Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Assessing the Efficacy and Effectiveness of an E-Portfolio Used for Summative Assessment

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Assessing the Efficacy and Effectiveness of an E-Portfolio Used for Summative Assessment

Article excerpt

Introduction

An e-portfolio is an organized compilation that demonstrates knowledge, skills, values, and/or achievements and that includes reflections or exegesis which articulate the relevance, credibility, and meaning of the artifacts presented (Cooper & Love, 2007). They are customizable to represent the uniqueness of an individual student, requiring reflection that encourages deep learning (Barrett, 2004). Further, e-portfolios can stimulate a dialogue about learning as instructors and peers provide feedback on the portfolios engendering further action and reflection on the part of the learner.

An e-portfolio system is a repository management system used in the creation, storage, and assessment of e-portfolios. Under the name of artifacts, they are capable of including academic records, essays, project reports, assignments, audio and video files, assessments, and personal and professional development related contents linked to learning goals and reflections (Wang, 2009) . E-portfolio systems can be open source (e.g., Open Source Portfolio and Moodle's Exabis Portfolio Block), custom created by an academic institution (Purdue University's electronic portfolio system built using Microsoft's SQL and University of Singapore's Student Electronic Learning Folio developed using ASP.net), developed by an institution using open standards (e.g., Iowa's State University's eDoc), or commercially developed (e.g., eFolio, TaskStream). According to Wang (2009) among different e-portfolio systems there are significant variations in user interface design; however, regardless of platform, the functionalities of competitive e-portfolio systems are similar with all including capabilities for the uploading of artifacts, customization, commenting on and assessing student work, communicating and sharing, reflection, drawing linkages to goals, showcase generating, and varying forms of administrative reporting. Further, Wang (2009) explained that most available systems are subject independent and therefore useful across the academic spectrum.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), a Historically Black University, has implemented an electronic portfolio project within the Department of Business, Management, and Accounting (Department) that is used for both summative and formative assessment as well as to encourage students to engage in deep learning and self reflection. The project was initially implemented with senior standing students and was gradually embedded throughout the curriculum starting with incoming freshmen. As a multi-year project, the goal is to help both students and faculty evaluate students' academic and professional development longitudinally (Buzzetto-More, 2010) . The project is designed to have several benefits:

1) Allowing both faculty and students to evaluate student growth and progression towards learning goals.

2) Encouraging students to reflect on their own growth and development.

3) Serving as a tool to guide the student in their academic and professional planning.

4) Helping students to see how course work relates to real world practice.

5) Helping students to see the interrelatedness of course learning as well as how course learning translates into their own development towards learning goals.

6) Providing a flexible assessment measure that gives students both more control and more opportunities to succeed.

7) Offering a student centered way to measure student mastery of learning goals that encourages deep learning.

8) Helping to serve as an empowerment tool by providing a mechanism for primarily first generation, low income, academically underprepared, minority learners to engage in a dialogue about their learning and accomplishments.

9) Providing a mechanism by which students can showcase their talent which can be used by students for professional promotion when looking for internships and/or permanent employment (Buzzetto-More, 2010). …

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