n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - The development and validation of a rating scale for ESL essay writing

Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



This article describes an empirical procedure for developing and validating a rating scale for assessing essays in English as a second language. The study was motivated by a concern for the validity of the scoring grid currently used to assess ESL essay writing at Grade 12 in the final end-of-year examination in South Africa. Following an argument-based validation framework based on the work of Kane, we describe the development, trialling and revision of a rating scale. An empirical procedure, based on an analysis of a sample of Grade 12 ESL essay writing, was followed to develop a new rating scale. The validation process is presented in four phases as part of a specification of an evaluation inference.

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