Essay Scoring Criteria

Use the following scoring guide to score each of your essays. Better yet, have someone else read your essay and use the scoring guide to help you see how well you have done. Sample essays for the first six essay topics follow this scoring guide.

Essay Score “6”

A “6” essay is a highly effective response to the assignment; a few minor errors are allowed. It has the following additional characteristics:
•    Good organization and overall coherence.
•    Clear explanation and/or illustration of main ideas.
•    Variety of sentence syntax.
•    Facility in language usage.
•    General freedom from mechanical mistakes.
•    Errors in word usage and sentence structure.
Essay score


Essay Score “5”

A “5” essay shows competence in responding to the assigned topic but may have minor errors. It has the following additional characteristics:

•    Competent organization and general coherence.
•    Fairly clear explanation and/or illustration of main ideas.
•    Some variety of sentence syntax.
•    Facility in language usage
•    General freedom from mechanical errors.
•    Errors in word usage and sentence structure.

Essay Score “4”

A “4” essay displays competence in response to the assignment. It has the following additional characteristics:
•    Adequate organization and development.
•    Explanation and illustration of some key ideas.
•    Adequate language usage.
•    Some mechanical but inconsistent errors and
•    Mistakes in usage or sentence structure.
Essay Scoring Criteria


Essay Score “3”

A “3” essay shows some competence but is plainly flawed. Additionally, it has the following characteristics:
•    Inadequate organization or incomplete development.
•    Inadequate explanation or illustration of main ideas.
•    A pattern of mechanical mistakes or errors in usage and sentence structure.

Essay Score “2”

A “2” essay shows limited competence and is severely flawed. Additionally, it has the following characteristics:
•    Poor organization and general lack of development.
•    Little or no supporting detail.
•    Serious mechanical errors and mistakes in usage, sentence structure, and word choice

Essay Score “2”

A “1” essay shows a fundamental lack of writing skill. Additionally, it has the following characteristics:
•    Practically nonexistent organization and general incoherence.
•    Severe and widespread writing errors.

Essay Score “0”

A “0” essay does not address the topic assigned.
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