The study included the development of an analytic rubric that recognized the same characteristics of writing that are currently featured in the AWA Analysis of an Argument holistic writing rubric. Four distinct analytic domains were defined. The analytic rubric was applied to a small sample of responses using two different methodologies (Stage 1). Based on the results of Stage 1, the newly developed rubric was applied to a set of responses by trained human readers and by Vantage Learning Inc.’s Automated Essay Scoring (AES) system. Scores from the analytic rubric were compared to the previously assigned holistic scores. Results from the analytic rubric and the holistic rubric were compared in terms of scoring accuracy statistics and distributional characteristics (Stage 2).