Analytic Scoring of TOEFL® CBT Essays: Scores From Humans and E-rater®

Lee, Yong-Won; Gentile, Claudia; Kantor, Robert
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-08-01, TOEFL-RR-81
Document Type:
Subject/Key Words:
Analytic scoring multitrait scoring holistic scoring text features profile scores writing feedback automated essay scoring e-rater ESL writing assessment TOEFL CBT


The main purpose of the study was to investigate the distinctness and reliability of analytic (or multitrait) rating dimensions and their relationships to holistic scores and e-rater® essay feature variables in the context of the TOEFL® computer-based test (CBT) writing assessment. Data analyzed in the study were analytic and holistic essay scores provided by human raters and essay feature variable scores computed by e rater (version 2.0) for two TOEFL CBT writing prompts. It was found that (a) all of the six analytic scores were not only correlated among themselves but also correlated with the holistic scores, (b) high correlations obtained among holistic and analytic scores were largely attributable to the impact of essay length on both analytic and holistic scoring, (c) there may be some potential for profile scoring based on analytic scores, and (d) some strong associations were confirmed between several e rater variables and analytic ratings. Implications are discussed for improving the analytic scoring of essays, validating automated scores, and refining e-rater essay feature variables.

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