How characteristics of student essays influence teachers' evaluations

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Explored the question of why competent evaluators award the ratings they do to college students' expository essays. Essays were rewritten to be stronger or weaker in 4 categories: content, organization, sentence structure, and mechanics. 12 evaluators first used a 4-point holistic rating scale to judge the essays' quality. Then they rated whether each of the 4 rewriting categories in each rewritten essay was strong or weak (perceptions). ANOVAs revealed content and organization to affect ratings most (p < .001). Mechanics and sentence structure had smaller effects, which differed when measured by the actual rewriting vs by the perceptions. Mechanics and sentence structure were significant in their interaction with organization (p < .001 and p < .91, respectively). (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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