Holistic vs. Analytic Scoring of Writing
"Since, in holistic scoring, the entire written text is evaluated as a whole, it is important to establish the specific criteria upon which the evaluation is to be based prior to undertaking the evaluation. This does not mean establishing a catalogue of precise individual errors that might appear, but rather deciding what impact the errors that are present have on the overall tone, structure, and comprehensibility of the writing sample" (Terry 1989: 49).
|9||Strong control of the language; proficiency and variety in grammatical usage with few significant errors; broad command of vocabulary and of idiomatic language|
|Good general control of grammatical structures despite some errors and/or some awkwardness of style. Good use of idioms and vocabulary. Reads smoothly overall.|
|Fair ability to express ideas in target language; correct use of simple grammatical structures or use of more complex structures without numerous serious errors. Some apt vocabulary and idioms. Occasional signs of fluency and sense of style.|
|Weak use of language with little control of grammatical structures. Limited vocabulary. Frequent use of anglicisms, which force interpretations on the part of the reader. Occasional redeeming features.|
|Clearly unacceptable from most points of view. Almost total lack of vocabulary resources, little or no sense of idiom and/or style. Essentially translated from English.|
|Floating point||A one-point bonus should be awarded for a coherent and well-organized essay or for a particularly inventive one.|
Johnson's Grading the Advanced Placement Examination
in French Language, Princeton, NJ: Advanced Placed Program
of the College Board, 1983.
"Students should receive a copy of the analytic scoring criteria in advance. They will then know what is expected of them and how to interpret the evaluation of their written work. They can readily see where their strengths and weaknesses lie and can, over time, visualize their progress with subsequent evaluated samples of their writing" (Terry 1992: 247).
Evaluation Criteria for Analytic Scoring
|Grammar and Structures||
excellent control, very few errors
B = comprehensible, some errors
C = substantial and significant errors
D = one or more blocks to communication
F = unintelligible
skilled use of vocabulary relevant to context; widely varied
B = clear, appropriate, and sophisticated choice of vocabulary
C = errors, but evidence of attempts at sophistication and appropriateness
D = errors and/or inappropriate choice of vocabulary
F = totally inappropriate choice of vocabulary masking meaning
|Fluency and Creativity||
highly creative and original; extremely smooth text; amount of text
commensurate with topic and content; good organization
B = good degree of creativity; relatively smooth text; acceptable organization; sufficient amount of text
C = some attempts at creativity; loose organization; text is rather monotonous due to lack of variety of structures
D = hard to follow; organization undermines intelligibility; very little originality
F = no evidence of creativity; no attempt at organization; no apparent structure
|Content and Relevance||
significant, interesting, appropriate; well thought-out; appropriate to
B = generally good work, but facts may be unsupported; repetitions or clichés may be apparent
C = careless development of data relevant to content
D = no effort to make content significant to the composition
F = incoherent and wildly inappropriate content
Cooper, C. R. & Odell, L. (Eds.).
(1977). Holistic Evaluation of Writing. In C.R. Cooper and L. Odell (Eds.),
Evaluating Writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 3-31.
Hughes, A. (1989.) Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnson, L. W. (1983). Grading the
Advanced Placement Examination in French Language. Princeton, NJ:
Advanced Placement Program of the College Board.
Scott, V. M. (1996). Rethinking Foreign Language Writing. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Terry, R. M. (1989). Teaching and
Evaluating Writing as a Communicative Skill. Foreign Language Annals.
22 (1): 43-54.
_____. (1992). Improving
Inter-rater Reliability in Scoring Tests in Multisection Courses. AAUSC
Issues in Language
Program Direction: Development and Supervision of Teaching Assistants in Foreign Languages. Boston:
Heinle & Heinle Publishers.