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This study of 20 preservice teachers in a secondary English methods course explored whether materials on diversity, information about language of wider communication, and literature from parallel cultures would have a positive effect on their ability to fairly assess work by high school students from diverse populations. At the beginning of the semester, the students scored and discussed two sets of essays written by tenth- and eleventh-grade students. These essays had already been scored by experienced teachers; these scores and the authors' ethnic identities were hidden from the education students. During the rest of the semester students studied pedagogy, assessment, and issues of diversity including differences in prose development from culturally diverse writers. They also read secondary level literature by nonmainstream writers. At the end of the semester students evaluated the essays again. A comparison between student ratings in the first and second round found that: (1) all but one preservice teachers' scores were lower than those of the expert raters; (2) in all cases but one, preservice teachers' first scores either remained constant or were raised substantially by the end of the semester; and (3) essays which received large jumps in scores were written by students whose ethnicities were very apparent in their work. The paper includes scoring guide, table of the experts' and preservice teachers' scores, essay assignment, and a student essay, "The 'Addquin' Streets of the 'Barrio'." (JB)

Descriptors: Cultural Awareness, English Teacher Education, Evaluation Problems, Evaluation Research, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grading, High School Students, High Schools, Higher Education, Methods Courses, Minority Group Children, Preservice Teacher Education, Writing Assignments, Writing (Composition), Writing Evaluation

Autor: Oliver, Eileen I.


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