Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Portfolios in education--Iowa; Teachers--Training of--Iowa; Teachers--Rating of--Iowa;


The study examines the role of rater characteristics in the assessment of teacher practice as presented in Renaissance Teacher Work Samples (RTWS). The study analyzed ratings of 10 teacher work samples submitted by teacher candidates at the University of Northern Iowa between Fall 2000 and Spring 2004. These teacher work samples, created in the area of Spanish language learning at 7-11 grade levels, were analyzed to determine the impact of content expertise, amount of teaching experience, and previous RTWS rating experience on reviewer's ratings. Three study questions form the foundation for the investigation:

(1) Is there a significant difference between ratings assigned by raters with foreign language content experience and raters without foreign language content experience? Does this differ by sections of the teacher work sample?

(2) What is the relationship between rater's overall teaching experience and his/her scoring of foreign language teacher work samples?

(3) What is the impact of a rater's work sample scoring experience on his/her scoring of foreign language work samples?

In order to address these questions, the study used a causal-comparative research design. Dependent variables in this study were scores of work samples reported by 30 raters; independent variables were presence or absence of foreign language content expertise, as well as other demographic characteristics, such as (a) the amount of foreign language teaching experience, (b) amount of teaching experience, (c) experience with scoring work samples, (d) gender, and (e) level of education. The study employed two instruments: (a) a demographic questionnaire and (b) a RTWS scoring rubric.

The investigator recruited 30 participants from various middle and high schools in Iowa. Sixteen of these participants were foreign language teachers, while the remaining fourteen were educators teaching in various content areas other than foreign language or ESL. Participants of the study were asked to participate in a Renaissance Teacher Work Sample training and scoring session, rating 10 Spanish work samples submitted by UNI teacher candidates.

The analysis of the demographic data revealed that participants varied greatly in almost all the areas of the questionnaire. The TWS data analysis contributed to the further understanding of the participants' rating process and outcomes, their scoring speed, and allowed to answer the questions of the study.

The findings of the study indicate that there is no statistically significant difference between the ratings of the Spanish teacher work samples reported by the participants in the study. Thus, the study did not find any statistically significant impact of the rater characteristics on scorers' perception of teacher practice as presented in the Spanish teacher work samples. The findings of the study support other validity and reliability studies of the RTWS methodology and instrumentation. Additionally, the study outlines several areas for further research.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Boody, Chair

Second Advisor

Victoria Robinson, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xii, 177 pages)



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