Each response is holistically scored on a 6-point scale according to the criteria published in the GRE analytical writing scoring guides (see Appendix A on pages 51–53). Holistic scoring means that each response is judged as a whole: readers do not separate the response into component parts and award a certain number of points for a particular criterion or element such as ideas, organization, sentence structure, or language. Instead, readers assign scores based on the overall quality of the response, considering all of its characteristics in an integrated way. Excellent organization or poor organization, for example, will be part of the readers’ overall impression of the response and will therefore contribute to the score, but organization, as a distinct feature, has no specific weight.
In general, GRE readers are college and university faculty experienced in teaching courses in which writing and critical thinking skills are important. All GRE readers have undergone careful training, passed stringent GRE qualifying tests, and demonstrated that they are able to maintain scoring accuracy. To ensure fairness and objectivity in scoring
• responses are randomly distributed to the readers
• all identifying information about the test takers is concealed from the readers
• each response is scored by two readers
• readers do not know what other scores a response may have received
• the scoring procedure requires that each response receive identical or adjacent scores from two readers; any other score combination is adjudicated by a third GRE reader
The scores given for the two tasks are then averaged for a final reported score. The score level descriptions, presented in Appendix A on page 53, provide information on how to interpret the total score on the analytical writing section. The primary emphasis in scoring the analytical writing section is on critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Your essay responses on the analytical writing section will be reviewed by ETS essay-imilaritydetection
software and by experienced essay readers during the scoring process. Based on widely accepted criteria of plagiarism within United States graduate schools and universities, ETS reserves the right to cancel test scores of any test taker when there is substantial evidence that an essay response includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
• text that is substantially similar to that found on one or more other GRE essay responses;
• quoting or paraphrasing, without attribution, language, or ideas that appear in published or unpublished sources;
• unacknowledged use of work that has been produced through collaboration with others
without citation of the contribution of others;
• essays that are submitted as work of the examinee when the ideas or words have, in fact, been borrowed from elsewhere or prepared by another person.