Posted May 30, 2006
updated June 12, 2006

This FAQ will be updated on a daily basis.

Teachers are strongly encouraged to use the training materials (Anchors) to aid them in scoring. Many questions will be answered by referring to these materials first.  

For additional questions regarding scoring the NYSESLAT, please contact Harcourt’s Customer Support Center (CSC) at 1-800-763-2306 or e-mail



Q:  Who can score the NYSESLAT Writing? 5/30/06

A:  The person responsible for administer/score the NYSESLAT must be a certified teacher or administrator, able to carry out standard examination procedures, and should have special training in administering/scoring the NYSESLAT. To ensure accurate and reliable results, the examiner should become thoroughly familiar with these procedures before attempting to administer/score the test.

Q:   Does the NYSESLAT Writing Scoring require one or two scorers per student test this year? 5/30/06

A:  Since one section of the test, Writing Conventions, is multiple choice and machine scored, one teacher can score the other two sections of the test, Prewriting and Writing.

Q: Can itinerant teachers travel from building to building with the documents to facilitate their scoring process?  updated 6/12/06

A: Teachers should not be traveling with test materials from building to building because this could quickly result in breach situations.  However, if tests will be scored at an off site location please securely box or package materials and take all measures to ensure security of the materials.

Q:  What is Holistic Scoring? 5/30/06

A: In Holistic Scoring, the reader concentrates on evaluating what the student says, not how the student says it. Mechanical errors are disregarded unless they are so prevalent that they interfere with the understanding of what the student is trying to say. Some questions considered during Holistic Scoring are:

Q:  What is an Anchor Set? 5/30/06

A:   A clear-cut example of a rubric score point. A sampling that represents different types of papers at each score point. The anchors are used to compare other papers to – both in training and live scoring.   Anchors enable the reader to internalize the score points, which leads to consistency and accuracy in scoring. The anchors are referred to when making scoring decisions. They are the keys to understanding how to score. They help differentiate between the "fine lines" that many papers have. There are usually two to three anchors per score point in an Anchor Set.

Q:  The Grade 7-8 anchor paper is duplicated on Page 62 of the training set and page 208 of the scoring guide. 5/30/06

A:   The paper number in the Key and Annotation is incorrect, but the score and explanation are correct.

Q: The directions in the SAM contradict what is written on the Green and Pink labels.  How are the materials supposed to be sent back? posted 6/12/06

A:  Please follow the directions on the Labels.  Green Labels go on all unused materials and Pink Labels go on all used writing materials.  Please feel free to call the CSC, at 1-800-763-2306, for more clarification.


Pre-Writing Questions:


Q:  For the pre-writing section, there is a discrepancy between the rubric and the directions. The rubric specifies two ideas for a score of 2 and the directions to not. 5/30/06

A:  The training Anchors should clarify what is acceptable for scoring.

Writing Questions:

Q: If a writing response is not related to the prompt in any way, how should it be scored? 5/30/06

A:  It's an off-topic and should be scored a 0.


Q: Since each level of the test covers several grades, should the scorer consider the grade level of the student in scoring the writing section? 5/30/06

A:  No. The score received by students in different grade levels is reflected by their placement on the vertical scale but their performance level is indicated by their grade-standing within the grade level as defined by the standard setting committee.


Q:  How is that considered in the scoring of the writing section? 5/30/06

A:  When the scorer uses the training materials, similar samples will discriminate between the score points.

Students with Disabilities:

Q:  I currently have a student who has an IEP. His testing modifications say he should not be graded on spelling. How will that apply to the NYSESLAT since spelling is part of the assessing? 5/30/06

A:  Teachers can score the writing without taking into consideration spelling when students have an IEP that explicitly disallows scoring it. Moreover, the rubric is holistic and spelling is only a very small component, so this type of scoring should not greatly affect the validity of the score.