Praxis® Core Essay Scoring

Praxis Core Writing Test Overview

The Core Academic Skills for Educators Test in Writing measures the examinee's academic writing skills necessary for a successful career in education. The skills assessed are in alignment with the Common Core State Standards for Writing. The essays make up two of the three-part Praxis Core Writing Test. There is a section of selected-response questions in addition to the essay prompts. The test is computer-delivered for both the essay questions and the selected-response. Getting a good score on the Praxis Core Writing is important - it could make all the difference in beginning your teaching career.

How Is the Praxis Core Writing Exam Scored?

The Praxis Core Writing essay prompts are scored on a scale of one through six. A score of one is the least desirable and demonstrates significant fundamental deficiencies in writing. A score of six is the most desirable and is comparable to receiving an A on traditional grading scales. An essay with a score of six demonstrates a high degree of competence.

Is the Praxis Writing Test Scored by Humans?

The two essays are not scored by computer like traditional selected-response questions. Unlike selected-response questions, essays require trained readers who can judge the overall quality of an essay rather than count each individual error. The readers maintain the understanding that the examinee does not have exposure to the writing prompts ahead of time.

Argumentative Essay Scoring Rubric

The objective of the argumentative essay is to produce an essay that supports a claim using relevant and sufficient evidence. This section provides an overview of what an argumentative essay from the 1-6 scoring would entail.

Score of Six

  • High degree of competence demonstrated
  • Writer's position on the topic is clearly stated
  • Ideas are organized and developed logically with insightful connections made
  • Key ideas are explained and supported with well-chosen reasons, examples, or details
  • Effective sentence variety displayed
  • Facility in the use of language is clearly displayed
  • Generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

Score of Five

  • Clear competence demonstrated
  • Writer's position is clearly stated or implied
  • Ideas are organized and developed clearly with connections made between them
  • Key ideas are explained and supported with relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • Some sentence variety displayed
  • Facility in the use of language is displayed
  • Generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

Score of Four

  • Competence demonstrated
  • Writer's position is stated or implied
  • Control in the organization and development of ideas is shown
  • Some key ideas are explained and supported with adequate reasons, examples, or details
  • Adequate use of language displayed
  • Control of grammar, usage, and mechanics, but may display some errors

Score of Three

  • Some competence demonstrated
  • Writer's position is limited in statement or implication
  • Limited control in the organization and development of ideas displayed
  • Inadequate reasons, examples, or details to explain key ideas provided
  • An accumulation of errors in the use of language displayed
  • An accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

Score of Two

  • Seriously flawed
  • No clear position or thesis
  • Weak organization or very little development
  • Few or no relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • Frequent serious errors in the use of language
  • Frequent Serious errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics

Score of One

  • Fundamental deficiencies demonstrated
  • Serious and persistent writing errors
  • Incoherent
  • Underdeveloped

Praxis Source-Based Essay Scoring Rubric

The objective of the Praxis Source-Based Essay, also referred to as the Informative/Explanatory Essay, is to produce an informative essay that shows the writer's ability to read, comprehend, and communicate information from valid sources. The writer should be able to select, organize, and analyze the content. This section provides an overview of what an explanatory essay from the 1-6 scoring would entail.

Score of Six

  • High degree of competence demonstrated
  • Writer insightfully explains why the concerns are important and supports the explanation with effective links between the two sources and well-chosen reasons, examples, or details
  • Information is incorporated from both sources to identify and explain important concerns from the issue discussed in the sources
  • Ideas are organized and developed logically
  • Effective sentence variety displayed
  • Facility in the use of language is clearly displayed
  • Generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Both sources are cited when paraphrasing or quoting

Score of Five

  • Clear competence demonstrated
  • Clearly explained why the concerns are important and supported the explanation with clear links between the two sources and relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • Information is incorporated from both sources to identify and explain important concerns discussed in the sources
  • Ideas are organized and developed clearly
  • Some sentence variety displayed
  • Facility in the use of language is displayed
  • Generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Both sources are cited when paraphrasing or quoting

Score of Four

  • Competence demonstrated
  • Importance of the concerns are adequately explained and supported with some links between the two sources and adequate reasons, examples, or details
  • Information incorporated from both sources to identify and explain important concerns discussed in the sources
  • Control in the organization and development of ideas is shown
  • Adequate use of language displayed
  • Control of grammar, usage, and mechanics, but may display some errors
  • Both sources are cited when paraphrasing or quoting

