Office of State Assessment

NYSESLAT Scoring FAQs, May 2007


Teachers are strongly encouraged to use the training materials (Anchor Sets) 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 customersupportcenter@harcourt.com.



Q: Who is eligible to administer and /or score the NYSESLAT Writing?

A: The person responsible for administering and/or scoring the NYSESLAT must be a certified teacher or administrator who is able to carry out standard examination procedures, and who has special training in administering/scoring the NYSESLAT. To ensure accurate and reliable results, the examiner must 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?

A: One teacher may score the Pre-Writing and Writing sections of the test, while the remaining section, Writing Conventions, is multiple choice and machine scored.


Q: May teachers travel from building to building with the tests and answer papers to facilitate their scoring process?  

A: In general, teachers should not move test materials from building to building because this drastically increases the potential for security lapses. However, if tests will be scored at an off-site location, the security of all NYSESLAT testing materials must be assured by the principal. Please securely box or package materials and take all security precautions as instructed by the building principal.

Q: What is Holistic Scoring?

A: In Holistic Scoring, the reader concentrates on evaluating what the student says. Mechanical errors are disregarded unless they are so prevalent that they interfere with the scorer’s understanding of what the student is trying to say. Some questions considered during Holistic Scoring are:

  • How well is the prompt addressed by the student?
  • How is the writing developed?
  • Does the writing "flow"? (Is there continuation between thoughts? Is it easy to read?)


Q: What is an Anchor Set?

A: An anchor set is a sampling of two or three papers (anchors) per score point that provide a clear-cut example of a rubric score point. Anchors are the keys to understanding how to score. They are used to compare other papers against, both in training and in live scoring. Anchors enable the scorer to internalize the score points and to differentiate between some of the "fine lines" in scoring papers. Anchors should be referred to when each scoring decision is made to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Pre-Writing Questions:


Q: In the Pre-Writing section of the Grades 5-6 (2-point rubric), we have a student who gave a full and clear response to the question by combining her multiple ideas into one. She provided one complex thought that addressed both pictures. We strongly feel her response merits a score of 2, as the question did not require two separate ideas in order to be fully answered. Is this acceptable? (5/22/07)


A: A score of 2 is acceptable if the response is complete and covers all required information.

Q: The chart for Grades 7-8 Training Sets for Pre-Writing Item 2 Set B seems to be a duplicate of page 28. Is this correct? (5/18/07)


A:  The chart provided on page 36 of the NYSESLAT Spring 2007, Grades 7-8 Training Sets for the training for scoring Pre-Writing Item 2 is a duplicate of the chart found on page 28 and therefore does not include the appropriate comments or scores for
Pre-Writing Item 2 Training Set B.  A notice has been issued by the New York State Education Department which included the needed replacement chart and is available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/nyseslat/


Writing Questions:

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


A: It is off topic and must be assigned a score of 0.

Q: Since the test is administered to students in grade spans, should the scorer consider the grade level of the student when scoring the Writing section?

A: No. The student’s grade level will be taken into account when you convert the raw score to the scaled score. The performance level is based on the scaled score ranges set for each grade.

Q: Regarding the Writing segment of the K‑1 Test, Item #5, if the letters are transposed, I do not believe the word meaning is changed by the "invented" spelling. Since the response demonstrates sophisticated phonemic and phonetic knowledge, I question whether a rating of 1 is appropriate for this response and think it is fair to assign a score of 2.  (5/22/07)


A: This anchor paper was selected and the annotations written by New York State teachers. It was determined be a score of 1.

Students with Disabilities:

Q: I currently have a student with an IEP whose testing accommodations include the deletion of spelling requirements. Since spelling is part of the assessment, how will that apply to the NYSESLAT?

A: Teachers may score the Writing section without considering spelling only when the student’s IEP or 504 Plan explicitly indicates "deletion of spelling requirements" as a testing accommodation.  The rubrics are holistic, with spelling as only one component, so this accommodation when authorized by an IEP results in a valid score.
Last Updated: January 6, 2010