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The Replies of Teachers of English to a Questionnaire on Essay Testing

French, John Winslow, 1918-
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
English Curriculum, Essay Tests, General Composition Test, Secondary School Teachers, Test Use, Writing (Composition)


Teachers of English were asked about the amount of composition in their curriculum and were questioned on their opinion of essay testing in general and the GCT in particular. Questionnaires were sent to 224 teachers; responses were received from 84 per cent. It is clear that teachers of English want an essay test. However, their main reason for wanting it is to measure competence, a service which it performs only poorly. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of evidence that essay examinations for college entrance would effectively encourage writing instruction at a good many schools. There is less enthusiasm for the GCT than for essay tests as a whole. In view of the trend in their own teaching and in view of remarks about the GCT and recommendations for replacing it, the teachers would probably welcome a change in the direction of an essay examination calling for the writing of a series of short expository passages on a variety of subjects. They would like to be better informed about the kind of writing that the Board requires.

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