Gordon Rule Courses

For Information on how to submit a course for Gordon Rule designation, click here.

What is the Gordon Rule?  Originally introduced in the state legislature by Senator Jack Gordon in 1987, this rule was envisioned as a means of preparing first and second-year college students to succeed in their education, career, and life through the development of critical, analytical, and communication skills.

Revised Gordon Rule:  In 2005, in a move aimed at shifting the focus from quantity of writing to quality of writing, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), the State Board of Education, and the Florida Board of Governors, approved the following revision to the original version of the Gordon Rule:

Six semester hours of English coursework and six semester hours of additional coursework in which the student is required to demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments.

Expectations for Gordon Rule Coursework at FIU
At FIU, in a Gordon Rule course, college-level writing should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Driven by a clear thesis or controlling idea.
  • Supports thesis with adequate reasons and evidence.
  • Displays sustained analysis and critical thought.
  • Is organized clearly and logically.
  • Shows knowledge of conventions of formal written English.
  • Shows awareness of disciplinary conventions in regard to content, style, form, and delivery method.

Gordon Rule writing assignments should also:

  • Be given to the student in writing.
  • Be sequenced to encourage the writer’s growth both in idea development and in writing strategy; therefore, they should increase in complexity throughout the term.
  • Indicate the criteria for assessment.

For tips on sequencing assignments effectively, see Sequencing Writing Assignments.

Number of Assignments
The Gordon Rule revisions require “multiple” writing assignments. FIU courses will meet this requirement by assigning a minimum of three writing assignments, reasonably sequenced throughout the course, typically totaling 3500 words or more. Below is a list of the types of writing assignments that normally will fulfill the college-level writing requirement.

 Types of Writing Assignments that normally fulfill the Gordon Rule
In addition to encouraging “college-level writing,” as defined above, specific assignments may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Essays
  • Reports
  • Essay Examinations (essay exams may count as one, but no more than one, of the three writing assignments)
  • Manuals
  • Reviews
  • Case Studies
  • Project Plans
  • Research Papers
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Websites (with a professional or academic focus)

 Assignments that normally will not fulfill the requirement include:

  • Journal or Diary Entries
  • Resumes
  • Free-writing
  • Classroom Assessments
  • Online Discussion Posts
  • Emails
  • Brainstorming
  • Creative Writing
  • PowerPoint Presentations
  • Personal Homepages

Passing Grade:  A grade of C or higher shall be considered successful completion of the course.