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ESL 123 Final Essay Scoring Rubric

Scoring Guide for ESL 123 Final Essays

The scoring guide contains 5 categories: content, organization, vocabulary, grammar, and spelling and mechanics.  The categories in each essay may have different ratings, but the majority should be level 3 or above for a passing composition.

Clear Pass (4)

Content: The student addresses the questions in the prompt so that the writing is interesting and well-developed.

Organization: Clear paragraphing with ideas moving smoothly from general to specific or in another clear and logical order with specific details and examples clearly supporting the ideas presented.

Vocabulary:  Words are specific, varied, and used correctly throughout.

Grammar: Verb tenses are used correctly.  Overall, there are few grammar mistakes, and the meaning of sentences is clear.

Spelling and Mechanics: Most words are spelled correctly and most punctuation is used correctly.

Pass (3)

Content: The student clearly addresses all or most of the questions in the prompt.

Organization: Adequate paragraphing that is mostly clear and logical with sufficient use of details and examples.

Vocabulary: Words are specific and varied and are generally used correctly.

Grammar: Verb tenses are generally used correctly and the meaning of sentences is clear although there are some grammar mistakes.

Spelling and Mechanics:  There are some spelling and/or punctuation mistakes, but they do not interfere with understanding.

Not Pass (2)

Content: The student may address one or two of the questions in the prompt but not thoroughly.

Organization: There may be paragraphs but ideas may not be presented in a logical order or lack details and examples.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary is somewhat limited or repetitive and not be used correctly.

Grammar: There are mistakes with grammar, including verb tenses, so that the meaning of sentences may not be clear.

Spelling and Mechanics: There are some spelling and/or punctuation mistakes which interfere with understanding.

Fail (1)

Content: The student may address one of the questions in the prompt but answers vaguely or briefly.

Organization: The order of ideas is confusing and details and examples are not used or are not supportive.

Vocabulary: Vocabulary is limited or repetitive and significantly interferes with understanding.

Grammar: There are many grammar problems, especially verb tenses, which make the ideas difficult to follow.

Spelling and Mechanics: Writing includes many distracting spelling and/or punctuation mistakes that significantly interfere with understanding.

Composition may be an entirely different topic or may reflect memorization or copying.