The popularity of ePortfolios has been steadily increasing over the years. Currently, they are being used in more than half of U.S. colleges and universities. Even high schools are beginning to see their value of being able to enhance student learning. But while most view ePortfolios as a tool to showcase the story of an individual’s experience, it’s also good to remember they can also be used by faculty and staff to assess student performance. Especially since it may not be top of mind for students to reflect and collect samples of their work. This is why it is vital for educators to show support for, and help students understand the benefits an ePortfolio can give them in the classroom and beyond. Below are six steps to consider when crafting your assessment processes.
6 Steps to Assessment
1 – Pick Your ePortfolio Platform – Tarleton State University (TSU) chose Portfolium because their existing portfolio system was antiquated, not user-friendly, and needed to be replaced. Portfolium provided TSU with ease of use and implementation, portability after graduation, cost effectiveness, and a modern look and feel. If your ePortfolio platform can’t be easily understood, faculty, staff, and students will not want to work with it.
2 – Help Students Become Proficient – When you’re able to help your students see the benefits of what an ePortfolio can do for their academics and eventually their careers, you’re likely to have more engagement. TSU reported their students immediately understood Portfoilum’s intuitive interface without any training.
3 – Establish a Standardized Format (i.e., courses, degree programs, etc.) –TSU uses Portfolium’s assessment module to support the accreditation of three programs related to counseling, engineering, and curriculum instruction. These departments develop key assignments and attach rubrics to individual criteria to achieve the outcomes designated by the corresponding accrediting bodies.
4 – Create a Content Review Schedule – In order to help students grow and excel, there needs to be a review and feedback process that takes places on a regular basis. Use multiple reviewers (e.g., faculty and peers) where appropriate and require students to self-assess (reflect) within the ePortfolio and incorporate their learning into future projects.
5 – Specify Acceptable ePortfolio Artifacts – It is up to each school to determine which artifacts are allowed, but once you have a list of what’s acceptable, make sure students and faculty know where to find it, so there’s no confusion.
6 – Publicize assessment tools, criteria, methods, and frequency – When you make something public, not only are you more likely to follow through, but you’re also being transparent about the objectives you’re trying to achieve. No assessment process is perfect the first time out. Work on constantly refining your tools, criteria, and methods so that you’re delivering the best possible outcomes for all involved.
Partner with Career Services
Think of the Career Services department as your partner when it comes to helping students draft and assess their ePortfolios. After all, career services is the school’s link to the hiring world, so making sure they’re part of the ePortfolio process is paramount.
Share in the comments the methods you’ve used to successfully assess ePortfolios.
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