2020-2021                                                                   AP Language and Composition Syllabus

    Ms. Wright-Alessi                                                           Email: bwright@rahway.net

    Room 318                                                                        Office Hours: Period 3

    Text: The Language of Composition by Shea, Scanlon, & Aufses

    Supplementary readings may include but are not limited to the following:  1984, Maus, The Things They Carried, Night, Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America, The House on Mango Street, and/or Angela’s Ashes

    Course Description

    The Advanced Placement English Language and Composition course is a rigorously academic and challenging writing course designed to engage students in college level work. The course "helps students become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of disciplines and rhetorical contexts and to become skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes" (College Board, 2006). The fundamentals of language, including rhetorical strategies, citations, analysis, argumentation, and synthesis are explored through a variety of non-fiction works including essays, memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, journalism, and speeches. Students study not only what the writer says but also the strategies used to deliver the message.

    Course Objectives: AP Language and Composition is a college-level course examining rhetoric. Students will evaluate and write a variety of essays including synthesis, argumentative, and rhetorical analysis. By the end of the course, students will understand the following:

    • the purpose of the course and the requirements of the exam.
    • how a text is created to develop meaning and fulfill its purpose.
    • the relationship between speaker, purpose, and audience.
    • how “Write to Think” activities can be used to explore the writing process.
    • the nature of rhetoric and the rhetorical triad.
    • how to read closely and critically with a focus on the author's choices including structure, imagery, diction, syntax, and tone.
    • how to analyze, evaluate, and explain the effectiveness of an author's choices.
    • how to use close reading strategies such as annotation and "talking with the text" to flesh out meaning in a difficult or ambiguous text.
    • how to create, develop, and support an argument.
    • how to analyze visual text and how to incorporate that analysis into their own writing.
    • how to cite sources using MLA citation.
    • how to organize and develop writing in a timed setting.   
    • strategies necessary for success on the AP Language & Composition Exam.

    Grading: Assessments such as tests, papers, & projects earn two grades. Quizzes earn one grade. Assessments account for 70% of the total grade. Classwork & homework assignments account for 30% of the total. *Student journals are an essential component of this course and are used on a daily basis. They are reviewed for grading purposes.  Students using a phone during a quiz or test will earn a 0 for that assessment.  

    Late Policy:

    Papers and projects are due at the beginning of class on the day the assignment is due. Typed assignments must be printed before class. Assignments submitted within 24 hours of the deadline will lose fifteen points. Assignments submitted two days late will receive a maximum of 50 points. Assignments will not be accepted more than two days late.

    Writing & Rewrites:

    1. Students may rewrite an essay once during the first three marking periods. Rewrites will not be accepted during the fourth marking period. Rewrites are due within 48 hours of being returned. Only the highest essay score will count when students rewrite a paper. Late papers may not be rewritten.
    2. The student’s name, the date, the course, and the class period must appear in the upper right-hand corner of every assignment submitted. Papers without a name will not be accepted. Five points will be deducted from papers without the date, course title, and class period.
    3. Students may reference an author by his or her first and last name or by last name only. Five points will be deducted from the assignment when a student refers to an author by his or her first name alone.
    4. In a typed essay, the title of a long work such as a novel or a play must be italicized; if it is a handwritten essay, underlining is acceptable. Enclose the title of a short work such as an article, a short story, a chapter title, or a poem in quotation marks.
    5. Do not skip lines between paragraphs. Indentations indicate a new paragraph has begun.
    6. Details indicate effort. All assignments should be neat and legible, and turned in on clean paper free of wrinkles and fringe.

    *If I am absent, substitute work must be submitted by the end of the period.                              


    • The rules of Rahway High School will be followed, as well as class rules.
    • We will show respect for everyone and everything in the classroom.
    • We will wait to speak until it is our turn.
    • We will be on time for class and begin to work immediately.
    • We will use pass privileges sparingly. 
    • We will be prepared with a writing utensil, folder, & notebook/journal. 
    • We will use appropriate classroom language.
    • If a student is absent, it is his or her responsibility to account for missing work. 

    *Plagiarism is a serious offense and will be reported to administration. If a student uses the words or ideas of another writer without crediting the source, this is considered plagiarism. The first incident will result in a zero for the assignment and a conference with the student's guidance counselor. Also, the student will be asked to sign an academic dishonesty form. If a second incident occurs, the student will lose credit for the course (for the year).

    Please refer to the following website for a detailed definition of plagiarism.



    • Arrive on time and ready to work.
    • Copy homework into agenda and begin working at or before the bell.
    • Participate actively by raising your hand to ask questions and to enter the conversation.  Success in this course requires active participation.
    • Ask questions! Take charge of your own learning. 
    • Request, fill out, and have the teacher sign a pass before leaving the room for any reason. 
    • Students will learn to engage in active reading. Academic reading is not a passive activity.

    Homework Readings:

    When students are given passages to read for homework, they are expected to take notes and be prepared to discuss the selected passage during the following class period. If students are unable to discuss the passage, and if they do not have notes or annotations, a zero will be given.


    All students must come to class prepared each day with pencils/pens and paper. Students must have a three-ring binder or a notebook and a folder. When the class is reading from a novel, the student must bring his or her copy to class each day. It is also helpful to bring highlighters or colored pens or pencils for annotations.