Portfolio: What’s the Scoop?

The portfolio is an eclectic collection of a student’s work to provide a comprehensive assessment of their understanding.  Portfolios are a performance assessment where the student will demonstrate their understanding of content through artifacts instead of a exam with test items.  This gives a student a better chance to display his learning through practice and performance rather than memorization.

I can remember my senior writing portfolio.  My English teacher was dedicated to making sure every student did their very best on them by scheduling several conferences and making us rewrite them over countless times until we finally got them right.  A lot of us did well on them and her hard work paid off, but not a price.  The price is time.  It took a lot of effort and time to make sure everyone had their pieces completed in full and were doing everything right.  It took a toll on her well-being and some days made her physically weak.  She was an amazing teacher, but it goes to show it takes a certain person to make sure these assessment are completed properly.

These forms of assessment are great things to use as an alternative to typical testing, but the convenience of them is challenging for teachers.  However, I think that it would be a better way to assess students every year on what they have actually learned instead of teaching to a test.  But, then again, would we be teaching to a another form of assessment?  Would the same thing happen if we were to switch from multiple choice testing to just strictly portfolio testing?


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