A portfolio is a collection of student work created for the purpose of demonstrating their learning or showcasing their best work. While portfolios are often associated with the visual arts, they are useful in any subject area. Portfolios may take a variety of formats including paper, hybrid, or electronic. [more]
Types of portfolio
There are various types of portfolios that are used to achieve different purposes:
- Growth portfolios are used to show student progress or growth over time. Additionally they are useful for assessing works in progress and identifying strengths and weaknesses in student products.
- Presentation portfolios focus on showing a student’s best work or final accomplishments. They are also sometimes used to showcase an individual’s skills and accomplishments.
- Evaluation portfolios are used to record overall student achievement for grading or placement purposes. They are also used to evaluate how well a student has met established course goals and standards throughout the term.
Suggested uses of portfolios:
- Summative (end of term or program) assessment of student learning
- Document student progress over time
- Facilitating peer feedback
- Presenting student work as a collection
- Assessing drafts and works in progress
- Presenting a student’s best or final work
- Improving student engagement
- Student self-reflection about their work
Strengths of portfolios:
- Promotes student engagement
- Documents changes in student performance over time
- Assesses student work holistically
- Students have the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate their work
- Peer review possible
- Has flexible options which promotes individualization
Limitations of portfolios:
- Instructor must spend more time planning and coordinating
- Students may require more guidance from instructor
- Inappropriate for measuring students’ factual knowledge
Knowledge about developing course learning objectives and constructing individual assignments is required. You should also understand how to use and interpret scoring rubrics and have a system for managing individual student works and portfolios.
Plan your portfolio
STEP 1. Describe the assessment context
Consider the course content, class resources, and how the instructional setting and larger educational context impact the course. Make sure to include the age, majors, educational background, motivation level, and skill levels of students. Knowing the audience for whom the portfolio is intended is critical.
STEP 2. Identify needs and develop course learning objectives
Course learning objectives, shaped by what is most essential for students to know, your needs, and any instructional priorities, specify what you want students to learn from the course. For example, "The students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of “Erikson’s Psychological Stages of Development by naming the eight stages in order and describing the psychological crises at each stage.” [more]
STEP 3. Determine the purpose of the portfolio
Use the course learning objectives to guide the content and purpose of the overall portfolio and individual assignments. Specify the purpose of the portfolio, what student products will be included, and how you will measure success.
STEP 4. Determine how you will use the results
How the results will be applied are the underlying goals of your portfolio. Consider whether you intend to use results for a formative assessment or summative assessment. Also, consider how much the portfolio score will count toward the course grades.
STEP 5. Plan the portfolio
Determine the audience for the portfolio.
The type of portfolio you require should be determined by the intended audience and reason for creating it. The audience for a portfolio may include:
- Course instructors
- Potential employers
- College admission reviewers
- Identify course goals and learning objectives.
Like individual assignments and exam items, a portfolio should be linked to course goals and specific learning objectives. The type of portfolio you assign should be based on what you intend students to learn and how you intend to use it. The materials you ask students to include in their portfolios should align with the portfolio type and purpose [more]
Choose a portfolio format
The kinds of student materials included and how you intend to use the portfolio will help you determine which format (paper, hybrid or electronic) is best. For example, if graphical or audio materials will be part of the portfolio, a paper portfolio format will not work or, if sharing materials is important, an electronic portfolio is best. [more]
Develop a rubric to evaluate the portfolio
You should develop clear guidelines for evaluating the portfolio and provide them to students as they begin their portfolio. [more]
Courts, P. L., & McInerney, K. H. (1993). Assessment in Higher Education: Politics, Pedagogy, and Portolios. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers.
Division of Instruction. (n.d.). Portfolio Assessment In Quest (Quality Education for Every Student). Retrieved October 6, 2006, from Prince Georges County Public Schools Web site: http://www.pgeps.org/%7Eelc/portfolio.html
Heywood, J. (1989). Assessment in Higher Education (2nd ed.). Wiley, New York: Chichester. (Original work published 1977)
Ittelson, J., & Lorenzo, G. (2005). An Overview of EPortfolios. Retrieved October 17, 2006, from The Educause Learning Initiative Web site: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3001.pdf
Klenowski, V. (2002). Developing Portoflios for Learning Assessment. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.
On Purpose Associates. (2001). Portfolio Assessment. In Funderstanding. Retrieved October 6, 2006, from http://www.funderstanding.com/portfolio_assessment.cfm