Effect of Holistic vs. Analytic Assessment on Improving Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Writing Skill

Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University, South Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran


In assessing foreign language writing, holistic and analytic scoring can be used to measure a variety of discourse and linguistic features. This study aimed to investigate the possible significant effect of analyt- ic and holistic assessments on improving writing skill among Iranian EFL learners. For this purpose, two groups of intermediate EFL learners, after being homogenized, were divided into two experimental groups. In treatment phase, groups A’s compositions were scored holistically while group B’s composi- tions were scored analytically using Paulus’s scoring rubric as the benchmark. The result of Paired t-tests revealed that both scoring methods caused statistically significant differences between pre- and post-test in both groups. However, the result of the independent samples t-test in post-test between the two exper- imental groups showed that whether the writings of both groups were scored analytically or holistically, the group, which received analytic scoring during the treatment outperformed the group, which received holistic scoring. This study could have pedagogical implications in that it could encourage writing teach- ers to take the findings into account to improve the quality of writing as the Cinderella skill in a foreign language instruction and avoid sweeping the writing assignments under the practicality carpet.


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