Writing Proficiency Exam Scoring
In general, keep in mind the following three things:
- A well-organized essay has clarity both at the paragraph and essay level. Ideas flow logically through the essay and connections between ideas are made for the reader.
- A well-developed essay has appropriate examples which support, amplify and clarify points made. Ideas are explored rather than repeated.
- A well-expressed essay has not only sentence control and sentence variety but adequate control of grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary.
The exams are read holistically: the score is based on the total impression the essay conveys. Each paper is scored on four areas: comprehension, organization, development and expression.
Two faculty readers score your test on a scale from six (highest) to one (lowest). These scores are then combined. A total score of 8 or more reflects the two readers' agreement that the essay is passing. A score of 6 or less reflects the readers' decision that an essay does not pass. If the test has a pass-fail split (a 4 and a 3), the exam is reviewed carefully by a third reader, and his or her decision determines the final passing or failing score.
- Comprehension: Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the article in developing an insightful response.
- Organization: Answers all parts of the question thoroughly; demonstrates strong essay and paragraph organization.
- Development: Strongly develops the topic through specific and appropriate detail; logical, intelligent, and thoughtful; may be creative or imaginative.
- Expression: Exhibits proficient sentence structure and usage but may have a few minor slips (e.g. an occasional misused or misspelled word, or comma fault); may show stylistic flair.
- Comprehension: Demonstrates a sound understanding of the article in developing a well-reasoned response.
- Organization: Displays effective paragraph and essay organization and answers all parts of the question.
- Development: Skillfully and logically employs specific and appropriate details but may lack the level of insight or intelligence found in an exemplary paper.
- Expression: Structures sentences effectively but may lack stylistic flair; keeps diction appropriate but may waver in tone; maintains sound grammar though may err occasionally.
- Comprehension: Demonstrates (sometimes by implication) a generally accurate understanding of the article in developing a sensible response.
- Organization: Shows adequate paragraphing and essay organization but may give disproportionate attention to some parts of the question.
- Development: Shows adequate logical development of the topic but may not be as fully developed as a superior essay or may respond in a way which is somewhat simplistic or repetitive.
- Expression: Shows adequate command of sentence structure, using appropriate diction but may contain some minor problems in grammar, punctuation, or usage (problems which might annoy a reader but will not lead to confusion or misunderstanding).
- Comprehension: Demonstrates some understanding of the article but may misconstrue parts of it or make limited use of it in developing a weak response.
- Organization: Does not address major aspects of the topic; presents a predominantly narrative response; is deficient in organization at the essay or paragraph level; lacks focus or wanders from the controlling idea.
- Development: Consistently generalizes without adequate support; presents conclusions which do not logically follow from the premises or the evidence or consistently repeats rather than explores ideas.
- Expression: Shows deficient sentence structure; uses a primer (grade school) style, or contains errors in mechanics (including spelling) which are serious or frequent enough to affect understanding.
2—Seriously Flawed Paper
- Demonstrates poor understanding of the main points of the article, does not use the article appropriately in developing a response, or may not use the article at all.
- Shows serious flaws in more than one important area of writing (organization, development, or expression).
- Sentence level error is so severe and pervasive that other strengths ofthe paper become obscured. Clarity may exist only on the sentence level.
- Demonstrates little or no ability to understand the article or to use it in developing a response.
- Shows virtually no ability to handle the topic.
- Reveals inability to handle the basic elements of prose.