Why do I get different results for the same essay depending on the score-type I choose?

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Written by Diane
Updated over a week ago

Free Write & Improve returns levels on the CEFR scale only. However, Write & Improve +Test Zone and +Class View subscribers have more choices for the type of score their writing receives. Currently, they can submit IELTS-style essays and receive an estimated IELTS score, or they can submit essays of the type written for the Cambridge English exams (Key, Preliminary, B2 First, Advanced (CAE), Proficiency (CPE) and get an estimated CEFR level. Other types of score will be available in the future as we add more +Test Zone workbooks.

The relationships between the different possible scores are shown in the diagram below. You can see that an IELTS band score of 7.0 is equivalent to a CEFR level of C1, and an IELTS band score of 4.5 is equivalent to a CEFR level of B1.

When a +Test Zone subscriber submits an IELTS-type essay in the IELTS workbook or an IELTS task they have created in their own workbook, it is analysed and graded according to the criteria of the IELTS marking scheme and analysed for features typical of IELTS essays previously submitted in IELTS exams. The system assesses it for how well it compares to thousands of other IELTS essays and how well it meets the requirements of the exam.

On the other hand, if the same IELTS essay is submitted to a task that is designed for grading on the CEFR scale, it will be analysed and graded according to the criteria of the marking scheme used for essays submitted to other Cambridge English exams, which are different in many ways. This can lead to unusual results.

If a student submits the same piece of writing to both the IELTS and the CEFR scoring engines, they may get a higher score for one than the other. This can be surprising, but the explanation is quite simple. For example, an IELTS task 2 essay of 200 words will get a low IELTS band score even if the writing is excellent, because you must write *at least 250* words in this task or you will lose a lot of marks. If you then submit the same excellent 200 word essay to a CEFR task, you are likely to get a much better result, because you won't lose marks for not writing enough words, among other things.

The criteria and features Write & Improve uses to assess different exams are extremely complex and designed specifically for the exam or essay type they are based on. This is why we recommend that users choose the correct score type for the type of essay they want Write & Improve to assess.

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