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Homepage Home > Professional Development > Workshops & Summer Institutes > SAT® Workshops for Teachers > Holistic Scoring Workshop

Holistic Scoring Workshop

This workshop provides teachers with practice using holistic scoring, which judges a piece of writing by the overall impression it creates. Teachers learn:

  • How to use holistic scoring to assess writing
  • Sound strategies to assist student writers
  • The role of effective writing prompts in student success and valid assessment

Schools are under more and more pressure to improve student writing and to provide quantitative data about that improvement. This workshop addresses both of these needs by training teachers to use a holistic method of assessing writing and by providing teachers with sound strategies to assist student writers.

Teachers will learn how to evaluate essays using a scoring guide in conjunction with sample essays. They will also learn the best methods to help students successfully perform timed writing tasks. Finally, they will learn how to conduct their own holistic scoring sessions—from constructing prompts for timed-writing tests that are accessible and thought provoking to selecting sample essays with which to train readers to running a reading—so that they can share these methods with their classes, their departments, and their schools.

SAT Workshop Schedule

Workshop Goals

  • Evaluate and score essays holistically using a scoring guide
  • Construct successful writing prompts for timed writing conditions
  • Help students write essays more successfully under timed writing conditions
  • Select sample essays to be used for reader training
  • Conduct holistic writing assessments in participants' own classrooms, departments, and schools


Part I: Holistic Scoring Training Session

  • Principles of Holistic Scoring
  • Using the Scoring Guide
  • Review of Sample Essay Question
  • Scoring Prescored Anchor Papers
  • Scoring Unscored Anchor Papers
  • Scoring the Sets of Three Papers
  • Scoring special Cases
  • For the Classroom
  • Q&A


Part II: Using Holistic Scoring in the Classroom

  • Selecting Sample Essays
  • Scoring and Selecting the Sample Essays
  • For the Classroom

Part III: Tips for Writing Under Time Constraints

Part IV: Writing Successful Prompts

  • Review of Criteria for Writing Successful Prompts
  • Writing and Evaluating Essay Prompts
  • For the Classroom

Workshop Authors

Brian A. Bremen is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin. His specialties include American literature, modernism, and literary theory. He is currently at work on a book that examines the ways in which contemporaneous religious and scientific thought interacted in the formation of modern literature, tentatively called What Was Modernism (and Does It Still Matter)?

Cathy A. D'Agostino is a lead teacher at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where she started the AP English Language and Composition program and co-taught the interdisciplinary AP English Literature and AP European History course. She has served as a consultant for the College Board since 1988, conducting AP English Language and AP English Literature workshops. She has served as a Reader and a Table Leader for the AP English Literature Exam Reading, as well as a reader, table leader, and assistant chief reader for the SAT writing section. Her work with AP and the College Board has led her to consult with school districts in 23 states on developing AP English courses, improving composition instruction, building Vertical Teams, and developing reading strategies in English classes.

Customized Entry Pages


To register for AP Teacher Workshops, visit AP Central: Professional Development Workshops and Institutes

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