STAMP WS Benchmark & Rubric Guide


Test takers receive a score (Benchmark Level) for each section of the test. The Writing and Speaking responses are scored by Avant’s Valid-certified raters who use a Scoring Rubric (a scoring tool that lists the criteria for meeting Benchmark Levels). The rubric outlines in detail what expectations are placed upon the test takers for performance at any given level. Test takers who hope to score at a specific level know the characteristics of the work they must produce to achieve that level.

Benchmark Scale

Scoring is done using Benchmark Levels, which are grouped by major levels (Novice, Intermediate and Advanced). Within each major level are three sub-levels that are aligned to ACTFL’s low, mid, and high designations. The Benchmark Levels are 1-7 for Writing and Speaking.

This Benchmark Scale aligns to the ACTFL scale as shown below.

The Avant WorldSpeak Scoring Process for Writing and Speaking Responses

Scoring for the Avant WorldSpeak Writing and Speaking responses is done using the following three-step process and associated rubric.


Overall evaluation of the response to assess for Ratability — is the response on topic and appropriate for the given prompt/ task? If the response is off topic, contains any profanity or includes any menacing or threatening language, the response will be treated as unresponsive or non-ratable and the test taker will receive a “NR” score for that task.


Evaluation of each ratable response to determine a Benchmark Level based upon the Text-Type characteristics, followed by rating of Language Control factors (see below).


The system will then post ratings for each response, which are used to calculate the final score for the domain.

Note: 20% of all test taker scores are rated by a second rater to assist in tracking rater accuracy and reliability.

The same rubric is used for all Speaking and Writing items. Once rated, the average ratings across all Speaking and Writing responses will appear on the summary report page and scores for each response will appear on the detailed score page.

The Avant WorldSpeak Scoring Rubric

Benchmark LevelText Type CharacteristicsLanguage Control
Produces words in target language with no connection. Does not have enough vocabulary or the ability necessary to formulate even simple phrases to address the prompt.Limited language control. Inability to create more than individual words. L1 (first language) influence may be strong. Errors are expected at this level, but the student must be able to produce at least two comprehensible words.
Language production is beyond individual words but clearly shows the lack of ability to construct more than phrases. May include one simple sentence, but incapable of showing more.May make frequent errors, but usually comprehensible to a sympathetic reader/listener. L1 (first language) influence may be present.
Short, common expressions or memorized statements that may be combined together. Able to create at least 2 different simple sentences.Good accuracy for high frequency expressions. Usually comprehensible to a sympathetic reader/listener. Grammatical (syntax, spelling, conjugation) errors are expected at this level but sentences must make sense to be acceptable.
Variety of sentences that utilize different verbs to create independent thoughts, mostly composed of a recombination of learned simple sentences with added detail in the form or prepositional phrases and verbal phrases.Good accuracy with formulaic sentences with some added detail. Errors may occur as student attempts higher level skills. Good Language Control is expected with the majority of the response.
Logical organization of ideas and flow of sentences or statements. Contains at least 2 unique and non-formulaic sentences intermixed with a variety of sentences creating ‘groupings of sentences showing connectedness.Good accuracy evident with possible errors that don’t affect the overall meaning. Delivery may be somewhat choppy. May have repetitive use of concrete vocabulary with occasional use of expanding terms. Accuracy for complex sentences is emerging.
Able to demonstrate an Intermediate-High control of the language. Complexity is evident. Transition words and connectors are used correctly and efficiently a majority of the time to create a flow within the response. Groups of sentences focus on different aspects of the prompt and include transition words or phrases to introduce next concept. Does not have Advanced vocabulary or language to move into the Advanced level.Response is well written and constructed. Intermediate-High sentence structures can be found throughout response. Demonstrates beginning ability to create a coherent response with increased use of complexity as well as transition words and phrases. No evidence of advanced vocabulary.
A paragraph response with advanced language with complexity, syntactical and grammatical control transitional words and phrases found within the text creating a natural flow. Demonstrates a connection of thoughts that create a coherent and extended discourse.Language is error-free a majority of the time with familiar topics. If errors exist, they are patterned and do not hinder overall meaning. Delivery is mostly fluent with only occasional hesitancy. Some abstract and precise use of vocabulary and terms with familiar topics is evident.

Updated September 2019

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