The ACT Essay Overview

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  • 1. The ACT Essay General Overview
  • 2. General Factoids about the ACT Essay• Only the ACT Plus Writing has the essay (Note: The ACT is offered without the essay portion. The ACT recommends that students determine whether or not to take the writing test based on the requirements or recommendations of the colleges to which they plan to apply.)• The essay is written AFTER the four multiple-choice tests. (Total testing time of the four multiple choice sections = 2 hours and 15 minutes)• The essay must be written in English.• The essay does not affect the score on the multiple choice tests or the composite score of the multiple choice sections.
  • 3. Students who take the ACTPlus Writing will receive TWO additional scores: a Combined English/Writing score (scored on a scale of 1 through 36) and a Writing(essay) subscore (scored on a scale of 2 through 12).
  • 4. Scored holisticallyRead by a third reader if the Read by two readers two trained disagree by readersmore than one point Scoring Information Sum of the Range of two scores scores—1 = the (low) to 6 Writing (high) Subscore
  • 5. More on the English/Writing Score The 45- minute Counts multiple as 2/3 choice English test The English/ Writing Score (scored on a scale of 1 to The 30- 36) minute Counts as 1/3 essay
  • 6. What Does the English MC Test Measure?Conventionsof standard Rhetorical written skills English -punctuation -grammar and -strategy usage -organization -sentence -style structure
  • 7. Essay Evaluation Criteria Express judgments by Develop a position by Maintain a focus on thetaking a position on the using logical reasoning topic throughout the issue in the writing and by supporting their essay prompt ideas Use language clearly and effectively Organize ideas in a according to the logical way conventions of standard written English
  • 8. “The combined result from both tests will provide information about students’ ability to make revising andediting decisions in a multiple-choice setting and their ability to produce a direct writing sample.” --From Educator’s Guide to the ACT Writing Test
  • 9. More Essay Factoids• Time—30 minutes total• Purpose—measure writing skills specifically those emphasized in high school English classes and in entry-level college composition courses• Format—One prompt that will define an issue and describe two points of view on the issue
  • 10. Unique Essay Factoid• The score report will include comments about the essay• One reader will assign comments appropriate for the writing skills demonstrated in the essay• The number of comments will range between one and four, and may include positive and/or constructive comments about the student’s writing
  • 11. Purpose of the Comments“To help students learn to better assesstheir own writing skills and to recognizestrengths in their writing as well as areasupon which to focus for improvement.” --From Educator’s Guide to the ACT Writing Test A full list of the possible comments is included on the wiki.
  • 12. Students’ Point of View They can adopt either of The point of view the perspectives students take on the described in the promptissue will NOT affect the OR present a different score point of view on the issue
  • 13. Prompt Features• Designed with the time limit in mind• Designed to reflect students’ interests and experiences• Provides blank lined space—nearly four full pages!• Not read aloud to students• Provides unlined space in the test booklet for prewriting (not scored)• Must be in pencil• Encouraged NOT to skip lines• Not to write in the margins• Allowed to make corrections and additions “neatly” between the lines of the essay• Warned to write legibly since illegible essays will NOT be scored
  • 14. Sample PromptAt some high schools, teachers have considered allowing eachstudent to choose the books he or she will read for English classrather than requiring all students in class to read the same books.Some teachers support such a policy because they think studentswill greatly improve their reading skills if they read books theyfind interesting. Other teachers do not support such a policybecause they think that students will learn more by participatingin class discussions with others who have read the same books. Inyour opinion, should each individual student be allowed to choosethe books he or she reads for English class?In your essay, take a position on this question. You may writeabout either one of the two points of view given, or you maypresent a different point of view on this question. Use specificreasons and examples to support your position.