For the purpose of going deeper into just what the SAT is looking for in your essay, I've then broken down each category further (with examples).
The information in all three charts is taken from the College Board site.
The next step beyond being factually accurate about the passage is showing that you understand the central ideas of the text and how details of the passage relate back to this central idea. In order to be able to explain why the author is persuasive, you need to be able to explain the structure of the argument.
And you can’t deconstruct the author's argument if you don’t understand the central idea of the passage and how the details relate to it.
I'll break down what each item on the rubric means and what you need to do to meet those requirements.
On the SAT, the last section you'll encounter is the (optional) essay.If you’re writing about things the author didn’t say, or things that contradict other things the author said, your argument will be fundamentally flawed.For instance, take this quotation from a (made-up) passage about why a hot dog is not a sandwich: “The fact that you can’t, or wouldn’t, cut a hot dog in half and eat it that way, proves that a hot dog is once and for all NOT a sandwich” Here's an example of a factually inaccurate paraphrasing of this quotation: The author builds his argument by discussing how, since hot-dogs are often served cut in half, this makes them different from sandwiches.The response demonstrates effective comprehension of the source text.The response shows an understanding of the text’s central idea(s) and important details.The paraphrase contradicts the passage, and so would negatively affect your reading score.Now let's look at an accurate paraphrasing of the quotation: The author builds his argument by discussing how, since hot-dogs are never served cut in half, they are therefore different from sandwiches.The response demonstrates some comprehension of the source text.The response shows an understanding of the text’s central idea(s) but not of important details.The response is free of errors of fact or interpretation with regard to the text.The response makes skillful use of textual evidence (quotations, paraphrases, or both), demonstrating a complete understanding of the source text.