“Disparities in ratings of internal and external applicants: A case for model-based inter-rater reliability”, a paper by Patrícia Martinková, Dan Goldhaber & Elena Erosheva originally presented at the PEERE International Conference on Peer Review 2018, has been published in PLoS ONE on 5 October 2018.
Abstract. Ratings are present in many areas of assessment including peer review of research proposals and journal articles, teacher observations, university admissions and selection of new hires. One feature present in any rating process with multiple raters is that different raters often assign different scores to the same assessee, with the potential for bias and inconsistencies related to rater or assessee covariates. This paper analyzes disparities in ratings of internal and external applicants to teaching positions using applicant data from Spokane Public Schools. We first test for biases in rating while accounting for measures of teacher applicant qualifications and quality. Then, we develop model-based inter-rater reliability (IRR) estimates that allow us to account for various sources of measurement error, the hierarchical structure of the data, and to test whether covariates, such as applicant status, moderate IRR. We find that applicants external to the district receive lower ratings for job applications compared to internal applicants. This gap in ratings remains significant even after including measures of qualifications and quality such as experience, state licensure scores, or estimated teacher value added. With model-based IRR, we further show that consistency between raters is significantly lower when rating external applicants. We conclude the paper by discussing policy implications and possible applications of our model-based IRR estimate for hiring and selection practices in and out of the teacher labor market.