Skip to main content

ePortfolios as Summary Assessment

An ePortfolio is a chance for a student to make the argument that they have mastered all the objectives in a course.  

In the climax of Oliver Stone’s film JFK, Jim Garrison sums up his entire case by providing pieces of evidence in the hope of finding Clay Shaw guilty of conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.  Although the accuracy of many of the facts in the movie have been brought into question,  there is no doubt that the entire closing argument sequence of the film is a masterclass in editing and screenwriting.  Stone uses multiple film stocks to create the sense of cinema verite alongside of stocks that denote a subjective perspective.  If you have never seen it or haven’t seen the section in a while, seek it out.  I could probably teach an entire semester course on it.

The ultimate goal of the ePortfolio in my class is to take the place of a traditional paper and pencil final exam.  The portfolio has a home page and a separate page for each unit.  The purpose of each page is for the student to describe the unit objectives, explain their progress through the unit, and present evidence that they met the unit objectives.

My students use Google Sites to create their ePortfolios. Our district uses Google Apps for Education. So, all student projects are stored on their Google Drive. Google Sites allows for simple embedding of any files from Drive directly into a web page. This takes all the guesswork out of uploading files and formatting them for embedding. I am able to create a template to get students started. As we go, students learn the basics of creating and editing their own portfolio pages. There are different levels of customization from novice (changing themes) to advanced (changing overall layout of web page and site navigation). This provides for a wide level of differentiation among different student groups.

Rather than provide a length explanation of each portfolio section, I've decided to let some student examples speak for themselves.

The Home Page

This is where the student introduces herself, states her learning goal for the class, and states her personal mission statement.

Identify Objectives

The objectives for each unit are very specific. In the past, I had students work from scratch to define the objectives in their own words. 

Now, I have students treat the objective like a prompt to be broken down (bolding verbs and underlining objects). Then, students explain how they met each objective within they unit.

Progress Sheet

The progress sheet is where students keep track of their progress towards objective mastery on formative assessment throughout the unit.

I have now added columns for feedback about the unit with Plus and Delta columns. This is taken from the CCI model. What is CCI?

Unit Project

Students provide an artifact from the unit and explain how it demonstrates objective mastery.

The response to the portfolio process from my students has been nothing but positive.  Students state that it is the best representation of their knowledge.  They are less stressed than preparing for an exam even if it may be more work.  It truly requires them to be reflective about the work they have done in class.  Also, it has allowed them to learn how to create a web site a skill many of them never had and didn't think they could learn.

I can't imagine ever going back to a tradition final exam in any of my classes.

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…