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Use of the CEEB Writing Sample

Ekstrom, Ruth B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, College Entrance Examinations, Essay Tests, Test Use, Writing Evaluation, Writing Sample


The Writing Sample (WS) introduced by the College Board in 1960-61 was a secure essay evaluated by the colleges to which the student was applying. Questionnaires concerning the use of the WS were sent to 287 Board member colleges with 234 usable replies. Of these colleges, 43% use the WS for admissions, usually for borderline or marginal candidates. Reading was usually done by an admissions officer or admissions committee. Most used the WS as "one of several factors" for admissions decisions. Over 70% of those requiring the WS found it "extremely helpful" or "somewhat helpful" in admissions. Of the respondents, 32% had plans to use the WS for placement. Reading for placement was generally to be done by an English Department committee to gain a general impression of writing ability from entering students. Plans to use the WS in guidance or counseling were reported by 20% of the responding colleges. Questionnaires were also sent to 140 member and nonmember secondary schools. 60% of the 115 schools returning questionnaires said they made some use of the WS. In this group, 27% said that the introduction of the WS brought teachers to give more stress to the importance of composition; 19% said teachers give more attention to the mechanics of composition; and 14% said teachers require more compositions.

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