Frequently Asked Questions - Instructors

  • How do I adopt CGC?

    CGC is adopted like any textbook. You select it for your class as a required or suggested text and then, in most cases, your students purchase it on their own. (See "If I adopt CGC, how do my students buy it?" in this FAQ section.)

    If you are interested in adopting CGC for your class, or would like to learn more about the process, we would be happy to talk with you. Please contact us at

  • If I adopt CGC, how do my students buy it?

    Students may purchase CGC either directly from the publisher online at or you may contact the publisher at and arrange to have purchases made through your campus bookstore.

    Alternatively, in some schools, the administration makes a block purchase for an entire entering class. In such a case, students enrolled receive a special school-wide code that they use instead of a credit card to "purchase" the program (which is free to them because the school has already paid for it).

    There is suggested language in the CGC Teacher's Manual (accessible online from the faculty homepage) that you can send to students to tell them how to purchase the program and get started.

  • How do I track my students' progress through CGC?

    The faculty version of CGC that you will receive as an adopting teacher includes the student view of the program (which starts with what we call the "Bookshelf") and also includes your faculty view of the program (which starts with what we call the "Instructor's Dashboard").

    The Instructor's Dashboard allows you to set up your class so that you can view each of your students' progress through their lessons as well as their pre-test and post-test scores. You can also view class averages for test scores and sub-test scores, which can help you decide if you want to review any topics in class.

    Tracking your students' progress is not a mandatory part of the CGC program. CGC is designed so that it can be assigned as outside homework that students complete on their own.

    But tracking students' progress can be a good idea. You get a good opportunity to see if students are working with the program consistently and you can identify students who are struggling and refer them for extra help early in the semester.

    For more information about how to use the Instructor's Dashboard with ease, check out the comprehensive online Teacher's Manual or the Faculty Quick-Start Guide, both of which are linked from the top of any page in CGC.

  • My school is really concerned about assessment. Can CGC help?

    Yes! Accountability in educational settings is becoming an increasing reality, but finding tools that can document student progress in the field of writing is not easy.

    CGC provides teachers and administrators with a professionally developed, reliable assessment tool that easily documents students' mastery of the subjects included in the program.

    In addition, CGC gives schools the ability to create "groups" of classes so that students' progress over time or between different programs or majors can be assessed and compared. Having this kind of data is invaluable for planning purposes.

    For more information about how CGC can help with assessment, check out the online Teacher's Manual linked from the top of any screen in CGC, or contact the authors.

  • Some of my students struggle greatly with grammar. Can CGC help them too?

    CGC is designed for college and pre-college students who are learning to write in an environment where their readers expect to see traditional use of grammar and punctuation in the students' writing.

    Today, most students have some gaps in their mastery of college-level grammar expectations when they arrive in our classrooms. CGC can help those students in at least two ways: (1) the lessons will fill in the gaps for those students who have a high-school level understanding of grammar and (2) the lessons will help those students understand that grammar matters in college and in the work world, and it will arm them with the knowledge they need to make wise writing choices. As a side benefit, the Core Grammar methodology also encourages good proof-reading.

    CGC was not originally designed for developmental students who are struggling mightily with basic communications skills. Some teachers at the community college level or at open enrollment public schools have, however, incorporated CGC successfully into their classes. Their advice: if you are working with developmental students, use the CGC lessons as an in-class or supervised lab activity. Do not expect your students to do the lessons completely independently. And consider reading the lessons out loud as students go over them. Having auditory as well as visual input will help developmental students master the material.

  • Some of my students are already proficient in grammar. Is it fair to ask them to complete CGC, too?

    Students who learned formal grammar somewhere earlier in their education are lucky. They generally have more confidence in their ability to write clearly in lots of different settings than do students who are not yet as proficient, and they can focus on improving a whole array of writing skills in your class.

    Students who enjoy grammar and understand formal English grammar conventions tell us that CGC is fun for them. Those students appreciate writing well and understand that there is always more that they can learn. CGC encourages students to think not only about what they are writing, but also about what those choices are communicating to their readers. Thinking about your readers' expectations is an interesting way to view grammar choices, and it is a perspective that CGC can help your grammar-savvy students adopt.

    In addition, CGC respects your students' prior knowledge and their time. When your students take the CGC pre-test, they can "earn" their way out of having to complete a lesson by scoring 100% on the pre-test questions for that lesson. Scoring 100% on the pre-test questions is a good sign that they have already mastered most of the information in that lesson. They can then focus their energy on learning new things in lessons that they may not have as solid a handle on.

    Finally, even your most proficient students are getting ready to enter a new stage in their educational development. Reviewing the commonly expected grammar conventions as they enter this new stage builds confidence and reinforces the value of the skills and knowledge that they are bringing with them.

  • I don't have time to teach grammar. Can CGC help me and my students?

    Balancing the many components of a good writing class in the time available is a struggle for all writing teachers.

