Portfolios have become an important part of many educational programs over the past few decades, and they are increasingly being used as a platform for assessment. Traditional, paper-based portfolios in which students collect work samples documenting their progress through a program of study are typically housed in a single place and organized in a way that demonstrates continual learning and growth. Work samples may include graded tests, writing samples, term papers, projects, and other classroom artifacts. From a learner's perspective, using a portfolio to track growth and progress means, [Let me show you!]
In an ideal situation, an effective portfolio assessment focuses on student development and growth over time, with benchmarks established to examine learning. In a standards-based portfolio, students collect artifacts in a [working] portfolio. Eventually, students select those producs that best demonstrate how they've met the standards, with accompanying reflections that justify their choices and document their learning.
Unfortunately, typical portfolio assessment programs rarely match this ideal. Because so many complex issues and political pressures are related to assessment at the school level, implementing a full portfolio program is difficult and requires careful planning, administrative commitment, and consistent oversight and revision. Coupling a portfolio program with other assessment options can provide a more complete picture of student learning and standards attainment.