Documentation portfolios provide working evidence that shows teachers, and parents how student has progressed throughout the semester or year.
“Working” portfolios provide a meaningful way for students to self reflect and evaluate their own work (Popham, 2008).
Think of “working” Portfolios as continually developing and evolving with the student.
Instructional decision making
Documentation, i.e., student work, should be collected as near to the instructional decision as possible (Anderson, 2003, p.44, as cited in Popham, 2008,).
Collecting students’ most current work allows teachers to make more reliable and valid inferences.
Showcasing student accomplishment
“Celebration” portfolios, or showcase portfolios, allow students to select their best work and present it to parents, teachers, and peers (Stiggens, 2004, as cited in Popham 2008).
Celebration portfolios are better suited for elementary grade levels (Stiggens, 2004, as cited in Popham 2008).
Self evaluation and reflection should be encouraged.
Evaluation of student status
When portfolios are used to determine students’ status, items in the portfolio, and the assessment of those items, must be more standardized (McMillan 2004, as cited in Popham 2008.) Hence, most evaluation portfolios are scored by a specific rubric.
Teachers most often choose the work that will go into the portfolio.
Unlike showcase or documentation portfolios, portfolios for evaluation are not centered on student self reflection.
Discuss in your content area groups what you might include in either a showcase, documentation, or evaluation portfolio.
What does all this mean?
Although Portfolios may be able to perform all three functions: evaluation, showcasing, and documentation, they, as Popham suggests, cannot do them well.
Focus on the “primary purpose” of your portfolios (Popham, 2008). How do you want to assess your students’ progress?
Portfolios may fall under the same umbrella term, but they are used for drastically different reasons.
Questions to consider:
What are the three main purposes that Popham suggest portfolios can be used for?
How can we make valid inferences about student progress using portfolio assessment?
Is it possible to use one portfolio to achieve all three purposes? (i.e., documentation, evaluation, and showcase) Why or why not?
Popham, W.J. (2008) Classroom Assessment What Teachers Need to Know (5 th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon .