Julia Scherba de Valenzuela, Ph.D.
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Defining Portfolio Assessment


What is a portfolio?
A student portfolio is a systematic collection of student work and related material that depicts a student's activities, accomplishments, and achievements in one or more school subjects. The collection should include evidence of student reflection and self-evaluation, guidelines for selecting the portfolio contents, and criteria for judging the quality of the work. The goal is to help students assemble portfolios that illustrate their talents, represent their writing capabilities, and tell their stories of school achievement... (Venn, 2000, pp. 530-531)
Two Types of Portfolios:
Process and product portfolios represent the two major types of portfolios. A process portfolio documents the stages of learning and provides a progressive record of student growth. A product portfolio demonstrates mastery of a learning task or a set of learning objectives and contains only the best work... Teachers use process portfolios to help students identify learning goals, document progress over time, and demonstrate learning mastery... In general, teachers prefer to use process portfolios because they are ideal for documenting the stages that students go through as they learn and progress (Venn, 2000, p. 533).
Steps in the Portfolio Assessment Process
First, the teacher and the student need to clearly identify the portfolio contents, which are samples of student work, reflections, teacher observations, and conference records. Second, the teacher should develop evaluation procedures for keeping track of the portfolio contents and for grading the portfolio... Third, the teacher needs a plan for holding portfolio conferences, which are formal and informal meetings in which students review their work and discuss their progress. Because they encourage reflective teaching and learning, these conference are an essential part of the portfolio assessment process (Venn, 2000, p. 540).
Advantages of Portfolio Assessment Disadvantages of Portfolio Assessment From: Venn, J. J. (2000). Assessing students with special needs (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
 


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Last updated: July 30, 2002