What is portfolio assessment?
Portfolio assessment is a method of assessment that involves collecting student work over the course of the academic year and using it to showcase strengths, weaknesses, progress, and areas of growth (or lack of growth).
Why use portfolio assessment?
Every educator knows that no single measure of assessment gives a comprehensive picture of where our students made progress and what they have mastered. This is especially true for ELLs. Many standardized and classroom assessments leave an incomplete picture due to cultural and linguistic bias. Therefore, the use of performance-based, authentic measures such as portfolio assessment allow educators and other stakeholders to form a more clear, complete picture of a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and progress.
What else can the portfolio be used for?
Student portfolios make excellent pieces of evidence for many things- including cases where a student is brought up for intervention or possible special education issues. The evidence contained within a portfolio can help experts in these areas determine if the student has issues of concern that go beyond normal second language acquisition associated phenomena. It is also an excellent record of a student’s progress that can be shared with parents or sent on to future teachers with the student’s other records.
What goes into a portfolio?
In the case of portfolio assessment, we want the portfolio to showcase both strengths and weaknesses, and show progress (or lack thereof) that the student has made over the course of an academic year. Therefore, the portfolio should include items that show the student’s best work, as well as items that show need for improvement. Each item included should be accompanied by a rubric or analysis of some sort. Classroom work, informal assessments, and formal assessments can be included.
Don't miss my follow up post- Portfolio Assessment for ELLs: Building a Portfolio Assessment System on VA is for Teachers!