Portfolio Assessment


What Is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas of the curriculum. The collection must include the following:

  • Student participation in selecting contents.

  • Criteria for selection.

  • Criteria for judging merits.

  • Evidence of a student's self-reflection.

It should represent a collection of students' best work or best efforts, student-selected samples of work experiences related to outcomes being assessed, and documents according growth and development toward mastering identified outcomes.

Paulson, F.L. Paulson, P.R. and Meyer, CA. (1991, February). "What Makes a Portfolio a Portfolio?" Educational Leadership, pp. 60-63.

Why Use a Portfolio?

In this new era of performance assessment related to the monitoring of students' mastery of a core curriculum, portfolios can enhance the assessment process by revealing a range of skills and understandings one students' parts; support instructional goals; reflect change and growth over a period of time; encourage student, teacher, and parent reflection; and provide for continuity in education from one year to the next. Instructors can use them for a variety of specific purposes, including:

  • Encouraging self-directed learning.

  • Enlarging the view of what is learned.

  • Fostering learning about learning.

  • Demonstrating progress toward identified outcomes.

  • Creating an intersection for instruction and assessment.

  • Providing a way for students to value themselves as learners.

  • Offering opportunities for peer-supported growth.

How Can Portfolios Enhance the MSPAP Preparation Process?

The heart of successful Maryland School Performance Assessment Program preparation is the ongoing involvement of students in performance-based instruction and assessment experiences. Portfolios offer an ideal context for monitoring students' direct experience in MSPAP performance assessment asks and Dimensions of Learning meaningful-use tasks. They can record both final products and students' ongoing thinking reflections and decision-making processes while engaged in such tasks.

What are the characteristics of an effective portfolio?
What are some different types of portfolios?
What are the phases of portfolio development?
How can you get started using portfolios?
How can a portfolio be evaluated?
What resources are available on portfolio assessment?

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This site was developed by the Department of Staff Development, in collaboration with the Division of Instruction. Questions, comments, and other inquiries may be addressed to Allene Chriest (achriest@pgcps.org) or Jeff Maher  (jmaher@pgcps.org).