What are e-Portfolios ?

A collection of electronic evidence that:
  • includes artifacts of your work in many formats
  • incorporates written documents such as reflective journaling, samples of writing, both finished and unfinished
  • records works in progress on an ongoing basis
  • represents student learning from a surface level to a deeper level of learning based goals.
  • can document an individual's or group's work overtime
  • incorporates student involvement in determination of criteria for selection of content, criteria for evaluation, and student reflections
  • can be used to assess and document student learning through multiple activities

What is the place of e-Portfolios in the broader topic of assessment?

  • can be used to indicate progress and growth toward meeting a specific standard
  • allows student to reflect on his/her work over a given period of time
  • is a holistic approach to learning which moves students beyond knowledge
  • allows for student to include multimedia samples of work including movies/sound bites/speeches/etc., thus incorperating learning styles.
  • emphasizes the importance of growth throughout a process, not just the emphasis final product
  • is individualized to meet each student's needs and interests, thereby generating a more accurate picture of a student's progress as a whole
  • can be used as motivational tool by the learner who can see real progress throughout the learning process as a meaningful task

Types of e-Portfolios

There are three main types: developmental, reflective and representational. A developmental ePortfolio, or ePortfolios or digital portfolios, are a record of things that the owner has done over a period of time, and may be directly tied to learner outcomes or rubrics. A reflective ePortfolio includes personal reflection on the content and what it means for the owner's development. A representational ePortfolio shows the owner's achievements in relation to particular work or developmental goals and is, therefore, selective. The three main types may be mixed to achieve different learning, personal or work-related outcomes with the ePortfolio owner usually being the person who determines access levels.

Benefits and Drawbacks of this Form of Assessment

  • learner takes an active role in creating, critically thinking about and presenting own work
  • students are motivated by the technology, taking ownership of the project, and the meaningful tasks
  • ePortfolios can be used for assessment of and for life long learning
  • more equitable picture of a student's achievement/development than a standardized test.
  • accommodates different intelligences/learning styles with the flexibility in various presentation options including writing samples, audio, video, and graphics
  • students understand and have an active role in assessment,collection, and selection of the portfolio pieces
  • ePortfolios can be maintained in a compact space in e-format
  • ePortfolios can be published, archived, and viewed by different people over time, and are easily added to in digital format
  • students take a long-term view of creating projects and works, understanding that they go through a work-in-progress stage, then revision, presented, and reviewed for assessment.
  • can be electronically reviewed and commented by the public or private groups for assessment purposes
  • can be modified and expanded upon for various viewing audiences
  • allows accessible format for collecting and evaluating activities from distance learners
  • growth over a long period of time can easily be assessed, as artifacts can be compared to each other
  • ePortfolios are a living document that can show strengths and weaknesses at any given point in the student's learning process
  • evolve over time and with learners experiences
  • time consuming and labor-intensive for large groups
  • need to level the playing field as technology is not accessible to all
  • electronic evaluation might cause portfolios to be diverted away from their individualistic nature, making them another form of mass assessment
  • standards must be developed (and perhaps standardized for uniform evaluation of portfolios) in order to give focus to the purpose
  • storage space for the electronic files may be lacking
  • privacy issues- can educational institutions guarantee the privacy of student work?
  • requires advanced technology materials that are not available in every school
  • limited availability of different kinds of software for assessment of portfolios
  • requires students to have a certain amount of technological skill which may not be attainable in resource-poor schools, or amongst young students
  • time to instruct students in how to use technology may be time consuming
  • may enable plagiarism if available via internet of ones orginal work, ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • ability to modify contents after evaluation may alter intended purpose
  • long-term growth assessment may be hindered when ePortfolios are not consistently used across grade levels
  • portfolios (and by default ePortfolios) are not considered as "standardized" or "stable" as other types of assessment since they are defined and specilized by their creators to represent a personal sample of work, which may call into question their validity
  • very few scoring instruments exist for grading portfolios and of those that exist, next to none have been validated in a research study (Hamp-Lyons,L & Kroll, B.,1996)
  • may be difficult to score even with a teacher-made rubric because each student will be going in different directions
  • ----

Benefits and Drawbacks of Technology

  • can add and enhance archiving, linking/thinking, storytelling, collaborating and publishing.
  • students can publish their work online to attract a greater audience and receive more feedback.
  • combines visual, audio, and sound effects to meet the goals of learners with different learning styles
  • motivates student in the learning process.
  • provides learners with more tools to develop their creativities in presenting their work.
  • provides more tools for collaborative writing, for example wiki, weblog ect.
  • model of professionalism
  • portability and accessibility for both the student and the evaluator in certain schools
  • can be word searched by subject or topic

  • may be more time-consuming compared with the paper work.
  • learners need more technology skills training and basic computer knowledge
  • too much technology might distract learners' attention. If learners focus too much on the technology skills, they might put less emphasis on the content.
  • can be uncomfortable or frustrating for learners who are not familiar with the computer technology or don’t have needed skills.
  • privacy may not be guaranteed
  • not cost-effective for most schools yet
  • some programs may not be readable by all viewers
  • portfolio might become outdated due to software updates or lack of software updates
  • computer could crash and students can lose all their stored information
  • cyber-plagiarism
  • teachers of a certain age may be lacking in professional development for the technology skill required