Understanding Portfolio Assessment And How It Might Best Support Student Achievement: A Workshop
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Appropriate assessment procedures and processes can positively impact teaching and student learning (McMillan, Hellsten, & Klinger, 2010; Phye, 1997; Taylor & Nolen, 2008; Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001). Portfolio assessment is a method that has been used within North American Language Arts classrooms for more than twenty years, and can be defined as a “purposeful selection by a student of work/artifacts that represent the student’s pursuits, explorations, and projects as a way of evidencing the student’s progress, effort, achievements, and growth and as a basis for exploring possibilities” (Tierney & Clark, 2002, p. 443). However, the technical challenges of using portfolio assessment are well cited in research literature (see Heller, Sheingold, & Myford, 1998; Herman & Winters, 1994; Valencia & Calfee, 1991).The Ontario Ministry of Education requires the use of portfolios in the Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) and in special education settings. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that portfolios are not used in all OSSLC classrooms. Thus, in light of ministry directives, technical challenges, and lack of training the following project and workshop has been designed to add to the existing literature on portfolio assessment, to inform educational practice, and to facilitate educators’ self-efficacy and confidence in using the assessment tool.