Overheads for Unit 8--Chapter 12 (Portfolios)


OH 1
Portfolios—Varied Uses in Education


OH 2
Portfolio: Definition

Portfolio = purposeful collection of student work

Note: The label "portfolio" is often misapplied to unorganized collections of work


OH 3
Examples of Portfolios

Graduation (p. 298)

Vermont’s evaluation of math and writing achievement (pp. 298-300)

Pittsburgh’s evaluation of writing (pp. 300-302)

Classroom portfolios


OH 4
Portfolios: Strengths and Weaknesses

Potential Strengths

  1. Readily integrated with instruction
  2. Provide students a chance to show what they can do
  3. Foster self-evaluation skills
  4. Foster responsibility for own learning
  5. Communicate student progress to parents
  6. Give students a role in parent-teacher conferences


  1. Time consuming for students (to assemble)
  2. Time consuming for teachers (to guide and give feedback)
  3. Low reliability for summative evaluations
  4. Different activities for different students (a strength) can lead to unfairness in evaluation
  5. However, standardizing to increase their reliability can undermine their utility

Tough questions about collaborative work


OH 5
Five Steps in Creating and Using Portfolios

  1. Specify purpose
  2. Provide guidelines for selecting entries
  3. Define student role in selecting entries and evaluating self
  4. Specify evaluation criteria
  5. Use portfolios in instruction and communication


OH 6
Using Portfolios: Step 1—Specify Primary Purpose

Four dimensions/emphases in purpose

Note: These are not mutually exclusive. For example, recall that good assessment is part of good instruction.

  1. assessment vs. instruction
  2. current accomplishments vs. past progress
  3. showcase (the "best") vs. documentation (representative work)
  4. finished vs. working portfolios

Essential to clarify purpose because

  1. Different purposes require different kinds of portfolios
  2. Without clear purpose, portfolios become indistinguishable from unorganized collections
  3. Without clear purpose, they may be ineffective or counterproductive


OH 7
1st Dimension of Purpose: Instructional vs. Assessment

When emphasis mostly on instructional purposes

  1. teaches students bases for selecting high quality entries
  2. teaches students how to reflect on the quality of their work
  3. focuses discussion on criteria of excellence
  4. teaches students how to communicate with different audiences (e.g., parent, other students) and in different ways (e.g., oral presentations, tapes, slides)
  5. has student-directed teacher-parent conferences

When emphasis mostly on assessment purposes

  1. Must clarify whether purpose is formative or summative
  2. When formative, portfolios might
  3. When summative for students (e.g., for giving grades, diplomas, or honors), portfolios require
  4. When summative for states or districts (e.g., accountability), portfolios require

    OH 8
    2nd Dimension of Purpose: Current Accomplishments vs. Progress

    When emphasis on current accomplishment

    When emphasis on progress


    OH 9
    3rd Dimension of Purpose: Showcase vs. Documentation

    When emphasis on showcase

    When emphasis on documentation


    OH 10
    4th Dimension of Purpose: "Finished" vs. Working

    When emphasis on "finished"

    When emphasis on working (when portfolio is treated as a "work in progress")


    OH 11
    Using Portfolios: Step 2—Specify Guidelines for Entries


    Guidelines—Clarify all of the following:

    1. How portfolios will be used
    2. Who will see the portfolios
    3. Types of work that are appropriate to include (e.g., drafts or only finished work? videos and tapes too?)
    4. Varieties of entries (form and content) that are required vs. optional
    5. Minimum (and maybe maximum) number of entries
    6. Forms of self-evaluation and self-reflection to be included
    7. Timeline for entries
    8. Role of collaboration in producing entries (e.g., only independent work? assistance allowed?)
    9. Criteria for evaluating individual entries as well as the overall portfolio
    10. Physical structure (e.g., binder? table of contents?)

    OH 12
    Using Portfolios: Step 3—Define Student Role in Selecting and Evaluating Entries



    Challenge (in guiding student selection of entries)

    Helpful technique (in promoting self-reflection)


    OH 13
    Using Portfolios: Step 4—Specify Evaluation Criteria

    Absolutely essential prerequisite

    Role of evaluation criteria

    Scoring rubrics

    Rater errors


    OH 14
    Using Portfolios: Step 5—Use for Instruction and Communication

    To repeat, portfolios

    But in addition