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Portfolio-based Assessment: A constructivist approach to measuring learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Portfolio-based Assessment: A constructivist approach to measuring learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Portfolio-based Assessment: A constructivist approach to measuring learning.

2 About the Presenter: Marc Zolar Marc is an instructional design consultant and certified distance learning mentor. He has a broad professional background spanning the corporate, government and academic sectors. The list of organizations Mr. Zolar has worked with on learning and development programs includes: America Online, American Research Institute, AT&T, Central Carolina Community College, Florida State University, IBM, U.S. Department of Defense, United States Marine Corps, University of North Carolina at Wilmington,Verizon, Walden University. He holds a Masters degree in instructional design and development and is active in professional organizations in the field as a writer and speaker. Marc can be reached at

3 Why are you here today? What piqued your interest about this session? Have you tried incorporating portfolio-based assessment in any of your courses. If so, how did it go?

4 Quick Review of Constructivism Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. (Source: )

5 Principles of Constructivism Learning is a search for meaning Learning occurs in a context Instruction is tailored to learners mental models Constructing knowledge is purpose of learning (not right vs. wrong) (Source: Zolar, M. Constructivism 101. NC Quest Program, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.)

6 Constructivist Assessment Ongoing assessment during instruction De-emphasizes traditional grading methods Self-assessment, learner articulates growth through projects and reflection (Source: Zolar, M. Constructivism 101. NC Quest Program, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.)

7 Reflective Activity A variety of activities can be used to facilitate student reflection. Student journals Student presentations (portfolios) Interviews Asynchronous threaded discussions Classroom discussions

8 Reflective Activity What does reflect activity do to stimulate learning? Challenges students to make connections between experiences and concepts Encourages students to contemplate the process in addition to the content Makes the student the determiner of learning Improves critical thinking and writing skills.

9 Reflective Activity Examples of reflective questions: Discuss the key differences between the roles of online instructor and face- to-face instructor. What aspects of effective online teaching do you feel pose the biggest challenge for you given your own personal style and attributes as a teacher? Discuss your own personal experience with online learning to date. This can include participation as learner and/or instructor. What were the strengths and weaknesses of the online learning you participated in? Highlight specific aspects that were particularly effective or ineffective. What do you think is the biggest obstacle to success in an online learning environment? Consider your own characteristics as an adult learner. What are some strategies that could be used in an online course to maximize the value of the experience for you? What strategies might frustrate you? Discuss any modifications to your own behavior that you might need to make in order to become an effective distance learner

10 What is a portfolio ? A portfolio is a collection of work used as proof, as evidence. It demonstrates: Look what I have done, look what I can do, I have made these things, these are my products. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

11 Why create a portfolio ? To provide a holistic perspective of your students learning journey To document your students mastery of specific goals and objectives of the course through the selection and presentation of select pieces of evidence or data. To serve as a tool for learning, to be built and reflected upon in a continuous manner as you proceed in your professional development. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

12 How is a portfolio constructivist? Learner articulates what learning means No right or wrong answers Incorporates multiple perspectives Puts learning into a specific context (Source: Zolar, M. Constructivism 101. NC Quest Program, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.)

13 Types of Portfolios Documentation Portfolio This type is also know as the "working" portfolio. Specifically, this approach involves a collection of work over time showing growth and improvement reflecting students' learning of identified outcomes. The documentation portfolio can include everything from brainstorming activities to drafts to finished products. The collection becomes meaningful when specific items are selected out to focus on particular educational experiences or goals. It can include the bet and weakest of student work. (Source:

14 Types of Portfolios Process Portfolio: This approach documents all facets or phases of the learning process. They are particularly useful in documenting students' overall learning process. It can show how students integrate specific knowledge or skills and progress towards both basic and advanced mastery. Additionally, the process portfolio inevitably emphasizes students' reflection upon their learning process, including the use of reflective journals, think logs, and related forms of metacognitive processing. (Source:

15 Types of Portfolios Showcase Portfolio This type of portfolio is best used for summative evaluation of students' mastery of key curriculum outcomes. It should include students' very best work, determined through a combination of student and teacher selection. Only completed work should be included. In addition, this type of portfolio is especially compatible with audio-visual artifact development, including photographs, videotapes, and electronic records of students' completed work. The showcase portfolio should also include written analysis and reflections by the student upon the decision-making process(es) used to determine which works are included. (Source:

