Scoring System for Writing Essay Test

Upper-range papers. These papers clearly engage the issue identified in the prompt and demonstrate superior skill in organizing, developing, and conveying in standard written English the writer's ideas about the topic.

6 Exceptional. These papers take a position on the issue defined in the prompt and support that position with extensive elaboration. Organization is unified and coherent. While there may be a few errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure, outstanding command of the language is apparent.
5 Superior. These papers take a position on the issue defined in the prompt and support that position with moderate elaboration. Organization is unified and coherent. While there may be a few errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure, command of the language is apparent.

Mid-range papers. Papers in the middle range demonstrate engagement with the issue identified in the prompt but do not demonstrate the evidence of writing skill that would mark them as outstanding.

4 Competent. These papers take a position on the issue defined in the prompt and support that position with some elaboration or explanation. Organization is generally clear. A competency with language is apparent, even though there may be some errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure.
3 Adequate. These papers take a position on the issue defined in the prompt and support that position but with only a little elaboration or explanation. Organization is clear enough to follow without difficulty. A control of the language is apparent, even though there may be numerous errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure.

Lower-range papers. Papers in the lower range fail in some way to demonstrate proficiency in language use, clarity of organization, or engagement of the issue identified in the prompt.

2 Weak. While these papers take a position on the issue defined in the prompt, they may show significant problems in one or more of several areas, making the writer's ideas often difficult to follow: support may be extremely minimal; organization may lack clear movement or connectedness; or there may be a pattern of errors in mechanics, usage, or sentence structure that significantly interferes with understanding the writer's ideas.
1 Inadequate. These papers show a failed attempt to engage the issue defined in the prompt, lack support, or have problems with organization or language so severe as to make the writer's ideas very difficult to follow.

Unratable papers.

NR The following categories of unratable papers are reported to the students as NR, or Not Ratable:
  • Off task. These responses refuse to engage the issue identified in the prompt.
  • Illegible.
  • Not English.
  • No response.