Are Portfolios the Next Wave of Student Assessment?

posted in: Assessment, Reform | 0

One of my favorite blogs is CreatEquity. In one of their blogs a few weeks ago, (Portfolios: The Next Wave of Student Assessment? By LINDSEY COSGROVE | Published: DECEMBER 30TH, 2013) they highlighted the rising role of portfolios in schools and the need for performance assessments as opposed to standardized testing. It could be argued that we really have enough standardized testing to last a life time, and if that method was going to help us, it would have, already, by now. Unfortunately, the paradigm of standardized testing is not a strong enough measurement of how and what the brain is learning. But instead it has caused accountability to be transferred away from teaching and learning by measuring the wrong types of things such as brain processing speed, access to quality curriculum, and even socio-economic background traits. Outside tests have a very difficult time measuring what types of learning and teaching are going on inside a school. So one of the references for this blog mentions a great report to read and understand this trend:

Portfolios are one assessment tool under the larger umbrella of an emerging mode of student evaluation called performance assessment. According to Beyond Basic Skills: The Role of Performance Assessment in Achieving 21st Century Standards of Learningby Linda Darling-Hammond and Frank Adamson:

For many people, performance assessment is most easily defined by what it is not: specifically, it is not multiple choice testing. In a performance assessment, rather than choosing among pre-determined options, students must construct an answer, produce a product, or perform an activity.

Using performance assessment, a student might be asked to write a letter to the editor about a historical event from a specific point of view, draw a series of electrical circuits explaining how changes in configurations would affect the flow of electricity, or demonstrate the ability to use a map by actually navigating (CreatEquity).