The creation of portfolios is suggested to broaden the scope of learning and achieve diverse curriculum outcomes by examining a range of evidence of student performances being assessed.
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a purposeful collection of intentionally chosen student’s work representing a selection of performances that is assembled over time and describes the learner’s efforts, progress, growth and achievement in key areas learning outcomes. It is a tool for assessing a variety of skills not usually testable in a single setting of the traditional written paper and pencil tests. Assessment would include self and peer assessment among others. Its use is recommended as a support to the new instructional approaches that emphasize student’s role in constructing knowledge and understanding.
For a more simple approach in the first year, it is suggested that the portfolio take the form of a journal or notebook that would include besides classwork, students artifacts selected within a coherent framework along with their reflections. Learner here is an active participant involved in constructing his or her journey through the portfolio building process of selecting, organizing and reflecting. In the second year, Schools are expected to develop the portfolios as per para (a).
This portfolio can be seen both as a process and as a product: As a product, it holds the performance records and documents, a student has produced during the learning course and represents a collection of their learning achievements. As a process, it enables learners to monitor their own learning systematically, reflect on their performance, redirect their efforts and set future goals.
What purposes does a portfolio serve?
In a general sense, a portfolio
offers the possibility of assessing more complex and important aspects of a learning areas or subject matter that can’t be assessed through traditional forms of testing;
provides a profile of learner’s abilities – in-depth growth and progress
serves as a concrete vehicle for an ongoing communication or exchange of information and feedback among various stakeholders - students, peers teachers, administrators. It may even be used to compare achievement across classrooms or schools;
serves as a lens and helps to develop among students an awareness of their own learning. The focus on self assessment and reflection helps students to identify their strengths and weaknesses thereby facilitating setting up of realistic improvement goals. The active role that students plays in examining what they have done and what they want to accomplish, not only motivates them but also help to develop metacognitive skills which enable them to make adjustments not only in their learning in school but beyond as well;
provide an opportunity to share own learning with peers and review and give feedback on each other’s work. Peer Assessment thus becomes a great support that further facilitates a clear understanding and evaluation of personal goals;
Thus, a portfolio, on one hand helps to establish a common vision of goals and holistic picture of students learning, on the other, increases accountability and contributes to improved teaching and learning. Enabling review of curriculum and instruction, it may also be seen as a tool for curriculum enhancement.
How to prepare a portfolio?
At the outset, it is important to know why a portfolio is being created and be clear of the purposes without purpose. Without purpose, it simply becomes a catalogue of student’s work. It is suggested that the portfolios be an extension of note books developed subjectwise. They would include classwork and homework assignments that would help evaluate learner’s progress. Besides this, portfolio should be a space for student to display his/her exemplary work in the related area. The attention should be to promote techniques such as annotation, identification of key words / topics / themes, summarization and organization of ideas and content.
The sample of creative work and evidences that demonstrate process skills or development of critical thinking or problem solving merit inclusion as well. A periodic review of the evidences includes in the portfolio would facilitate self assessment by learners who would be more aware oftheir own learning and be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The portfolio also provide an opportunity to learners to share and comment on each other’s work.
Such peer assessment facilitate understanding of criteria of good work to students. It is advised that such criteria be developed and made clear to students. Initially this self and peer assessment would be a guided endeavor.
Students’ portfolio can be effectively evaluated using a simple scoring rubric. The criteria – the factors to be used in determining the quality of a particular student’s portfolio needs to be carefully developed and shared with students. They key elements of the particular criteria need to be specified as well.
Suggested are some elements to judge student’s portfolio:
Organization – Neatness and Visual Appeal
Completion of guided work focused on specific curricular objectives
Evidences of student’s growth
Inclusion of all relevant work (Completeness)
Teachers can include other subject relevant criteria and elements to assess portfolios. A Word of Caution: Portfolios need to be developed in an easy to manage form. They need to be meaningful but simple and accessible. Developing them should not be a burden on students- both in terms of cost and time.
The weightage of this component would be of 05 marks.