Raters’ Perception and Expertise in Evaluating Second Language Compositions

Document Type : Research Paper


Zanjan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Zanjan, Iran


The consideration of rater training is very important in construct validation of a writing test because it is through training that raters are adapted to the use of students’ writing ability instead of their own criteria for assessing compositions (Charney, 1984). However, although training has been discussed in the literature of writing assessment, there is little research regarding raters’ perceptions and understandings of the training program. Although a few studies have looked at the differences between trained and untrained raters in writing assessment (Cumming, 1990; Huot, 1990), few studies have used a pre-and post-training design. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the training program on experienced and inexperienced raters with regard to a pre-and post- training design. Twelve EFL raters scored 45 pre-rated benchmark essay compositions by an authorized IELTS trainer. These essay compositions were scored before, during and after the training program. The results regarding the comparison across raters showed that inexperienced raters had wider range of inconsistency before training but they became more consistent than experienced raters after training.


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