Holistic scoring is a commonly used method to assess the writing of college-level English language learners. While this form of assessment emphasizes the overall quality of a text, research shows it is nonetheless affected by many discrete factors. This study, based on departmental final essay exams of sixteen students in the first part of a two-semester ESL composition course, examines whether grammatical error is correlated with holistic scores, in general, and passing and failing holistic essay scores, in particular. To determine if correlations existed, experienced ESL instructors holistically and objectively scored a stratified random sample of ELL essays. Then, a Pearson's product-movement coefficient and a point biserial coefficient were calculated. Results indicate that grammatical error is moderately correlated with both holistic essay scores and with passing and failing holistic essay grades. Essays with higher error scores were correlated with failing holistic essay grades, and vise versa. These findings are important for ELLs, ESL instructors, and administrators. Although grammatical accuracy can be a result of overall academic writing proficiency, the potential for it to serve as a predictor of holistic scores has implications for instruction and assessment. Accordingly, this topic clearly warrants continued investigation.
|Advisor:||Griffith, Ruth P.|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||MAI 50/03M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational tests & measurements, English as a Second Language, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Assessment, Composition, English as a second language, Grammar, Holistic scoring, Writing|
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