16 Sample Portfolio Guidelines Portfolios should contain a minimum of 5-10 artifacts For each artifact you include, you must include a section containing the following information: What is the artifact? In what course objectives/goals does the artifact demonstrate growth? Analysis of the artifact: describe how the artifact contributes to your growth in the stated areas. What recommendations and strategies for continued learning in this area can be made based on this artifact? Portfolios may be compiled either individually or with another classmate. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

17 What are the elements of a strong portfolio? Appropriateness of artifacts – Your artifacts should clearly relate to the goals of the course Making connections between activities and learning – Your portfolio should make clear your thoughts about how your work relates to the ideas discussed in the course. Balance – Your portfolio should represent growth across multiple course objectives/goals. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

18 Implementing Portfolios Introduce the basic structure/requirements at the beginning of the semester Encourage student input in negotiating some components Provide recommendations and examples Require a portfolio outline prior to assembling

19 Portfolio Materials Student papers (first drafts and polished pieces) Individual and group products Investigations Diagrams, graphs, and charts Reflections, journal entries Photographs of student work Multimedia products Relevant work from different courses Job-related artifacts Summaries of outside educational experiences (e.g. conferences, seminars) Personal education plans

20 What a Portfolio is NOT Keep in mind this is not a scrapbook. It should be a learning tool that includes select pieces of evidence, along with written reflections that explain, for example, why you chose each artifact, in what course objectives growth took place, what obstacles you overcame, and what goals you have for continued growth in this particular area. As you assess your own learning, there should be a strong connection that links your growth to overall goals of the course. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

21 Portfolio Presentations Part 1: What did this course mean for you? Tell us how you have grown this year Identify the course objectives that have impacted you the most Part 2: Share some artifacts: What is it? What process did you engage in? What was the learning benefit to you and your students? Part 3: Where will you go from here? How has this experience changed your view of learning? What are your plans for further learning in this and/or other areas? Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

22 Evaluating Portfolios An assessment rubric is an excellent method for evaluating portfolios A rubric is a scoring guide that seeks to evaluate a student's performance based on the sum of a full range of criteria rather than a single numerical score. ( Source: at: methods/rubrics/4522.html?detoured=1)

23 Rubric Example Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

24 Discussion Question #1 What objections do might your students have to portfolio-based assessment? How can you help overcome them?

25 Discussion Question #2 Do some content domains more appropriate for portfolio-based assessment? Why or why not?

26 Discussion Question #3 What are some disadvantages or challenges associated with portfolio based assessment?

27 Portfolio Example #1: The Portfolio Program at Kalamazoo College

28 Kate Jenks Kalamazoo Portfolio at: Kalamazoo Colleges portfolio helps students understand and articulate their educational experiences, see the connections between the parts of a K education, collect their significant academic and experiential work in one place, develop long-term goals and plans that give coherence and direction to their education, and learn Web design. Over their four year career, students are asked to develop a portfolio including analysis of area such as: Lifelong Learning, Intercultural Understanding, Skills, Career Readiness, Leadership, Social Responsibility.

29 Portfolio Example #1: The Portfolio Program at Kalamazoo College Entries include, but are not limited to, the following: - Outstanding papers, lab reports, oral presentations, and other course work - Photos from study abroad, internships, and other pivotal experiences - Reflections on important relationships and experiences - Symposia, conference, or SIP presentations (Diebold Symposium, etc.) - Experiential Education activities (service-learning, campus organizations, etc.) - Integrative Cultural Research Project (ICRP) - Application essays for leadership positions (RA, Peer Leader, ARC Consultant, etc.) - Self-assessment by athletes with coaches - Resume

30 Portfolio Example #1: The Portfolio Program at Kalamazoo College FOUNDATIONS ESSAY: THE FIRST PORTFOLIO ENTRY Your Essay will be built around the Five Dimensions of a "K" education, which describe ourFive Dimensions view of an educated personthe kind of person we want to help you become. The Dimensions will frame your college experiences. Write a response (2-3 double-spaced pages) in which you: (a) Choose two of the Five Dimensions and connect them to your experiences before coming to K. Show how you have developed these Dimensions by focusing on your academic work, community service, employment, travel, or other aspects of your experiences that have been most influential. How have these activities and commitments made you who you are? How have they shaped what you think you might study? Or what your range of interests is? Five Dimensions (b) Select a third Dimension that you would like to develop at K and tell us why you think it will be important to your personal growth. (c) Finally, set two to three goals that you hope to achieve during the course of your first year. What steps might be necessary to make these goals a reality? Make your goals challenging, but realistic. Send back TWO copies of your essay for your Peer Leader and your advisor, who will make comments in response to what you have written, but will not assign a grade or correct your work.

