What Are the Characteristics
of an Effective Portfolio?

 

Portfolio assessment is a multi-faceted process characterized by the following recurrent qualities:

  • It is continuous and ongoing, providing both formative (i.e., ongoing) and summative (i.e., culminating) opportunities for monitoring students' progress toward achieving essential outcomes.

  • It is multidimensional, i.e., reflecting a wide variety of artifacts and processes reflecting various aspects of students' learning process(es).

  • It provides for collaborative reflection, including ways for students to reflect about their own thinking processes and metacognitive introspection as they monitor their own comprehension, reflect upon their approaches to problem-solving and decision-making, and observe their emerging understanding of subjects and skills.

Although approaches to portfolio development may vary, all of the major research and literature on portfolios reinforce the following characteristics:

  • They clearly reflect stated learner outcomes identified in the core or essential curriculum that students are expected to study.

  • They focus upon students' performance-based learning experiences as well as their acquisition of key knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

  • They contain samples of work that stretch over an entire marking period, rather than single points in time.

  • They contain works that represent a variety of different assessment tools.

  • They contain a variety of work samples and evaluations of that work by the student, peers, and teachers, possible even parents' reactions.

Source: Paul S. George, (1995). What Is Portfolio Assessment Really and How Can I Use It in My Classroom? Gainesville, FL: Teacher Education Resources. 

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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).