Types of Assessment Methods



What is a Portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of student's work which gives evidence to show how the student can meet the specified learning outcomes. A typical portfolio consists of work selected by the student, reasons for selecting these works and self-reflection on the learning process. Portfolio is a developmental process, thus it is not only the product that the student or teacher assess upon but also the learning process in which the student develops during the given period. Portfolio is an assessment method that monitors the growth and development of student learning.

Structure of Portfolio Assessment

Unlike most assessments, portfolio assessment can contain many different forms of assessments as it is a collection of student's work. A portfolio assessment is sometimes followed by an oral assessment.

Three Types of Assessment Portfolios: (Park University CETL, accessed on 3rd July 2008)

  1. Documentation Portfolio is to highlight the development and improvement of student learning during a given period of time. It often contains a range of artefacts from brainstormed lists to rough drafts to finished products.
  2. Process Portfolio is similar to documentation portfolio, in which it contains all the evidences required to prove the learning outcomes in the given time, in addition, it integrates reflection and higher-order cognitive activities. It emphasizes metacognitive functioning and encourages students to become active participants in understanding their own learning. Process portfolio often contains documentation of reflection such as learning logs, journals and diaries.
  3. Product Portfolio is a portfolio to demonstrate a student's best work. This type of portfolio is typically used for interview. It is more of a summative assessment and has no reflection on the learning process.

Y Functioning
  Take Time to Set
Y Take Time to Answer
Y Take Time to Correct
Y Take Time to provide Feedback
  Suitable for Large Class
Y Can substitute with Computers
Y Active
Y Process Oriented Method
  Product Oriented Method
P = Possibly    Y =Yes

Advantages of Portfolio
  • Portfolio is an assessment method which gives students the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. Students often develop a proud ownership of their work.
  • The self-reflection in each step allows students to improve as they see themselves progressing over time at the different stages.
  • Portfolio is an authentic assessment method, it determines meaningful work and often has personal relevance.
  • It promotes diversity of assessment methods.
  • It encourages motivation due to the visibility of the final portfolio.
  • It promotes creativity, individuality and uniqueness in the assessment of learning.
  • It assesses all levels of Bloom's taxonomy.
  • It shifts teacher's focus from comparative ranking to improving understanding via feedback.
  • Learning should not be all about the end result, portfolio is one of those assessment methods which allow students to demonstrate more than the end result - a process orientated method.
  • High validity.
Disadvantages of Portfolio
  • Portfolio is a very time-consuming assessment method in terms of planning, responding, correcting and providing feedback.
  • Clear instructions and guidelines must be given to students, as often students take portfolio as a collection of their work only with no justification on reasoning and reflective statements. A sample or defined portfolio size should also be given.
  • Plagiarism can occur.
  • It is a subjective assessment method and teachers sometimes find it difficult to assess, as it is difficult to measure reliability.
  • Students may overspend their time on the presentation of the portfolio, and not on the actual content. Tutor and peer assessors may also be affected by these effects and overlook the meaningful ideas behind the topic.
How to design a good Portfolio Assessment
  1. Ensure the students know what the objectives of the portfolio assessment are.
  2. Provide students the time period, guidelines, requirements, assessment criteria and if there are items that are not to be included. The students should also be aware of who is going to assess them - tutor, peers and/or self? And if peers or themselves are going to assess, would the weightings be the same as the tutor's assessment?
  3. Prepare a structured marking sheet for all assessors.
  4. Feedback is very important for a good portfolio assessment.
Marking Rubrics

  • Clearly demonstrating the time frame.
  • Variety
  • Understanding of the content
  • Evidence of critical thinking and problem solving ability
  • Effectiveness of communication
  • Evidence of creativity
  • Knowledge of concepts and topical relationships with other content areas
  • Overall progress in the course
  • Clear indication on why the artifact is choose and reflect on the ideas behind


(From Recipe for Success, accessed 03 July 2008

MARKING RUBRICS Excellent Proficient Average Poor
Organization and Writing Mechanics: No usage or writing mechanical errors. Easy to navigate. Clear and concise organization. Few mechanical errors. Navigation is good. Well organized. Several mechanical errors. Few problems with organization. May be difficult to read in parts. Impossible to follow the organization of the portfolio and have many mechanical errors.
Artifact Selection: All artifacts clearly and directly related to course purpose. Most artifacts clearly and directly related to course purpose. Few artifacts related to course purpose. Did not submit any artifacts.
Reflections: All reflections demonstrate student's development and insight into the complexity of issues presented. Reflections state the "what, so what and now what" in relation to artifacts. Definite connections with self and others. Most reflections demonstrate student's development and insight into the complexity of issues presented. Reflections state the "what, so what and now what" in relation to artifacts. Connections with self and others. Some reflections demonstrate student's development and insight into the complexity of issues presented. Reflections may state the "what, so what or now what" in relation to artifacts. Some connections with self and others. Did not show any reflective statements

Web Reference and Resources

Portfolio Assessment

To Reference these pages

Copy and paste the text below:
Chan C.(2009) Assessment: Portfolio, Assessment Resources@HKU, University of Hong Kong [http://ar.talic.hku.hk]: Available: Accessed: DATE