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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

Scoring Guides for MCAS English Language Arts Composition

Student compositions that do not address the writing prompt will be deemed non-scorable (NS), earning them a 0 out of a possible 12 points for topic development and 0 out of a possible 8 points for standard English conventions. Refer to Off-Topic Compositions on MCAS English Language Arts Tests memo.

Scoring Guide for Topic/Idea Development

ScoreDescription
6
  • Rich topic/idea development
  • Careful and/or subtle organization
  • Effective/rich use of language
5
  • Full topic/idea development
  • Logical organization
  • Strong details
  • Appropriate use of language
4
  • Moderate topic/idea development and organization
  • Adequate, relevant details
  • Some variety in language
3
  • Rudimentary topic/idea development and/or organization
  • Basic supporting details
  • Simplistic language
2
  • Limited or weak topic/idea development, organization, and/or details
  • Limited awareness of audience and/or task
1
  • Little topic/idea development, organization, and/or details
  • Little or no awareness of audience and/or task

Scoring Guide for Standard English Conventions

ScoreDescription
4
  • Control of sentence structure, grammar and usage, and mechanics (length and complexity of essay provide opportunity for student to show control of standard English conventions)
3
  • Errors do not interfere with communication and/or
  • Few errors relative to length of essay or complexity of sentence structure, grammar and usage, and mechanics
2
  • Errors interfere somewhat with communication and/or
  • Too many errors relative to the length of the essay or complexity of sentence structure, grammar and usage, and mechanics
1
  • Errors seriously interfere with communication AND
  • Little control of sentence structure, grammar and usage, and mechanics


Last Updated: April 13, 2009
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