Sunday, August 16, 2009


Personal portfolios for assessment and presentations have been a component for many years in higher education, however now electronic portfolios have begun to enter the world of lower primary. A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting content, the criteria for selection, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection (Barrett, 2009).

The three most common types of portfolios are(Barrett, 2009):
The working portfolio, which contains projects the student is currently working on or has recently completed.
The display portfolio, which showcases samples of the student's best work.
The assessment portfolio, which presents work demonstrating that the student, has met specific learning goals and requirements.

As a future learning manager I would direct students to begin with a working portfolio, where overtime students select items from their ‘working portfolio’ and use these items to create a display portfolio. I would then develop and assessment portfolio where I would instruct students to place examples of their best work as well as an explanation of why each piece is significant and reflection on their own personal learning goals. A great place for this to occur is using Mahara, which I am currently exploring and will go into more detail in another blog post.

Barrett (2009) identified five steps in the development of effective electronic portfolios:
1. Selection: the development of criteria for choosing items to include in the portfolio based on established learning objectives.
2. Collection: the gathering of items based on the portfolio's purpose, audience, and future use.
3. Reflection: statements about the significance of each item and of the collection as a whole.
4. Direction: a review of the reflections that looks ahead and sets future goals.
5. Connection: the creation of hypertext links and publication, providing the opportunity for feedback.

Barrett (2009) discusses that the ability to use hyperlinks to connect sections of the portfolio is an advantage of using electronic portfolios instead of paper portfolios. Barrett also points out that paper portfolios are static, meaning they cannot be accessed from different locations and there is only one copy.

The use of electronic portfolios incorporates many different technology tools; it also acts as a process of self reflection and personal growth. This process is very personal, and is a story of self that involves a great deal of self reflection and thought (Barrett, 2005).

This would be a great tool to incorporate into the classroom as it would extend students knowledge and skills in the wider community. A great example of this would be to create a resume for a future job; this therefore links with Kearsley and Schneiderman’s (1999) theory about creating authentic assessment.


Barrett, H., (2009). Electronic Portfolio Development. Retrieved 1st August, 2009 from

Barrett, H., (2005) Using Technology to Support Alternative Assessment and Electronic Portfolios. Retrieved 1st August, 2009 from

Kearsley, G. & Schneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 16th, 2009 from

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