The written essay portion of the Accuplacer test measures the student’s ability to write. The ability to write effectively can be an indicator of academic success. The essay portion may be electronic or with pen and paper and may or may not be timed, depending on the school giving the test.
Not every school gives an essay test with the Accuplacer, as this portion of the test is optional. In this portion of the test, the student is given a topic and asked to take a position on the issue. The goal of the essay is to convey a clear message through organized ideas. The student is not graded based upon their stance; rather, the student evaluated in light of whether the stance is supported through their writing.
The Accuplacer essay is graded based on five criteria:
- Focus – the extent to which the essay stays on the main subject.
- Organization – the structure of the response with an ordered sequence of supporting ideas and no extraneous information.
- Development and Support – after the main idea is stated, the supporting ideas must be developed clearly and presented with necessary details.
- Sentence structure – the use of creative writing beyond basic sentences.
- Mechanical conventions – writing that has little or no errors with proper grammar and spelling.