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 ProcessFirst, 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
- Promoting student self-evaluation, reflection, and critical thinking.
- Measuring performance based on genuine samples of student work.
- Providing flexibility in measuring how students accomplish their learning goals.
- Enabling teachers and students to share the responsibility for setting learning goals and for evaluating progress toward meeting those goals.
- Giving students the opportunity to have extensive input into the learning process.
- Facilitating cooperative learning activities, including peer evaluation and tutoring, cooperative learning groups, and peer conferencing.
- Providing a process for structuring learning in stages.
- Providing opportunities for students and teachers to discuss learning goals and the progress toward those goals in structured and unstructured conferences.
- Enabling measurement of multiple dimensions of student progress by including different types of data and materials. (Venn, 2000, p. 538)
From: Venn, J. J. (2000). Assessing students with special needs (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
- Requiring extra time to plan an assessment system and conduct the assessment.
- Gathering all of the necessary data and work samples can make portfolios bulky and difficult to manage.
- Developing a systematic and deliberate management system is difficult, but this step is necessary in order to make portfolios more than a random collection of student work.
- Scoring portfolios involves the extensive use of subjective evaluation procedures such as rating scales and professional judgment, and this limits reliability.
- Scheduling individual portfolio conferences is difficulty and the length of each conference may interfere with other instructional activities. (Venn, 2000, p. 538)
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