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When Raters Talk, Rubrics Fall Silent


The research reported here suggests that raters, when involved in writing assessment, are more concerned with their own criteria to set a basis for their judgment rather than the standards provided by scale descriptors. This study sampled think aloud of eight raters who scored 15 essays in accord with Test of Written English (TWE) holistic scoring guide. Verbal report data indicated that just less than five percent of the statements made by the raters are related to the issues assessed in TWE. These findings background the utility of holistic rating scale descriptors, foregrounding the raters' descriptors-independent judgments.

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Correspondence to Masoumeh Ahmadi Shirazi.

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Shirazi, M.A. When Raters Talk, Rubrics Fall Silent. Language Testing in Asia 2, 123 (2012).

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  • raters
  • rubrics
  • descriptors
  • TWE
  • holistic scales