Each essay receives a score from at least one trained rater for the computer-delivered test, using a six-point holistic scale.
In holistic scoring, raters are trained to assign scores on the basis of the overall quality of an essay in response to the assigned task. The essay score is then scored by e-rater®, a computerized program developed by ETS that is capable of identifying essay features related to writing proficiency. If the human and e-rater scores closely agree, the average of the two scores is used as the final score. If they disagree, a second human score is obtained, and the final score is the average of the two human scores.
The final scores on the two essays are then averaged and rounded to the nearest half-point interval on the 0–6 score scale. A single score is reported for the Analytical Writing measure. The primary emphasis in scoring the Analytical Writing section is on one's critical thinking and analytical writing skills rather than on grammar and mechanics.