Essay Information

Description of the Event:

Students are presented with three prompts and asked to write an essay that addresses the prompt. Students have 50 minutes from start to finish to work on the essay.

 Instructions to Students

Below are 3 essay prompts. Select one of the prompts as the topic of your essay. Place the number of the prompt on the top left of your essay. It is not necessary to include the specific language of the prompt either at the beginning or in the body of your essay.

Be sure to follow the accepted rules of Standard English sentence structure, usage, spelling, and punctuation, and use appropriate diction and style. The essay may be written on a computer that has the spell/grammar check turned off. You will have 50 minutes.

A final word of advice: the essay prompts below require your own input. High scoring essays can agree with the prompt or disagree with it. But all superior essays should start with the ideas presented. Really grapple with the problems presented. Take a clear stand on the issue or issues and develop your ideas with specific illustration from your reading and your experience.

Students are scored based upon their ability to:

1.     Organize ideas in logical patterns appropriate to the purpose of the assignment.

2.     Present these ideas using effective vocabulary and written structures appropriate
        to formal standards of written communication in English.

3.     Use mechanical skills of standard English (punctuation, grammar and spelling) that 
        facilitates communication and are acceptable in formal writing.

 Essay Rubric/Essay Score Sheet

900 - 1000 Scores in this range apply to papers which are outstanding, but not necessarily perfect. These papers reflect most or all of the following characteristics:

700 - 899 Scores in this range apply to papers which demonstrate very good handling of the content, organization, and mechanics, and which may reflect most of the following characteristics:

500 - 699 Scores in this range apply to papers which are above average, and which may reflect most of the following characteristics:

300 - 499 Scores in this range apply to papers which are limited, or below average, and which may reflect most of the following characteristics:

101 - 299 Scores in this range apply to papers which are minimal and which may reflect most of the following characteristics:

0 - 100 Scores in this range apply to papers which allude to the topic but have no other redeeming qualities, papers which do not address the topic, and/or papers which are illegible

 Instructions/guidelines to essay scorers

Prior to grading, rubric and prompts (test items) should be discussed. Graders should come to a consensus about what to expect for each prompt. The graders must follow the rubric provided for each student with a range in scores from 
0 to 1000. The grader should read, grade and discuss a set of papers (two papers from each division - honors, scholastic, varsity) reproduced from this year's contest and reach a consensus regarding grades. Usually the graders spend at least an hour reading papers and discussing them before beginning the holistic evaluation.

Guidelines for grading the essay:

    1.    Each essay will be graded by two graders.
    2.    The grading process for each paper should take approximately two minutes
           and not more than four minutes.
    3.    Each grader fills out a rubric or scoresheet for each paper scored with the
           following information:
               

Once the rubric has been completed, no one other than the Essay Chairperson should review the results. The Essay Chairperson should collect two rubrics per contest paper and staple them together with the Essay-Student Score Sheet on top. If the difference between any two scores is 200 points or less, the two scores are added together and divided by two. If the difference is greater than 200 points, the coordinator assigns a third reader to read the paper and the scores with the smallest difference will be averaged. If the difference is the same then you average the two highest grades (ex. 700-800-900, average the 900-800). This third rubric should be stapled with the other two.