Writing Inside the Box: A Closer Look at How Language Mistakes Affect the Grading of Writing Assignments
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The purpose of this study is to determine how specific language mistakes can influence the assessment of a written work when a rubric is used. In this study 45 written works by Dutch 3rd and 5th year secondary school students of English were assessed by 5 different Dutch teachers of English who used the same rubric for their assessment. The results show that certain types of language mistakes have a significant negative correlation with the language category of the rubric, but also other (unrelated) aspects of the rubric such as structure and content. When examining the results for each group this significant correlation still exists, mostly for the group of 3rd year students. None of the mistakes had any predictive value on any of the rubric categories besides language, but certain types of language mistakes seem to have a higher impact on the score for language. Three types of language mistakes, namely: spelling, verb tenses, and usage mistakes had a significant predictive value for the language score, but when taking into account the average amount of mistakes made of these types, the difference it would make would be relatively low.