06 August 2008

The Tracking Portfolio

ePortfolio: my favorite form of assessment. I've been lucky to be in a position to develop assessment methods as technology emerged to support affordable versions. That means a tracking portfolio can be web based, efficiently storing and scoring student works and saving a lot of trees in the bargain. And I've had the pleasure of designing a few. I'll make my ethical disclosure early: I am a TaskStream fan. The disclosure is that I have served as a consultant to the company, although as I like to tell cilents, I chose TaskStream before TaskStream chose me. (In a future article I will explain the criteria I used to compare portfolio platforms; I tested three platforms in four semesters in real-word conditions.)

Dual purpose: tracking and exiting. The ideal use of an ePortfolio is a tracking tool that also serves as the basis for an "exit portfolio," or a representative body of work that is submitted by the student at the end of a degree program. That dual purpose creates a win-win proposition for a program. Especially for a program that is implementing a portfolio for the first time, the win and the win should be spelled out. Instituting a portfolio involves a learning curve and change, so an explicit explanation of benefits is needed to assure participants that the "win" is worth the effort.

The student's win:
Portfolio that can be used in a job search
Skill-building in professional presentation
A place to put their stuff

The institution's win:
Tracking mechanism for students across degree
Online rubric scoring of student works
Efficient management of embedded assessments
A place to put our stuff

I have three requirements for a tracking portfolio. The ePortfolio must be web-based, faculty designed, and student maintained. I will address those three topics on August 26, 27, and 28. We'll call it ePortfolio Week. In the meantime, I recommend this web site of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research. In systematic assessment with cohort schools, the Coalition tracks portfolio development over 3 years' time. The results are beginning to add up.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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