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Scoring Guide for Government/Civics

The essay portion of the Golden State Examination in Government/Civics is scored using criteria based on the general scoring guide below. A detailed training package for scorers; addressing what students are expected to accomplish in the essay, is developed to score each student response.

Score Point 5 / Score Point 4 / Score Point 3 / Score Point 2 / Score Point 1




Score Point 5

The essay shows excellent knowledge and understanding. The essay:
  • states a position coherently, using a thesis that guides development
  • demonstrates thoughtful interpretation and analysis that supports logical conclusions
  • supports a position with significant, relevant, and accurate specifics; deals with all aspects of the prompt; does not compromise position with minor mistakes
  • effectively links documents to outside historical data not contained in the prompt
  • conveys knowledge and ideas effectively

Score Point 4

The essay shows very good knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • states a position with a clear thesis
  • demonstrates reasonable analysis and/or interpretation and reaches reasonable conclusions
  • supports the position with appropriate and generally accurate specifics; addresses all areas of the prompt but may develop one part of the question in more depth than other parts; errors do not hinder stated position
  • effectively links documents to outside historical data not contained in the prompt
  • conveys knowledge and ideas clearly

Score Point 3

The essay shows adequate knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • states a general position with partially-developed or simple thesis
  • presents a position and reaches plausible conclusions
  • provides generally correct specifics in less extensive depth or quantity; may not address all aspects of the prompt; errors do not hinder comprehension
  • contains information not contained in the prompt
  • conveys knowledge and ideas adequately

Score Point 2

The essay shows limited knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • takes a general approach to the topic
  • may present a position without support; may be largely narrative; may not reach conclusions
  • may provide limited specifics that may be largely descriptive; may contain major or numerous errors; may not complete all tasks
  • may depend solely on the prompt for historical information or ignore the information provided in the prompt
  • conveys knowledge and ideas in a manner that lacks clarity

Score Point I

The essay shows little or no understanding of the topic. The essay:

  • may not address appropriate historical time period or topic
  • lacks a position or analysis; contains misconceptions or fallacious reasoning
  • may only quote or restate information from the prompt
  • conveys knowledge and information in a manner that impedes understanding


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