31 Portfolio Example #1: The Portfolio Program at Kalamazoo College SENIOR CONNECTIONS ESSAY Whats next? We care about what youre going to do next and how what youve done at K has helped prepare you for employment, graduate school, or another endeavor. Your work on the Portfolio has been intended to help you get ready: to see the connections between the disparate parts of a K education, collect your significant academic and experiential work in one place, learn Web design, and develop long-term goals and plans that give coherence and direction to your education. The Portfolio can also assist those of us who remain at the College. It can help advisors, faculty, and departments learn more about students interested in our disciplines and assess and improve our programs and curricula. Your Senior Connections essay offers not only an account of what you have accomplished at Kalamazoo, but also your reflections on the ways in which you have grown as an individual. One of the best ways to demonstrate this growth is to comment on the inter-relatedness of your educational experiences. What connections can you see among your favorite courses, your particular interests, and your developing proficiencies in certain fields? How have the courses youve taken at K intersected with your career development, study abroad, volunteer, leadership, or work experiences? Structure your Senior Connections essay around these points: What were the most significant parts of your Kalamazoo education? What did you learn from your major, other courses, study abroad and internship experiences, athletics, co-curricular activities, and your SIP? Write about those most important to you. How did these pursuits help you grow in the K dimensions (intercultural understanding, career readiness, social responsibility, leadership, lifelong learning,) and skills (oral & writing proficiency, information literacy, quantitative reasoning)? Choose those most important to you to discuss. Your essay should be short, focused, and clear, and the equivalent of 2-4 pages, double-spaced.

32 Portfolio Example #1: Kate Jenks, Kalamazoo College



35 Portfolio Example #2: The NC Quest Program at UNCW Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

36 Portfolio Example #2: NC Quest NC Quest at the Watson School of Education at: Provides professional development for middle school math and science teachers and mentor teachers. Program elements focus on inquiry-based approaches to teaching and reflective activity as a tool for learning.

37 NC Quest and TaskStream Source:

38 NC Quest and TaskStream Source:

39 NC Quest and TaskStream Source:

40 NC Quest and TaskStream Source:

41 NC Quest and TaskStream Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

42 NC Quest Portfolio Process What should the portfolio be connected to? 1.Key Capacities for Increasing Quality Instructional Effectiveness (These were the anchoring mental construct for the course.) 2.Course Goals and Topics (from syllabus) 3.Your professional development goals outlined at the beginning of the course (Key Capacities worksheet) 4.Student progress in your classroom 5.New ideas/goals for your professional development 6.Any professional experiences youve had during the course that relate to the key capacities and course goals Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

43 NC Quest Portfolio Process What product should be included? There many types of artifacts and data that could be used as evidence of your learning. Below are listed several possible types of evidence as well as some related questions that might help you to reflect upon and document your growth. Content-specific artifacts: What new content knowledge did you gain? Web resources: What was particularly helpful? How did you use the information in your practices? Study group results: What discussions led to new thinking for you? What changes did you make in your classroom stemming from your discussions? List of articles read: How did these influence your thinking and actions? Student work samples: How do these illustrate the inquiry approach? Lesson plans: What are you trying to achieve with your design? If implemented, was it successful? Analyses of lesson outcomes: What did you learn? What will you change next time? Were there any unexpected outcomes? Reflective journal entries: How did reflection on your results lead to deeper understanding or spark new ideas? Growth plan for developing key capacities: What new ideas do you have about growth areas you want to pursue based on activities/experiences in the course? Discovery learning: What new resources activities did you implement in your class this year? How did you find them? Information about any outside educational programs you attended/participated in/# hours/Key learnings/How did this aid you in your growth? Resources from instructional sessions: Are there resources you want to use in the future? Why? Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

44 NC Quest Portfolio Process How should a portfolio be created? Use TaskStream to create your final portfolio by selecting the template: NC Quest Science Final Portfolio Template. Include your name in the title of your portfolio. (A sample portfolio will be made available to you). On the main page for each artifact, you will include the artifact if possible, or a description of it. For artifacts that cannot be displayed in TaskStream (e.g. samples of student work), include a description of the artifact and deliver the artifact by an alternative method (e.g. paper copy) If your artifact is Web-based, include the Web link and a description of how you use the Website If your artifact is an electronic document, it can be added to the portfolio as an attachment. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

