The influence of disability labels for emotional and behavioral problems on examiners’ evaluations of children’s written essays was investigated. Eighty-eight preservice special education teachers were randomly assigned to one of four expectancy conditions: normal, emotionally disturbed, behavior disordered, and conduct disordered. Subjects were asked to score three essays that differed in terms of overall writing quality. Just prior to scoring the essays, subjects were informed of the developmental status (e.g., behavior disordered) of the fourth-grade children who wrote the stories. In addition, one-half of the subjects received a brief introduction on how to use the scoring procedure, while the other half received intensive practice and training. Results indicated that the disability labels did not significantly affect writing scores. Quality of the writing sample and the examiner’s level of expertise, however, did have a significant influence on the assignment of writing scores. The data did not support the hypothesis that disability labels for emotional or behavioral problems have an adverse effect on the scores assigned to children’s written products.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology