Properties of Student Academic Portfolios

Red Ball    To SIUE "Wing" Portfolio Assessment Project

A. Assessment systems, including portfolio systems, need three prerequisite questions answered:

  1. What's the context? What are the "big things" that need to be monitored?
  2. What's the construct? What assessment device is appropriate to do the monitoring?
  3. What's the use? What audience will see the results and how will feedback develop?

B. Context, construct, & use: Portfolio advantages and disadvantages:

In general, portfolio systems, especially those required of all students across disciplines, are comparatively rare at US universities, slightly more common in private colleges. Difficulties with portfolios include high maintenance costs (somebody, even if it's each student, has to collect and organize the portfolio contents) and difficult evaluation procedures (someone has to read and discuss them). Advantages include academic richness (portfolios reveal academic breadth and depth, student reflection and development) and personal contact (students tend to consult frequently with faculty members when constructing portfolio contents).

C. Portfolios for student or program assessment?

     Portfolios that primarily assess students (e.g., Alverno College, Evergreen College):

     Portfolios that primarily assess programs (e.g., Miami University of Ohio,
      Winthrop University, SIUE):

D. Portfolios required or sampled?

     Required portfolios (e.g., Truman State University, Alverno College, King's College,
      many universities on an individual unit or departmental basis):

     Sampled portfolios (e.g., SIUE, University of Missouri, Miami University of Ohio):

E. Portfolios preprogrammed or selected?

     Preprogrammed portfolios (e.g., Miami University, SIUE):

     Selected portfolios (e.g., Evergreen College, Alverno College):