Humboldt State University

Official Scoring Guide

6   An essay receiving a score of six will:

  • Address all aspects of the question.

  • Show a good understanding of and insight into the concerns of the question.

  • Be clearly organized.

  • Be well developed.

  • Contain good supporting detail.

An essay receiving a score of six will show a high degree of competence generally, though it may have small imperfections or minor errors in mechanics.

5-4   An essay in the five to four score range will be generally competent but will:

  • Slight a part of the question.

  • Have somewhat unclear organization.

  • Have uneven development.

  • Be somewhat thin in supporting detail.

  • Contain minor mechanical errors.

The distinction between a score of five and a score of four will be determined by the extent and seriousness of the above weaknesses.


  An essay receiving a score of three will:

  • Omit one part of the question or treat the parts of the question superficially.

  • Drift away from the topic or display considerable irrelevancy.

  • Lack supporting detail.

  • Exhibit significant difficulties with organization.

  • Contain frequent grammatical or mechanical errors.

  An essay receiving a score of two will:

  • Be thin or superficial in content.

  • Largely ignore the question or treat it very poorly.

  • Display serious weaknesses in organization.

  • Lack development.

  • Have major faults in diction, grammar, and mechanics.

1   A score of one is used for essays which show little or no understanding of the question or indicate incompetence in structure, syntax, and diction.

0   A score of zero is used for non-response essays and essays that are completely off the topic.


For additional information about the GWPE, please contact: