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Scoring Guide for U.S. History

The essay portion of the Golden State Examination in U.S. History 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 specific position clearly, using a thesis that guides development
  • demonstrates a thoughtful and well-reasoned analysis to reach logical conclusions
  • supports conclusions with appropriate and accurate historical information, minor errors, if any, do not compromise position
  • sufficiently covers all areas of the topic
  • conveys knowledge and ideas clearly and effectively

Score Point 4

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

  • states a clear position with a thesis that sets direction
  • demonstrates thoughtful analysis to reach reasonable conclusions
  • supports conclusions with accurate historical information with few errors; mistakes do not significantly compromise position
  • covers all areas of the topic. but may give more attention to one area than another
  • conveys knowledge and ideas clearly

Score Point 3

The essay shows adequate knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • states a general position with a simple or partially developed thesis
  • organizes and uses information to support reasonable conclusions
  • supports conclusions with generally accurate historical information; may contain factual errors, but is balanced by accurate historical information
  • attempts to cover all aspects of the topic; may not complete all tasks
  • conveys knowledge and ideas adequately

Score Point 2

The essay shows limited knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • lacks a clear position or establishes a flawed position partially related to the topic
  • offers a reasonable conclusion without documentation or an analysis that contains misconceptions and/or fallacious reasoning
  • lack accuracy, confines information to limited areas or use it inappropriately; may have numerous and major errors
  • may cover only portions of the topic
  • conveys knowledge and ideas in a manner that lacks clarity

Score Point I

The essay shows I little or no knowledge and understanding. The essay:

  • states no position or establishes a position not related to the topic
  • usually lacks analysis
  • merely mentions several names or events; may have an extremely high error rate
  • does little more than mention the topic or repeat portions of the topic; refers to subject, but does not address topic
  • conveys knowledge and ideas in an incomprehensible or extremelyt gereral manner


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