Portfolios are becoming an important means of assessment in many schools. In some cases, they are used as a basic or sole, method of performance assessment. In others, they provide another useful tool in the teachers’ assessment kit.
A portfolio is a collection of student work that has been selected and organized to show student learning progress (development portfolio) or to show samples of the students’ best work (showcase portfolio). A common practice is to use a developmental portfolio throughout an instructional program and the showcase portfolio at the end. Thus, the showcase portfolio provides a collection of work that indicates the student’s final level of performance. Portfolio is the collection of evidences of students’ work over a period of time. It could be day-to-day work or selection of the learner’s best piece of work. Painters and commercial artists often use Portfolios to demonstrate their skills and quality work before the selection committees.
What a Student Portfolio Can Show
1. Learning progress over time
2. Student’s current best work
3. Comparison of best work to past work
4. Development of self-assessment skills
5. Development of reflective learning
6. Individual’s level and pace of work
7. Clear evidence of learning to parents and others
8. The amount of teacher-student collaboration involved
Advantages of Portfolio
- Provides a cumulative record of growth and development of a skill or competence in an area over a period of time.
- Enables a student to demonstrate to others, his/her learning and progress.
- Student becomes an active participant in the learning and assessment process.
Concern regarding Portfolio
- Selected work to be put into the Portfolio, should have a specific reason.
- Not all papers/items of work are to be included. This will become unmanageable.
Suggestions for implementation of Portfolio
- Student should be encouraged to participate in selection of Portfolio contents as well as in developing the criteria for selection of the contents.
- Continuous updating of the Portfolio as the child grows.
- Careful structuring of Portfolio material accompanied by a reflective account.
- Clear labelling and numbering of content for easy reference.
Portfolio can include
- Photographs: Provides an insight into the child’s emotional, social and psychological aspects of development
- Paintings and other examples of artistic endeavour: Provides evidence of a learner’s abilities, thoughts and attitudes
- Audio-Video Recordings: Specific situation or over a time span to cover important processes and aspects that can be recorded and analyzed later
- Self Assessment Sheets: Portfolio to provide evidence of the learner’s self evaluation
- Peer Assessment Sheets: Excellent for assessing in team and group based activities, social projects and peer related behaviour. Can be incorporated into the learner’s Portfolio to provide evidence of the learner’s social Life skills
- Parent Assessment Sheets: Can be incorporated into the learner’s Portfolio to provide evidence of evaluation done by the parent
Evaluating Student’s Portfolio Performance
Students’ performance can be evaluated through portfolio assessment. These are the general criteria for evaluating the portfolio structure of students.
1. Has the purpose of the portfolio been clearly stated?
2. Does the portfolio provide evidence of various types of student learning?
3. Does the portfolio include evidence of complex learning in realistic settings?
4. Does the portfolio include enough entries in each area to make valid judgments?
5. Does the portfolio include students’ self-evaluation and their reflections on what was learned?
6. Does the portfolio enable one to determine learning progress and current level of learning?
7. Does the portfolio provide clear evidence of learning to users of the portfolio?
8. Does the portfolio provide for student participation and responsibility?
9. Does the portfolio provide guidelines for the student participation?
10. Does the portfolio present the entries in a well organized and useful manner?
11. Does the portfolio include assessments based on clearly stated criteria of successful performance?
12. Does the portfolio provide for greater interaction between instruction and assessment?