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Writing Differences in Teacher Performance Assessments: Use of African American Language NBPTS

Wylie, E. Caroline; Szpara, Michelle Y.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
African American Language, Speech Code Errors, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), Construct-Irrelevant Variance, Differential Item Performance


This study investigated potential writing differences between African American and European American candidates in a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) portfolio entry from the Middle Childhood/Generalist Certificate. The use of features other than Edited American English was examined as a possible source of construct-irrelevant variance in assessors' scoring judgments. Thirty-two written commentaries, 18 from African American candidates and 14 from European American candidates, were coded for grammatical, lexical, and discourse features. The coding frame identified features of African American Language (AAL) and Speech Code Errors (SCE). Instances of AAL were fewer than instances of SCE and clustered according to potential users of AAL.

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