Sometimes, the strongest rhetorical position you can take is to admit ignorance. This can be hard because the classroom has trained you to provide clear answers. Paradoxically, acknowledging the limits of your own experience can give your writing credibility. So by all means, write with authority when you analyze the given perspectives, but when it comes to your own position, it’s okay to say, “there may not be a solution” or even, “maybe we can’t bridge these divides.” If these issues were easily solvable, we wouldn’t still be talking about them. The ACT knows that, and if you recognize it in your writing, you’ll be adding the complexity that readers reward.
IN 1986, UCOPE set the general standard for passing by approving the AWPE Scoring Guide. There also is a regular annual procedure for applying these general standards to each new examination. From the pretest essays, the Universitywide Analytical Writing Placement Examination Committee assembles a set of papers representing the weakest to the strongest performance. Members reach their own consensus about the scores these papers should receive. They then provide this set of papers to UCOPE. At its March meeting UCOPE reviews these essays and decides independently on the scores. (In almost all cases both committees assign the same scores to the papers.) These essays and their UCOPE scores set the standard by which the chief reader and the room leaders choose essays from the May administration to exemplify the standards for all the readers who score papers in June.