ETS® Proficiency Profile Optional Essay

By adding an essay to the ETS® Proficiency Profile assessment, you can get greater insight into your students’ writing skills with a direct and authentic measure of their ability to construct a response. The ETS Proficiency Profile Essay is delivered online and can be administered with or without a proctor. It measures your students’ ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • state a position on a claim and provide supporting evidence
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

Students are required to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented and demonstrate the ability to directly respond to a task.

Critical Thinking Skills

The ETS Proficiency Profile Essay asks students to think critically about a topic of general interest and to clearly express thoughts about it in writing. Each essay topic states a claim that can be discussed from various perspectives and applied to many different situations or conditions. The statement is followed by a set of specific instructions. Students are tasked with presenting a compelling case that supports a position on the issue.

Essay Scoring

Essays are scored by the e-rater® scoring engine, a computerized program developed by ETS, and receive a holistic score on a six-point scale.

The e-rater engine scores essays by extracting a set of features representing important aspects of writing quality from each essay. These features must not only be predictive of readers' scores, but also correspond to the features that readers are instructed to consider when they award scores. These scoring features are then combined in a statistical model to produce a final score estimate, with the weight of each feature determined by a statistical process designed to maximize the agreement with human scoring.

Scoring Guide

The automated scoring of the ETS Proficiency Profile essays is based on essay scores produced by human raters scoring sample essays according to the 0–6 criteria listed below:

Score 6

A typical essay in this category:

  • presents a thoughtful and well-developed position on the issue
  • explores the complexities of the issue
  • develops the position with apt reasons and/or well-chosen examples
  • is well focused and well organized
  • uses effective vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates strong control of grammar, mechanics, and sentence structure

Score 5

A typical essay in this category:

  • presents a clear and developed position on the issue
  • demonstrates some understanding of the complexities of the issue
  • develops ideas with appropriate reasons and examples
  • is focused and well-organized, connecting ideas appropriately
  • expresses ideas clearly, using appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety
  • demonstrates control of grammar, mechanics and sentence structure

Score 4

A typical essay in this category:

  • presents a reasonably clear position on the issue
  • develops ideas with reasons and examples
  • is adequately focused and organized
  • expresses ideas with reasonable clarity
  • generally demonstrates control of grammar, mechanics or sentence structure, but may have some errors

Score 3

A typical essay in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • is vague or limited in presenting a position on the issue
  • makes poorly-supported generalizations and/or fails to provide sufficient reasons and examples to support its position
  • is poorly focused and/or organized, lacking connections between ideas
  • has problems in the use of vocabulary and sentence variety that interfere with clarity
  • contains errors in grammar, usage or sentence structure that can interfere with meaning

Score 2

A typical essay in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • is unclear in presenting a position on the issue
  • is disorganized and undeveloped
  • relies on unsupported generalizations
  • provides few, if any, relevant reasons or examples
  • has serious problems with vocabulary and/or sentence structure
  • contains frequent errors in grammar, mechanics and sentence structure that interfere with meaning

Score 1

A typical essay in this category exhibits ONE OR MORE of the following characteristics:

  • provides little or no evidence of the ability to understand the issue or present a position on the issue
  • provides little or no evidence of the ability to develop an organized response to the issue
  • has persistent problems with vocabulary and/or sentence structure
  • contains pervasive errors in grammar, mechanics and sentence structure that result in incoherence

Score 0

Off topic (i.e., provides no evidence of an attempt to address the assigned topic), is in a foreign language, merely copies the topic, consists of only keystroke characters or is illegible or nonverbal.

Score NS

The essay response is blank.

 

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