The Development, Implementation, and
Use of E-portfolios
Diane Mason, Ph.D.
Cindy Cummings, Ed.D.
Sheryl Abshire, Ph.D.
Kay Abernathy, Ed.D.
August 20, 2013
• The Inter/National Coalition for Electronic
Portfolio Research (I/NCEPR) convenes
research/practitioners to study the impact of e-
portfolios on student learning and educational
• Each year 10-12 institutions
selected through an
constitute a three-year cohort.
• Bowling Green State University
• Curtin University of Technology (Australia)
• Goshen College
• Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
• Lamar University
• Northeastern University
• Portland State University
• University of Georgia
• University of Michigan
• University of Mississippi
• Virginia Military Institute
• Westminster College
I/NCEPR Cohort VI Participants
To investigate master’s program content
related to construction of electronic
portfolios in an online Educational
Technology Leadership (ETL) master’s
program and potential transference of
concepts to PK-12 classrooms.
• An e-portfolio is a technology-based storage of
artifacts that demonstrates learning (Barrett,
• The design is aligned with a constructivist
approach (Paulson & Paulson, 1994).
• Three areas of interest for this study included
the application of Web 2.0 tools for e-portfolio
construction and use, reflection on learning
and transference, and the use of
e-portfolios for formative assessment.
– Has the participation of an ETL master’s
candidate in an e-portfolio process
contributed to the transference of
e-portfolio practices with PK-12 students?
– What identified support systems, barriers,
and challenges did ETL graduates find to exist
in their school regarding technology, policy
and procedures, and implementation of
– How has the ETL Master’s graduates’
knowledge of e-portfolio assessment
supported the implementation of digital
portfolios with PK-12 students?
• Transference is an individual’s ability to use past
experiences and new knowledge, shaped by interaction,
feedback, and reflections of understanding, to apply in
new learning situations (Bransford & Swartz, 1999).
• Transference aligns with the
foundational approach of
constructivism where learners
demonstrate and apply
knowledge learned from
one context to another
• Electronic portfolios have a strong support base in
constructivism where learners interact with artifacts
to construct meaning and show evidence of learning
(Avraamidou & Zembal-Saul, 2003; Barrett &
• Historically, electronic portfolios have been used in
higher education (Barrett, 2011).
• The use of electronic portfolios in K-12 are referenced
in the USDOE National Education Technology Plan as a
learning and assessment tool (U.S. Department of
Explanatory Sequential Design
• Referred to as a two-phase model (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011).
• Involved collecting quantitative data followed by collecting
qualitative information to better enlighten and explain the
quantitative data results (Creswell, 2012).
• Fall 2011 distributed survey about e-portfolio
use to 289 ETL graduates
– 16 invalid email addresses
– 2 opted out (not PK -12 educators)
• 271 possible respondents
– 110 completed survey
– 41 % response rate
• Examination of 60 e-portfolios representative of
graduates who completed the program during the
same timeframe as the 271 survey respondents
• Analysis revealed three themes
– Web 2.0 Tools
– Reflective Process
Design of Instrument
• Developed a pilot survey with a 5 point Likert Scale.
– Tested internal consistency for Likert-style items
using Cronbach’s Alpha.
– Revised survey and conducted another pilot.
– Solicited feedback from field experts.
• Used SurveyMonkey™ to distribute and obtain
anonymous survey responses to the Likert items and
• Belief that portfolios were valuable regardless whether
paper or electronic.
• Transference limitations
– Digital e-portfolio formats inconsistent in schools and
– Technology support for design and
implementation of electronic portfolios
in schools and classrooms.
– Technology infrastructure, filtering,
• “The program has pushed me to explore
new technologies, such as, Web 2.0
applications. Because of these
experiences I directly applied my
learning to my own classroom” (E-
• “With Web 2.0, the focus is not on
software, but on practices such as
sharing thoughts and information
through self-publishing and harnessing
the collective intelligence of all users to
generate information and solve
problems” (E-portfolio 2).
• “When I understand what they
need and what tools we have to
offer, I can plan effective strategies
and activities that will facilitate
deep, critical learning, leading my
students to be successful citizens as
they continue through life” (E-
• The graduates stated that reflection
was often used by their PK-12
students to explain their learning
through e-portfolio development.
• “An e-portfolio would make it
possible for students to interact
outside of the classroom and assist
each other towards a new form of
peer tutoring” (E-Portfolio 4).
• “Electronic portfolios…will follow
them from year to year. Students
will be able to communicate
beyond borders and learn without
limits” (E-Portfolio 5).
Recommendations for Future Study
• Examine barriers that impede the transference of
higher education program content to application in
• Research how PK-12 classroom teachers use artifacts
and reflections to provide
formative feedback regarding
• Spring 2013 distributed survey about barriers,
challenges, and support to 437 ETL graduates
– 23 invalid email addresses
– 5 opted out (not PK -12 educators)
• 409 possible respondents
– 202 completed survey
– 49 % response rate
• Demographic characteristics of teachers (Bebell,
Russell, & O'Dwyer, 2004; Van Braak, 2001)
• Teachers’ technological and content knowledge
• Technical, administrative, and peer support
(Becker & Ravitz, 1999; NCES, 2000;
Ringstaff & Kelly, 2002; Sandholtz &
Reilly, 2004; Van Melle, Cimellaro,
& Shulha, 2003).
• A lack of well-defined guidelines and a clear structure (Smith
& Tillema, 2003) and a lack of examples of past portfolios
(Darling, 2001), can lead to administrator, teacher, and
student confusion and anxiety about the scope, nature and
value of the task (Darling, 2001).
• Approaches to feedback can sometimes
be inappropriate (Smith & Tillema, 2003)
• Can be difficult to authenticate the
evidence in a portfolio – is it really
the work of the student in question
(Abrami & Barrett, 2005).
• Challis (2005) raises a number of issues that needs to be
addressed by an institution
– how to manage the volume of data
– who will have access to the electronic
portfolios, the security and privacy of
– copyright and intellectual property
• Identify and provide different tools available to implement electronic
portfolios for both teachers and students
• Provide professional development in electronic portfolio development
knowledge and skills, using either face-to-face or online strategies, to be able
– Capture and store evidence in a variety of multimedia formats and Web 2.0/mobile tools
– Reflect on Learning - “reflection = the heart and soul
of a portfolio”
– Give and receive feedback as part of formative assessment
– Plan and set goals as a lifelong learning strategy
– Collaborate using Web 2.0 tools
– Present showcase portfolio to an audience
– Evaluate portfolios used for summative assessment
• Ample support systems are in place in PK-12 to
encourage implementation of e-portfolios.
• Spring 2013 findings revealed there were challenges,
but no significant barriers were identified for
• Identified challenges could be
addressed to assure successful
implementation of e-portfolios.
Questions to consider:
• Who is the audience?
• Why are we developing them?
• How will they be used to show evidence of
• How do you provide students a choice and
voice in selection of artifacts?
Levels of Implementation (Barrett, 2011)
What is the purpose?
• Level 1: e-portfolio as storage.
• Level 2: e-portfolio as workspace
• Level 3: e-portfolio as showcase
• Selection of Web 2.0 tool aligned with
e-portfolio purpose (Barrett, 2012, January).
• Strategies for reflections that provide insight into
student learning and growth (Barrett & Richer,
2012) may require the development of guiding
• Assessment opportunities
which offer formative and
summative approaches to
examine in-depth learning
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