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Colleges' Use and Evaluation of the CEEB Writing Sample CEEB

Ekstrom, Ruth B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RB-64-04, RDR-63-64, No. 05
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Entrance Examinations, Essay Tests, Evaluation Utilization, Writing Evaluation, Writing Sample


A sample of 23 colleges that have required the CEEB Writing Sample was visited. Of the 20 colleges using the Writing Sample for admissions, 11 read for a general impression and 9 assigned grades. The qualities looked for most often were: (1) organization, (2) indication of ability to think, (3) spelling, and (4) grammar. In responding to a check list, clarity of expression, organization, correct grammar, logic of reasoning, and evidence of mature thought were selected as most important. Experimental studies carried out by some of the colleges showed that the Writing Sample had low reliability and validity as an admissions criteria. Colleges using the Writing Sample for placement in English courses usually use it for selecting advanced students or for selecting students needing remedial work in composition. If a centrally graded theme were to be offered as a part of the ECT, the Writing Sample could probably be abandoned without too much discontent among CEEB member colleges. Neither the enthusiasm for, nor the effectiveness of, the Writing Sample is very great.

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