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The Business Writing Assessment

Workplace writing needs to be clear and free of distractions such as poor grammar, misspellings, and extraneous information. After all, careless errors may lead the reader to believe there are also errors in the facts, and the writer loses credibility and trustworthiness.

The Business Writing assessment measures the skill used when writing an original response to a work-related situation. Components of the Business Writing skill include sentence structure, mechanics, grammar, word usage, tone and word choice, organization and focus, and development of ideas.

Number of Items: 1 prompt

Test Length: 30 minutes      

What the Business Writing Assessment Measures

There are five skill levels. Level 1 is the least complex, and Level 5 is the most complex. At each new level, individuals need to demonstrate more competency than they do at the previous levels. For example, Level 3 builds upon the skills used at Levels 1 and 2. With the increased skill required at each level, the writing that individuals produce communicates more clearly and smoothly as they move to Level 5. At the same time, errors become less frequent and less serious.

In all cases, examinees read a written prompt and then write their response. Examinees with extremely limited reading skills may be unable to produce a response that is sufficiently on topic to receive a valid Business Writing score.

Examples of Common Business Writing Errors

Sentence StructureSentence fragmentsBecause she works Wednesday night. Client waiting reception area.
 Run-on sentencesGo to the cafeteria we need some cream we need some coffee. He came to the meeting he brought the report.
 Comma splicesGerhart prepared a summary for the clients, Sophie presented it.
MechanicalMisspelled wordsmite instead of might
 Incorrect or missing punctuationdont; What are you going to do.
 Extra capitalization (or none)she stopped for printer paper at the Office-supply store.
GrammaticalIncorrect verb tensesHe starts a new project yesterday.
 Shifts in tenseHe gets a signature and delivered the package. She talked to Jamie and chats with Miguel.
 Incorrect subject-verb agreementRoger and his co-worker is going to lunch.
 Unclear pronoun referencesI listened to Betty's and Martha's opinions and I agreed more with hers.
 Missing wordsLuke the tractor.
Word UsageImproper or poor word or symbol choices that interfere with communicationthere instead of their; to instead of too; & instead of and
Style/Tone/LanguageRude or casual language not consistent with standard business English used in written correspondencemessing up the manager's mind
OrganizationLittle or no organization; unclear focus or logicThe main points of the writing may be random or grouped in a disorganized fashion; the details of the writing may be disjointed or not grouped together logically.
 Incorrect or simple transitionsIncorrect transition: She said she left early to get to the meeting on time so she arrived late instead of ... but she arrived late. Simple transitions: words such as then and also
DevelopmentSimple, repetitive, and/or general developmentThe development or depth of ideas is limited to simple, repetitive, and/or general statements.

Business Writing Scoring Guide

Level scores are used in matching job criteria.

Score 5

A paper at this highest level has well-developed ideas elaborated with relevant supporting examples and specific details. The writing shows insight. The organization is smooth and maintains clear and consistent focus from beginning to end. Transitions are varied and effective, creating a seamless flow of ideas. Sentences are varied in length and complexity. Word choice is precise and varied. The style and tone are appropriate for a business setting. Minor and/or infrequent errors in grammar and/or mechanics, if present, do not interfere with communication.

Score 4

A paper at this level has most of the ideas well developed with relevant supporting examples and details. The writing is organized and maintains consistent focus. Transitions are effective, if not especially varied. Sentences are generally varied in length and complexity. Word choice shows some precision and variety. The style and tone are consistent with standard business English. Relatively minor and/or infrequent errors in grammar and/or mechanics do not interfere with communication.

Score 3

A paper at this level has adequate development of ideas but is limited in depth and thoroughness. Supporting examples tend to be general and details are relevant, but they may be repetitive. The writing is generally organized but may have minor lapses in focus. Transitions are simple. Sentences are usually correct, with some variety and complexity attempted. Word choice is generally clear and correct but may be repetitive and/or informal. The style and tone are consistent with standard business English but may be overly casual. Some errors in grammar and mechanics are apparent but do not interfere with communication. Basic spelling is correct.

Score 2

A paper at this level has thinly developed ideas that are not expanded and may be presented as a list. Although some organization is evident, the focus is unclear and/or inconsistent. Few or no transitions are used. Sentences are often simple or repetitive, with some noticeable errors in construction. Word choice is limited, often repetitive, and sometimes incorrect. The style and tone may be inconsistent with standard business English. Significant errors in grammar and/or mechanics interfere with communication.

Score 1

A paper at this level has little or no development or support. Any development is extremely simple and/or repetitive. No organization is evident. Sentences lack variety, and construction errors seriously impede understanding. Word choice is poor and interferes with communication. The style and tone are inconsistent with standard business English. Errors in grammar and mechanics are frequent, severe, and seriously interfere with communication.

Score 0

Off-topic, offensive, or strongly inappropriate language (may include profanity and/or threats), or written in a language other than English. May be blank or too brief to evaluate.

Analytic Scores

The analytic scores provide additional, supportive information for use by the examinee, educators, and career coaches/trainers. Keep in mind that the analytic scores are separate from the holistic score and are not averaged to determine the holistic score.

  1. Development of Content measures the degree to which the response includes examples and details that develop the main
  2. Organization/Focus measures the degree to which the response is clearly and logically organized and consistently maintains
  3. Word Choice/Tone/Style measures the extent to which the word choice is clear, varied, and precise, and tone and style are business-appropriate.
  4. Grammar/Usage/Word Order/Word Form measures the extent to which errors in grammar, usage, word order, and word form interfere with communication.
  5. Spelling/Punctuation/Capitalization measures the extent to which errors in spelling, punctuation, and capitalization interfere with communication.

 

Incorrect or missing punctuation
He gets a signature and delivered the package. She talked to Jamie and chats with Miguel.
He gets a signature and delivered the package. She talked to Jamie and chats with Miguel.
I listened to Betty's and Martha's opinions and I agreed more with hers.
I listened to Betty's and Martha's opinions and I agreed more with hers.
I listened to Betty's and Martha's opinions and I agreed more with hers.
Incorrect transition: She said she left early to get to the meeting on time so she arrived late instead of ... but she arrived late. Simple transitions: words such as then and also
Incorrect transition: She said she left early to get to the meeting on time so she arrived late instead of ... but she arrived late. Simple transitions: words such as then and also