Rating The Prose Essay for AP English Literature
You will be relieved to know that the rating of your essay is not based on whether or not the reader likes you or agrees with your point-of-view.
How do the test readers evaluate my essay?
It's important to understand just what it is that goes into rating your essay. This is called a rubric, but don't let that word frighten you. A rubric is a word that simply refers to the rating standards that are set and used by the people who read the essays. These standards are fairly consistent, no matter what the prompt might be. The primary change is in the citing of the specifics in a particular prompt.
Let us assure you that, as experienced readers of the AP English exams, we know that the readers are trained to reward those things you do well in addressing the question. They are not looking to punish you. They are aware of the time constraints, and they read your essay just as your own instructor would read the first draft of an essay you wrote on a 40-minute exam. These readers look forward to an interesting, insightful, and wellconstructed essay.
So, let's take a look at the following rubrics:
- A 9 essay has all the qualities of an 8 essay, and the writing style is especially impressive, as is the analysis and/or discussion of the specifics related to the prompt and the text.
- An 8 essay will effectively and cohesively address the prompt. It will analyze and/or discuss the stylistic elements called for in the question. And it will do so using appropriate evidence from the given text. The essay will also show the writer's ability to control language well.
- A 7 essay has all the properties of a 6, only with a more complete and well-developed analysis /discussion or a more mature writing style.
- A 6 essay adequately addresses the prompt. The analysis and/or discussion is on target and makes use of appropriate specifics from the text. However, these elements are less fully developed than scores in the 7, 8, and 9 range. The essay writer's ideas are expressed with clarity, but the writing may have a few errors in syntax and /or diction.
- A 5 essay demonstrates that the writer understands the prompt. The analysis /discussion is generally understandable, but the analysis /discussion is limited or uneven. The writer's ideas are expressed clearly with a few errors in syntax or diction.
- A 4 essay is not an adequate response to the prompt. The writer's analysis /discussion of the text indicates a misunderstanding, an oversimplification, or a misrepresentation of the given passage. The writer may use evidence that is not appropriate or not sufficient to support the analysis /discussion.
- A 3 essay is a lower 4 because it is even less effective in addressing the prompt. It is also less mature in its syntax and organization.
- A 2 essay indicates little success in speaking to the prompt. The writer may misread the question, only summarize the passage, never develop the required analysis/discussion, or simply ignore the prompt and write about another topic altogether. The writing may also lack organization and control of language and syntax. (Note: No matter how good a summary may be, it will never rate more than a 2.)
- A 1 essay is a lower 2 because it is even more simplistic, disorganized, and lacking in control of language.
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