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How Does the Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation Service Work?

How the Criterion® Online Writing Evaluation Service Works

  • The patented e-rater® scoring engine was developed at ETS to provide both annotated diagnostic feedback and holistic scoring based on level-specific models built from essays pre-scored by ETS-trained readers.
  • The e-rater scoring engine provides diagnostic trait feedback in five key categories — Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Style and Organization & Development — which are used by the student to guide the process of revision.
  • The computer-generated holistic score is aligned to each grade/level based on models built from essays previously scored by human readers. The holistic score reflects the overall quality of the writing. It is a single numerical score given to the essay as a whole. Scores range from 1 to 6 or 1 to 4, with 1 being the lowest.

When compared with a human scorer, the e-rater scoring engine provides holistic scores that are in close agreement with human scores.

While it supports all stages of student writing, the Criterion service does not grade essay content and cannot take the place of teacher instruction and feedback. It provides supplemental feedback to help improve writing skills. This saves time and helps instructors enhance their classroom instruction.

Using the Criterion Service

Instructors create their own essays topics or select from the Criterion topic library. Students then write their essays online, and the Criterion tool automatically scores their writing and provides instant feedback they can use to revise and resubmit their essays.