught by high school teachers who receive preparation and professional development from Illinois Central College.

Transitional English courses cover content competencies in the areas of Reading, Critical Thinking and Analysis, and Writing. Each course builds upon a theme and is organized in six integrated sequences:

  • Sequence 1: Diagnostic and Writing Basics
  • Sequence 2: Reading Competencies
  • Sequence 3: Narrative Essay
  • Sequence 4: Expository Essay
  • Sequence 5: Persuasion with Research Essay
  • Sequence 6: Reflection Essay and Final Portfolio

Transitional English courses are not for college credit. Rather, students who successfully complete Transitional English with a 70% or higher will receive guaranteed placement in courses requiring an Accuplacer reading score (or equivalent) at Illinois Central College and all other Illinois community colleges.

Partnership High Schools

Illinois Central College currently partners with Peoria High School, Fieldcrest High School, Washington Community High School, Illini Central High School, Roanoke-Benson High School, and Limestone Community High School to offer Transitional English to their seniors.

Partnership Deadline

The deadline for signed Partnership Agreements between Illinois Central College and the high school is February 1 for the following academic year.

More Information

For more information about the course or partner with Illinois Central College to offer the course at your high school, contact Melissa Grunow, associate professor of English and Transitional English Course Coordinator, at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transitional English?

The State of Illinois Board of Education defines Transitional English as follows:

Transitional English instruction builds on students’ experiential and academic knowledge to develop skills in reading, critical thinking and analysis, and writing that will enhance their success in college-level courses across majors and career pathways while aligning with the Illinois Learning Standards.

What are the course competencies?

For complete course competencies information, view the Statewide Transitional English Course Parameters and Competencies document.

What is the purpose of Transitional English?

To increase the number of high school graduates placing into college-level English.

Who is eligible for the Transitional English course?

Transitional English is designed for students who are projected to not be ready for college-level English at the end of their junior year. To be eligible, the student must have completed three prior English course credits.

When do students take the course?

High school students can take the course during their senior year to fulfill the fourth-year Language Arts course and meet the State and local high school graduation requirements for English.

Is this class offered during one semester or a full school year?

The course is offered for a full year. One-semester courses are not available through ICC partnerships at this time.

Do students get college credit for taking this course?

No. The course is considered a college-preparation course. According to Illinois law: Students successfully completing a Transitional English course with a grade of C (70%) or better are guaranteed placement into:

  1. The colleges accepting courses that have been identified under the Illinois Articulation Initiative as
    1. C1900 Writing Course Sequence
    2. C1900R Writing Course Sequence
    3. C2900 Oral Communication
  2. ii. Any other courses with a reading placement requirement or reading placement into the courses listed above.

What is the benefit of taking this course?

Students who successfully complete the course with a “C” or better avoid Accuplacer testing because completion of the course makes them eligible to enroll in transfer-level and dual credit courses that require a minimum reading score.

How long is the course valid for placement into college-level English?

Placement is guaranteed up to three years after the date of the student’s high school graduation date.

What kind of support does Illinois Central College provide to participating schools?

ICC provides professional development for high school teachers who will teach the course. This training includes a comprehensive Teacher’s Guide that contains curriculum content and assessment procedures. Finally, teachers receive ongoing support via email as needed to assist with course facilitation and assessment.

Assessment? What do you mean assessment?

ICC has developed a comprehensive assessment plan that includes evaluation of outcomes portfolios as well as other qualitative and quantitative data collected throughout the year of the course.

What if the assessment results are not good? Will the students be penalized? Will we still be able to offer the course?

Assessment results will be carefully evaluated and the report will be shared and discussed with all stakeholders. Students who complete the course with a C or better will still be eligible for college courses identified under the Illinois Articulation agreement. The course will continue to be offered, but the curriculum may be revised and teachers will receive additional coaching if assessment results do not suggest reading and writing college readiness among students who completed the course.

Who can teach this course?

Any teacher who is credentialed to teach high school English is qualified to teach this course. All Transitional English teachers are required to participate in curriculum training and professional development provided by ICC, which takes place on the first Monday in June every year.

What if my teacher cannot attend the training? Can he/she just get the materials from someone else? Could I send another teacher from my school in his/her place?

No. Only teachers who have completed the training in-person can teach the course. The materials provided during the training and in the Teacher’s Guide are intellectual property and cannot be shared with schools or individuals not participating in the program.

I want to offer the course to students at my school. What should I do?

Contact Melissa Grunow, associate professor of English and Transitional English Course Coordinator, at [email protected]. Signed Partnership Agreements are due February 1 for the following academic year.