    CGC can help save you time in at least three ways: (1) the program is designed so that it can be completed independently by students outside of class, freeing up your class time for other writing-related activities; (2) CGC sets clear, college-level writing standards for your students, cutting down on the number and kind of errors you see in your students' papers as the semester progresses; and (3) CGC encourages good proof-reading, thus increasing the quality of the papers your students turn in and reducing the amount of time it takes you to evaluate them later in the semester.

  • I do not want my course to be about grammar. How can CGC fit in?

    CGC takes a rhetorical grammar approach, meaning that CGC teaches grammar in the context of the type of material being written, the author's intent, and the audience's needs.

    Put another way, the goal of CGC is to help students recognize the writing choices available to them. Recognizing grammar rules as a free-standing discipline is not the goal.

    Many wise writing instructors, especially those working with students who are reticent writers, cringe at the thought of teaching grammar in any way that would further discourage their students or get in the way of the development of critical thinking or writing.

    We agree and have expressly written CGC to encourage students and to ignite their curiosity about how the writing choices they make influence what their readers understand about their message.

  • Do students need supervision to learn from CGC?

    CGC is designed so that students can work through the entire program independently. Many students do so successfully.

    However, some students lack the maturity or study skills necessary to pace themselves appropriately. Breaking the assignments down to smaller component parts, perhaps assigning four lessons per week rather than the entire program over six weeks, helps those students.

    Students with significant reading difficulties would benefit from working with a tutor.

    If you are teaching a class with large numbers of students who struggle mightily with grammar, consider using CGC as a source of in-class work, going over lessons and exercises as a group or "flipping" your classroom by assigning the lessons themselves outside of class but then completing the accompanying exercises in class.

  • Is CGC appropriate for use in a Writing Lab or Center?

    Yes! A Writing Lab or Center is a great place to use CGC.

    CGC can be used as a training tool (including as a CRLA certification training module) for Writing Center tutors, arming all your tutors with a common vocabulary or language as they work with students who come in seeking help.

    CGC can also be used by a Writing Center that makes a bulk purchase of subscriptions that can then be dispensed to students who would benefit.

    In addition, a Writing Center could recommend CGC to individual students who need extra help or who have expressed an interest in gaining new skills. Those students can purchase their own copy of the program online.

    Finally, Writing Centers are often in touch with faculty members across campus who are concerned about their students' management of grammar mechanics. The Writing Center can recommend CGC as a potential adoption for such faculty members.

  • Many of my students have older model computers. Can they use CGC?

    CGC will run on almost all computers that can run Adobe Flash. If their computer is not able to handle updated versions of those browsers, they should plan to use the computer lab at your school or borrow a computer from a friend.

    Please see the support page for the exact technical requirements.

  • How can CGC be integrated into my classroom?

    CGC is a highly flexible teaching tool. That flexibility is one of its most attractive benefits to an educator.

    The Core Grammar methodology has been used effectively in each of the following ways:

    (1) CGC can be assigned outside of class as free-standing homework that students are expected to complete (start to finish) by a specified date. This model is especially effective with mature, motivated, self-starting students.

    (2) CGC can be assigned outside of class as free-standing homework, but divided into smaller chunks (e.g., requiring completion of the pre-test by a certain date or assigning four lessons per week). This model is especially effective with motivated students who may lack the study skills necessary to complete the entire program without intermittent encouragement and monitoring.

    (3) CGC can be used to create a "flipped class" environment where lessons are assigned to be read outside of class, but exercises are completed in class. This model is especially effective in an environment where you want to review the lessons and make sure that students are integrating the material into their own writing.

    (4) CGC can be used to help turn your class into a hands-on writing lab where the lessons and exercises are covered by the group in class. In that kind of environment, you could extend the benefit of the CGC exercises by creating additional, low-stakes writing assignments that would allow students to apply what they have learned in the lessons covered that day.

    If you adopt CGC and find new ways to use it effectively, we hope you will share them with the authors so we can add your ideas to this page.

    For more information and ideas, check out the Teacher's Manual, accessible from the menu at the top of any screen in CGC.

  • What are the educational theories behind the Core Grammar programs?

    The methodology used in the Core Grammar programs integrates the following well-recognized educational principles:

    (1) Self-efficacy theory (the belief that I can do well influences my ability to do well);

    (2) Behavior modification theory (behavior that is reinforced increases)

    (3) Memory & Retrieval (repetition increases learning)

    (4) Testing to learn (having low-stakes quizzes helps students learn)

    (5) Active learning theory (we retain what we "do" far more than what we hear or see)

    (6) Engaged learning (students who have energy learn more)

    (7) Basic Writing theory (a student's lack of formal grammar education should not be mistaken for a student's inability to think critically and creatively)

    (8) Rhetorical Grammar theory (grammar is rooted in a rhetorical situation and is best learned in context)

    To read more about these learning theories that are at the heart of the Core Grammar methodology, check out the Teacher Manual . . .