Score of Three

  • Some competence demonstrated
  • Limited in explaining why concerns are important
  • Only one source incorporated to identify and explain concerns discussed in the sources, or both sources are incorporated inadequately
  • Limited control in the organization and development of ideas displayed
  • An accumulation of errors in the use of language displayed
  • An accumulation of errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Sources cited when paraphrasing or quoting

Score of Two

  • Seriously flawed
  • Failure to explain why the concerns are important
  • Only one source is weakly cited or failure to identify concerns regarding the issue discussed in the sources
  • Few or no relevant reasons, examples, or details
  • Weak organization or very little development
  • Frequent serious errors in the use of language
  • Frequent serious errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Failure to cite any sources when paraphrasing or quoting

Score of One

  • Fundamental deficiencies demonstrated
  • Serious and persistent writing errors
  • Incoherent
  • Underdeveloped

Praxis Core Writing Score Requirements

There is no official passing standard set by the Education Testing Service (ETS). Each state or licensing agency sets the Praxis Core test passing scores.

State Requirements for Passing Scores

Not every state requires the Praxis Core Writing test, the test may not be necessary for your situation. You can find your state requirements by using the ETS website. Use the ETS State Requirements tool page to find your passing requirements. While each state or licensing agency sets their own passing requirement, the passing score for many of the states is 162.

Can You Transfer Your Praxis Writing Score?

You can request your Praxis score report to be sent to additional state agencies. Your score is valid for 10 years. Each report costs $50 per score recipient and is nonrefundable. Receiving your additional scores can be done by ordering online, by phone, by mail, or by fax. Additional score reports are issued within five calendar days for online and phone requests and approximately seven business days for mailed or faxed requests. It is recommended to save a copy of your score report for future reference.

How to Get a Good Score on the Praxis Essay

Preparation is key for achieving a good score on Praxis Writing essay. Time management can be tricky, and we suggest taking time to practice the 30-minute writing period. The argumentative essay is often the one examinees find toughest to manage their time on. Here is a breakdown of how we suggest you spend your 30 minutes:

  1. Spend 2 minutes thinking about the topic.
  2. Take 5 minutes to compose your thesis statement.
  3. Use 3 minutes to write a brief outline that includes your topic sentences and supporting details.
  4. Craft the remainder of your essay in 18 minutes.
  5. The remaining 2 minutes should be spent on proofreading.

Time management is less of the issue for the source-based essay, but here are some great reminders to help craft the best content:

  • Draw information from both sources
  • Use your own observations, reading, or experience
  • Cite both sources correctly
  • When paraphrasing, quoting, or summarizing the sources, cite each source by referring to the author's last name, the title of the source, or use any other clear identifier.

Practicing Time Management at Home

Practice your time management at home by practicing this exercise:

  1. Randomly choose an argumentative essay and/or source-based essay
  2. Set a timer for 30 minutes for each essay you've chosen
  3. Write one complete essay in the 30 minute time frame
  4. Use your school writing center or another trusted reviewer to provide feedback on your writing
  5. Try again using the revisions and guidance provided to you

Continue to run through these exercises until you have become more comfortable with the time constraints and your writing is focused and clear.

Expert Contributor

Kasey Sindel

Kasey Sindel, Ph.D. has worked in education for over 11 years. She began her career as an Education Specialist, developing life science lessons for grades 6-12. She currently works as a middle school science teacher with a focus on the Earth, plant, and chemical sciences. She earned her Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership from Lindenwood University. She also holds a Master's degree in Science Education from Webster University and a Master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the writing Praxis scored?

    Each essay has slightly different criteria that the trained readers will be evaluating. Both essays are scored on a scale of 1 to 6 with the reader looking for a level of high competence in both source-based writing and argumentative writing.

  • What is a passing score on the Praxis Writing?

    The passing score is set by each state or licensing agency. Check with your licensing agency for the minimum passing score.

  • Is the Praxis Core Writing hard?

    The Praxis Core Writing exam can be tough even for natural writers. Practicing time management ahead of time can help prepare you for test day.

  • What is a perfect score on the Praxis Core?

    Scoring a six (6) on an essay of the Praxis Core Writing portion is considered a perfect score. The essays are scored on a scale of one to six, with six being the most desirable.

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