Using Portfolios for Assessment in
Teacher Preparation and Health
This chapter will initially consider the use of a portfolio as the assessment method for Thames Valley University's (TVU) postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Further and Higher Education. The reasons for this choice of method, how it has been evaluated as an assessment method, and what changes have been made are described. The chapter will also look at the use of portfolios generally, including their advantages and disadvantages. It will then go on to describe how this method of assessment has been developed further for use in nursing and midwifery programmes in the Wolfson Institute of Health Sciences at TVU.
The development team creating this postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Further and Higher Education in 1994 were interested in the philosophy of innovative assessment. Many of the team members were involved in the university's Enterprise in Higher Education scheme. The team, drawn from all ten schools of the university (as the university was structured at the time) and the Learning Resources Centres, were united in a common goal to improve the quality of students' learning. The team subscribed to the idea of learning through assessment. During the development of the programme, assessment was not viewed as an 'add on' at the end, but as a primary focus for the choice of content and teaching and learning approaches. In Harris and Bell's (1990) terms, assessment was not to be just something 'done to' learners, but also 'done with' and 'done by' learners.