45 NC Quest Portfolio Process Things to think about Naturally, your unit assignments make great artifacts, but dont feel limited to just these. Think about all of your professional activities this year that fit within the context of the key capacities and course goals. These include: Outside activities at school (e.g. Science Olympiad) Websites you have researched and/or used in the classroom NC Quest resources you have used or are planning to use (e.g. labs and other links posted on the Website, labs from the Invitations to Science Inquiry book) Your work with individual students including good student samples of inquiry-based work Ideas you have for classroom, curriculum for next year Plans to attend conferences/workshops to build on your own professional development New field trips you plan to take your students on A new plan for your further professional development Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

46 NC Quest Portfolio Process Ideas for getting started Review your professional development goals outlined at the outset of the course Review the key capacities, course objectives and topics Brainstorm – what specific artifacts do you want to show? Outline your portfolio on paper before compiling it Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

47 NC Quest Portfolio Presentation Guidelines 1. Begin by describing to the group, in your own words, how your involvement in NC Quest has helped you grow as a teacher. Identify the key capacities that NC Quest has impacted the most. 2. Share a minimum of two artifacts from your portfolio with the group. (You may share more than two if you wish. A computer and projector will be available so that you can log into TaskStream). If you wish to share paper-based artifacts, such as samples of student work, please bring copies to distribute to the group. For each artifact you present briefly describe what it is, the process you engaged in to complete it, and the learning/benefit that occurred for you and your students. 3. Discuss your plans for continued professional development including any new areas of interest/need that you have identified through your involvement with NC Quest. After your presentation, your peers, instructors and guests will have an opportunity to briefly ask any questions they have about the artifacts you have shared. Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

48 NC Quest Learning Outcomes Expressed Through Portfolios Consistent reflection led to many ah ha moments Participants developed new views about learning relying on multiple perspectives Peer collaboration was seen as integral to value of the course Level of growth exceeded student expectations Source: NC Quest Program, UNCW at:

49 Portfolio Example #3: Blackboard e-Portfolios

50 Portfolio Example #4: Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) Formed in January 2003, the Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) is a collaborative, open-source, software development project based on the University of Minnesota Enterprise System's electronic portfolio software. The University of Minnesota (U of MN), University of Delaware, and the r-smart group, founded this collaborative to open the evolution of the U of MN ePortfolio to diverse input, rapid development, and widespread use. OSPI Mission: Create and sustain leading production ePortfolio software. Build a software platform to accelerate ePortfolio innovation for teaching and learning. Influence and reflect best practices in portfolio thinking. Influence the movement of open source in education. Source:

51 Portfolio Example #4: Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) Source:

52 Portfolio Example #4: Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) Source:

53 Portfolio Example #5: Chalk and Wire Chalk and Wire at:

54 Portfolio Example #5: Chalk and Wire: Product Demo

55 Portfolio Example #6: LiveText Source: LiveText at:

56 Portfolio Example #7: NETS ePortfolio ISTEs National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers – Portfolio Template for Teachers Source:

57 Portfolio Example #7: NETS ePortfolio ISTEs National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers – Portfolio Template for Teachers Source:

58 Portfolio Example #7: NETS ePortfolio ISTEs National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers – Portfolio Template for Teachers Source:

59 Portfolio Example #7: NETS ePortfolio ISTEs National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers – Portfolio Template for Teachers Source:

60 Resources Portfolio Resources: The Kalamazoo College Portfolio Program at: Portfolio Bibliography, Kalamazoo College at: Taskstream, Tools of Engagement at: Examples of WWW compatible electronic portfolios at: Creative, Instructional & Reflective Electronic Portfolios (Greg Sherman) at: Chalk and Wire at: LiveText at: ISTE NETS ePortfolios at: Rubric Resources: Pearson/Prentice Hall at: Kathy Shrocks Guide for Educators at: Creating Rubrics, at:

61 References Chalk and Wire ePortfolios at: Prince Georges County MD, Department of Staff Development Website at: Jenks, Katherine, Kalamazoo College at: LiveText Portfolios at: NC Quest Program Website, University of North Carolina at Wilmington at: NETS ePortfolio Website, International Society for Technology in Education, at: t/index.html t/index.html Open Source Portfolio Website at:, Pearson Education at: methods/rubrics/4522.html?detoured=1 methods/rubrics/4522.html?detoured=1 The Portfolio Program, Kalamazoo College at: Zolar, M. (2004) Constructivism 101. NC Quest Program, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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