English

Standards are provided for each English Test score range (except for the 1–12 range) along a score scale that is common to:

View or print the set of English Standards on two 8-1/2 x 11 pages (PDF).

  Score Range
13–15
Score Range
16–19
Score Range
20–23
Score Range
24–27
Score Range
28–32
Score Range
33–36
Topic Development
in Terms of Purpose and Focus
 

Identify the basic purpose or role of a specified phrase or sentence

Delete a clause or sentence because it is obviously irrelevant to the essay

Identify the central idea or main topic of a straightforward piece of writing

Determine relevancy when presented with a variety of sentence-level details

Identify the focus of a simple essay, applying that knowledge to add a sentence that sharpens that focus or to determine if an essay has met a specified goal

Delete material primarily because it disturbs the flow and development of the paragraph

Add a sentence to accomplish a fairly straightforward purpose such as illustrating a given statement

Apply an awareness of the focus and purpose of a fairly involved essay to determine the rhetorical effect and suitability of an existing phrase or sentence, or to determine the need to delete plausible but irrelevant material

Add a sentence to accomplish a subtle rhetorical purpose such as to emphasize, to add supporting detail, or to express meaning through connotation

Determine whether a complex essay has accomplished a specific purpose

Add a phrase or sentence to accomplish a complex purpose, often expressed in terms of the main focus of the essay

Organization,
Unity, and Coherence
Use conjunctive adverbs or phrases to show time relationships in simple narrative essays (e.g., then, this time) Select the most logical place to add a sentence in a paragraph

Use conjunctive adverbs or phrases to express straightforward logical relationships (e.g., first, afterward, in response)

Decide the most logical place to add a sentence in an essay

Add a sentence that introduces a simple paragraph

Determine the need for conjunctive adverbs or phrases to create subtle logical connections between sentences (e.g., therefore, however, in addition)

Rearrange the sentences in a fairly uncomplicated paragraph for the sake of logic

Add a sentence to introduce or conclude the essay or to provide a transition between paragraphs when the essay is fairly straightforward

Make sophisticated distinctions concerning the logical use of conjunctive adverbs or phrases, particularly when signaling a shift between paragraphs

Rearrange sentences to improve the logic and coherence of a complex paragraph

Add a sentence to introduce or conclude a fairly complex paragraph

Consider the need for introductory sentences or transitions, basing decisions on a thorough understanding of both the logic and rhetorical effect of the paragraph and essay

  Score Range
13–15
Score Range
16–19
Score Range
20–23
Score Range
24–27
Score Range
28–32
Score Range
33–36
Word Choice
in Terms of Style, Tone, Clarity, and Economy

Revise sentences to correct awkward and confusing arrangements of sentence elements

Revise vague nouns and pronouns that create obvious logic problems

Delete obviously synonymous and wordy material in a sentence

Revise expressions that deviate from the style of an essay

Delete redundant material when information is repeated in different parts of speech (e.g., "alarmingly startled")

Use the word or phrase most consistent with the style and tone of a fairly straightforward essay

Determine the clearest and most logical conjunction to link clauses

Revise a phrase that is redundant in terms of the meaning and logic of the entire sentence

Identify and correct ambiguous pronoun references

Use the word or phrase most appropriate in terms of the content of the sentence and tone of the essay

Correct redundant material that involves sophisticated vocabulary and sounds acceptable as conversational English (e.g., "an aesthetic viewpoint" versus "the outlook of an aesthetic viewpoint")

Correct vague and wordy or clumsy and confusing writing containing sophisticated language

Delete redundant material that involves subtle concepts or that is redundant in terms of the paragraph as a whole
Sentence Structure and Formation

Use conjunctions or punctuation to join simple clauses

Revise shifts in verb tense between simple clauses in a sentence or between simple adjoining sentences

Determine the need for punctuation and conjunctions to avoid awkward-sounding sentence fragments and fused sentences

Decide the appropriate verb tense and voice by considering the meaning of the entire sentence

Recognize and correct marked disturbances of sentence flow and structure (e.g., participial phrase fragments, missing or incorrect relative pronouns, dangling or misplaced modifiers)

Revise to avoid faulty placement of phrases and faulty coordination and subordination of clauses in sentences with subtle structural problems

Maintain consistent verb tense and pronoun person on the basis of the preceding clause or sentence

Use sentence-combining techniques, effectively avoiding problematic comma splices, run-on sentences, and sentence fragments, especially in sentences containing compound subjects or verbs

Maintain a consistent and logical use of verb tense and pronoun person on the basis of information in the paragraph or essay as a whole

Work comfortably with long sentences and complex clausal relationships within sentences, avoiding weak conjunctions between independent clauses and maintaining parallel structure between clauses
  Score Range
13–15
Score Range
16–19
Score Range
20–23
Score Range
24–27
Score Range
28–32
Score Range
33–36
Conventions
of Usage
Solve such basic grammatical problems as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but commonly used verbs and how to form comparative and superlative adjectives

Solve such grammatical problems as whether to use an adverb or adjective form, how to ensure straightforward subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement, and which preposition to use in simple contexts

Recognize and use the appropriate word in frequently confused pairs such as there and their, past and passed, and led and lead

Use idiomatically appropriate prepositions, especially in combination with verbs (e.g., long for, appeal to)

Ensure that a verb agrees with its subject when there is some text between the two

Ensure that a pronoun agrees with its antecedent when the two occur in separate clauses or sentences

Identify the correct past and past participle forms of irregular and infrequently used verbs and form present-perfect verbs by using have rather than of

Correctly use reflexive pronouns, the possessive pronouns its and your, and the relative pronouns who and whom

Ensure that a verb agrees with its subject in unusual situations (e.g., when the subject-verb order is inverted or when the subject is an indefinite pronoun)

Provide idiomatically and contextually appropriate prepositions following verbs in situations involving sophisticated language or ideas

Ensure that a verb agrees with its subject when a phrase or clause between the two suggests a different number for the verb

Conventions
of Punctuation
Delete commas that create basic sense problems (e.g., between verb and direct object)

Provide appropriate punctuation in straightforward situations (e.g., items in a series)

Delete commas that disturb the sentence flow (e.g., between modifier and modified element)

Use commas to set off simple parenthetical phrases

Delete unnecessary commas when an incorrect reading of the sentence suggests a pause that should be punctuated (e.g., between verb and direct object clause)

Use punctuation to set off complex parenthetical phrases

Recognize and delete unnecessary commas based on a careful reading of a complicated sentence (e.g., between the elements of a compound subject or compound verb joined by and)

Use apostrophes to indicate simple possessive nouns

Recognize inappropriate uses of colons and semicolons

Use commas to set off a nonessential/ nonrestrictive appositive or clause

Deal with multiple punctuation problems (e.g., compound sentences containing unnecessary commas and phrases that may or may not be parenthetical)

Use an apostrophe to show possession, especially with irregular plural nouns

Use a semicolon to indicate a relationship between closely related independent clauses

Use a colon to introduce an example or an elaboration
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
1–12
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
13–15
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
16–19
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
20–23
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
24–27
Ideas for Progress
Score Range
28–32
 

Notes:

  • Students who score in the 1–12 range are most likely beginning to develop the knowledge and skills assessed in the other ranges.
  • Standards for the 28–32 range are specific to PLAN and the ACT while the Standards for the 33–36 range pertain to the ACT only.
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