School of Literature, Communication, and Culture
Regents' Testing Program
Rating Standards for the Regents' Essay Exam
The essay portion of the Regents' Exam is graded by three independent readers, all of whom are composition instructors in the University System of Georgia. Each reader will independently rate your essay on a scale of 1 to 3. The essay must receive a grade of 2 or higher from at least two of the readers in order to pass.
The Testing Subcommittee of the University System Academic Committee on English provides essay raters with the following basic, but not exhaustive, guidelines:
1: The “1” essay fails to demonstrate competence. It has any one of the following problems to an extraordinary degree or it has several to a limited degree:
- It lacks a central idea
- It lacks a clear organizational plan
- It does not develop its points or develops them in a repetitious, incoherent, or illogical way
- It does not relate directly to the assigned topic
- It contains several serious grammatical errors
- It contains numerous mechanical errors
- Ordinary, everyday words are used inaccurately and unidiomatically
- It contains a limited vocabulary so that the words chosen frequently do not serve the writer’s purpose
- Syntax is frequently rudimentary or tangled
- The essay is so brief that the rater cannot make an accurate judgment of the writer’s ability
2: The “2” essay meets the following basic criteria:
- It has a central idea related directly to the assigned topic and presented with sufficient clarity that the reader is aware of the writer’s purpose.
- The organization is clear enough for the reader to perceive the writer’s plan.
- The paragraphs coherently present some evidence or details to substantiate the points.
- The writer uses ordinary, everyday words accurately and idiomatically and generally avoids both the monotony created by series of choppy, simple sentences and the incoherence caused by long, tangled sentences.
- Although the essay may contain a few serious grammatical errors and several mechanical errors, they are not of sufficient severity or frequency to obscure the sense of what the writer is saying.
3: The “3” essay shows distinction. It meets all and exceeds most of the criteria for a “2.” The ideas are expressed freshly and vividly, and the essay arouses the reader’s interest to a greater extent that the typical “2” essay.
In general, when you write your essay, you should take care to do the following:
Additional Information and Resources:
Please direct any other questions regarding the Regents' Exam or RGTR 1098/RGTE 1099 to
© 2006 LCC at The Georgia Institute of Technology