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Student Essays & Scores

Satisfactory Scores

Essays that satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement

The Scores of 6, 5, and 4

All essays that satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR) respond to the text of the AWPE reading passage by attending to the three essential elements of the essay topic: a first question asking about the passage author’s views on the issue he or she is addressing, a second question about the essay writer’s thinking about those views, and a direction for the essay writer to discuss his or her own specific examples to explain that position. Although they may have occasional lapses in language control resulting from the limited two-hour reading and writing period, essays satisfying the ELWR respond to the essay topic in prose that generally communicates their writers’ ideas clearly and efficiently.

The first six essays below represent the scores of 6, 5, and 4 on the AWPE scoring guide. The two essays at each level have been chosen in part to suggest the range of students’ responses to Levitin’s ideas: at each level, the first essay affirms and exemplifies Levitin’s emphasis on practice as the determiner of outstanding achievement, while the second essay questions or complicates Levitin’s position. The essays also suggest the wide range of examples on which students could draw to illustrate their thinking.


Score of 6

Essays 1 and 2 command attention because they present cogent responses to Levitin’s views in detailed, insightful ways.

Score of 5

Clearly competent Essays 3 and 4 both present thoughtful responses to Levitin’s text.

Score of 4

Essays 5 and 6 are both satisfactory. They begin by reporting Levitin’s conclusions about talent and practice accurately.

Unsatisfactory Scores

Essays that do not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement

The Scores of 3, 2, and 1

Essays that do not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement can fall short of UC’s standard of reading and writing proficiency in a number of ways. Their reporting of the views of the author of the AWPE reading passage may be substantially inaccurate, incomplete, or unfocused. Unsatisfactory essays may not state a clear position on the author’s views, or they may state one position and seem to undermine or contradict it later. They may neglect to discuss examples that illustrate and explain their writers’ positions, or the discussions they do provide may not focus on the details that show why the examples support those positions. Also, essays may not satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement because their prose does not communicate their writers’ ideas clearly, leaving the reader trying to understand the relationship between the ideas in successive sentences or paragraphs. Such essays may also depart from the conventions of written English enough to make a reader struggle to focus on their meaning.

The six essays below represent the scores of 3, 2, and 1 on the AWPE scoring guide. The two essays at each scoring level have been chosen in part to exemplify the various weaknesses in reading and writing identified in the scoring guide, weaknesses that indicate the need for Entry Level writing instruction on campus. UC campuses with more than one course leading to satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing Requirement use the scores of 3, 2, and 1 — and the essays themselves — to place student writers in the courses best suited to their needs.


Score of 3

Essays 7 and 8 are both unsatisfactory because they show incomplete understandings of Levitin's text.

Score of 2

Essays 9 and 10 both show serious weaknesses and incomplete understandings of Levitin's text.

Score of 1

Essays 11 and 12 suggest severe difficulties in reading and writing conventional English.