Holistic versus Analytic Evaluation of EFL Writing: A Case Study

  •  Thikra K. Ghalib    
  •  Abdulghani A. Al-Hattami    


This paper investigates the performance of holistic and analytic scoring rubrics in the context of EFL writing. Specifically, the paper compares EFL students’ scores on a writing task using holistic and analytic scoring rubrics. The data for the study was collected from 30 participants attending an English undergraduate program in a Yemeni university. The authors used psychometric statistics (Inter-rater Agreement, Intra-Class Correlation, t-test and ANOVA) to compare the performance of the students on the two rubrics in accurately diagnosing students’ strengths and weaknesses and placing them along a continuum of foreign language writing proficiency. The raters of the writing samples included three experienced instructors working at the same department. The results of correlating the students and raters’ holistic and analytic scores and of examining the variations among the correlations provide evidence for the reliability and validity of both rubrics. Analytic scoring rubrics, however, placed the examinees along a more clearly defined scale of writing ability, and are, therefore, more reliable than holistic scoring rubric instruments for evaluating EFL writing for achievement purposes than holistic scoring rubric.

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