Is-ness is all A New

Is-ness is all
A New York Times reporter tries grading SAT II essays, and discovers that she’s out of step with the veteran graders. What they think is a top-scoring 6, she thinks is empty blather.

Our instructions don’t help me much: Ignore the handwriting. Read holistically, not analytically. Do not reread. Read supportively, and grade what’s there, not what’s missing. If the paper is absolutely illegible, or completely off topic, give it to your table leader. Read the whole thing before making any judgment, since some papers improve greatly once the student gets going. . . .

What is most helpful to me is a particularly cryptic piece of advice: “We sometimes say you have to grant the “is-ness” of the paper,” said Dr. Agnes Yamada, an English professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

No wonder empty blather scores a 6.

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