Writing assessment has always been the focus of attention as an important domain of inquiry by many testing researchers. The current study investigates the rating behaviors of 4 EFL raters including 2 experienced and 2 novice raters, using Jacobs et al.’s (1981) EFL Composition Profile. More specifically, this study’s main concern is comparing the frequency, number and types of these two groups of raters regarding their rating behaviors. In order to analyze the raters’ comments and statements during the rating process, Think-aloud protocols (TAPs) were used by the researcher asking the 4 raters to state loudly whatever they did, felt and even thought of during the rating processes. Results showed that the experienced raters’ number and frequency of behaviors were higher than those of the novice raters who adopted macro-strategies and mostly attended to the lower-order aspects of essays. The experienced raters adopted micro-strategies and attended mostly to the higher-order aspects of the essays. The current study has added many findings to previous research in several ways expending upon the findings in this domain.
Keywords: Rater, Rating process, Rating scale, Rating behavior, Writing assessment.
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