According to portfolio expert Dr. Helen Barrett, an electronic portfolio is "an electronic collection of evidence that shows your learning journey over time" (Barrett, 2010). The student work collected in a portfolio, known as an artifact, is highly dependent on the nature of the course or program of study. For example, it would make sense for a Creative Writing instructor to require that students maintain a portfolio containing assignments highlighting various forms of writing. For students in the Fine Arts, for example, a truly representative portfolio might contain pieces of art created by the student. The student work can also be collected for a variety of purposes, including:
Portfolios can also be a combination of the above: for example, a portfolio used as a capstone project for a major could be used both to showcase work and to assess the students' work.
- Demonstrating Growth, which exists:
- "to show growth or change over time
- to help develop process skills such as self-evaluation and goal-setting
- to identify strengths and weaknesses
- to track the development of one more products/performances" (Mueller, 2010)
- Showcasing Work, which exists:
- "to showcase end-of-year/semester accomplishments
- to prepare a sample of best work for employment or college admission
- to showcase student perceptions of favorite, best or most important
- to communicate a student's current aptitudes to future teachers" (Mueller, 2010)
- Assessment/Evaluation, which exists:
- "to document achievement for grading purposes
- to document progress towards standards
- to place students appropriately" (Mueller, 2010)
- "to demonstrate competencies" (Abrami & Barrett, 2005)
Unlike standard exams, portfolios allow students to demonstrate what they have learned over time and with greater flexibility for the student. The option exists to dictate to students exactly what should go in a portfolio, to let students pick assignments to match set criteria, or a combination of the two. Portfolios also can, and should, include a reflection component. As Jon Mueller (2010) writes, "the student
needs to be directly involved in each phase of the portfolio development
to learn the most from it, and the reflection phase holds the most promise
for promoting student growth". Incorporating reflection is also adding in an important quality of a Jesuit, transformative education.
Loyola currently uses the TaskStream e-portfolio system, which can be accessed at https://eportfolio.luc.edu/ep/login. More information on the Loyola e-portfolio initiative can be found at http://www.luc.edu/experiential/eportfolio/index.shtml and http://www.luc.edu/facultycenter/assessment/eportfolios/ .
(taken from taskstream.com)
Example of Showcase ePortfolio
Example of Student Professional ePortfolio
Pros & Cons
Information below from Sewell, Marczak, and Horn (2010):
the evaluators to see the student, group, or community as individual, each
unique with its own characteristics, needs, and strengths."||"May be seen as less reliable or fair than more
quantitative evaluations such as test scores"|
as a cross-section lens, providing a basis for future analysis and planning. By
viewing the total pattern of the community or of individual participants, one
can identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, and barriers to success." ||"Can
be very time consuming for teachers or program staff to organize and evaluate
the contents, especially if portfolios have to be done in addition to
traditional testing and grading."|
as a concrete vehicle for communication, providing ongoing communication or
exchanges of information among those involved"||"Having to develop your own individualized
criteria can be difficult or unfamiliar at first"|
a shift in ownership; communities and participants can take an active role in
examining where they have been and where they want to go."||"If
goals and criteria are not clear, the portfolio can be just a miscellaneous
collection of artifacts that don't show patterns of growth or achievement."|
assessment offers the possibility of addressing shortcomings of traditional
assessment. It offers the possibility of assessing the more complex and
important aspects of an area or topic."||"Like
any other form of qualitative data, data from portfolio assessments can be
difficult to analyze or aggregate to show change."|
a broad scope of knowledge and information, from many different people who know
the program or person in different contexts ( eg., participants, parents,
teachers or staff, peers, or community leaders)."|| |
Best Practices [from "Principles and Practices in Electronic Portfolios"(http://www.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/electronicportfolios)]:
- "Share the rubric that
will be used in e-portfolio assessment"
"Provide students with
models of e-portfolios that illustrate different ways of meeting programmatic
outcomes and satisfying rubric criteria"
- "Facilitate critical discussions on the benefits
and disadvantages of students allowing public access to their documents"
- "Help students
recognize what information, digital forms, and specific artifacts can
best represent them as learners"
"Teach conventions of
user-friendly webpage design and functionality"
"Ask students to
discuss changes they would make to “re-purpose” e-portfolios for
different readers, e.g., program directors in their major, prospective
employers, evaluators of transferable course credits"
- "Teach students
different formats and forms that facilitate reflection on their learning
at various stages of drafting and web-design (e.g., reflective cover
letters that introduce and link readers to various artifacts; concept
- "Teach students that
ongoing, rigorous reflection is a crucial part of the process of creating
e-portfolios that are dynamic, not static websites"
- "Give students clear,
constructive feedback that encourages revision and offers technological
tips for improvement"
- "Encourage students to
show learning outcomes by linking artifacts to earlier drafts, or even to
artifacts from earlier, relevant courses"
- "Provide students with
models of e-portfolios that have been adapted for different purposes, to
show development of learning over time"
Abrami, P. C. & Barrett, H. C. (2005). Directions for research and development on electronic portfolios. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 31(3). Retrieved from http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/viewArticle/92/86
Barrett, H. C. (2010). Balancing the two faces of ePortfolios. Educacao, Formacao, &
Technologias, 3(1). Retrieved from http://eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/viewFile/161/102
CCCC Taskforce on Best Practices in Electronic Portfolios. (2007). Principles and practices in electronic portfolios. Retrieved from http://www.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/electronicportfolios
Mueller, J. (2010). Portfolios. Retrieved from http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox /portfolios.htm