An examination portfolio contains a collection of student achievements that the student completes to demonstrate the intended learning outcomes of a course. The content of the portfolio may vary in terms of content, work process and the students' influence in the selection. This page provides information on recommended content as well as examples regarding reporting of the examination portfolio.
What should be included in an examination portfolio
Table of Contents
An advantage of the portfolio as an examination method is that it enables an overall assessment of the student's developed knowledge. However, this may mean that both teacher and student need to handle many assignments, which means that some form of table of contents is useful. A digital option is to create a shared document where students mark which assignment they have worked on, or a quiz where the work with the assignment can be reported and a possible solution submitted and, if possible, automatically assessed.
Reflection assignment / logbook
The examination portfolio should include a reflection assignment or logbook where the student reflects on their learning or is asked to describe and explain one or more parts of their work. Elements with self-evaluation (the student evaluates their own work), explanations of e.g. calculations in the student's own words can be entered in the middle and end of the course or be expected to be done continuously in a logbook. Each student learns in a unique way, which is reflected in the reflection assignment or logbook. The logbook can thus be useful in assessing if it is the student’s own work or if it is an attempt at misleading.
The examination assignments consist of what is suitable for the course. Some things to think about are whether it should be individual assignments or group assignments, different compulsory assignments depending on which grade the student wants to achieve, a few large assignments or many small ones, etc. When it comes to small assignments, keep in mind to not use assignments from books, since most books have ready-made solutions that the students may have access to.
Here is information on how to design written assignments for examination .
Students often study together, which benefits learning and is also the form of work the students are likely to work in after their studies. Assignments that the students solve together fit better from a pedagogical perspective, but at the same time the final grade must be based on the individual's performance. Therefore, a mix of individual assignments and assignments for collaboration in the portfolio is recommended.
One of the advantages of the examination portfolio is that a holistic assessment can be made. Assessment based on the teacher's overall impression of a student achievement. It gives the image of a complex learning where qualitative grading criteria can be linked to the intended learning outcomes.
Below are two examples of selection methods for what is to be reported from the portfolio. One is that all student work done in the course is included and the other is that a selection of the works is included in the portfolio or are to be presented.
Presentation / assessment of all work in the portfolio
How the assessment of the portfolio's work is carried out affects not only the teacher's workload but also which work the student will prioritize. If all the work is to be assessed individually, consider whether it is possible to automatically assess parts of the examination portfolio with the help of a quiz. It should also be considered whether all the student's achievements / work must be correct, could it be enough that all the work has been started or may it even be okay that some are incorrect? An arrangement where, for example, 80% of the work / assignments must be correctly solved reduces the pressure on the student, which can lead to less cheating. The student's work with the examination portfolio should be followed continuously with various feedback steps in order for the student's development to be optimal. It is also good to finish the work with the portfolio together with the students by having a follow-up oral examination at the end of the course. This is also an opportunity to ensure the student’s identity and counteract cheating. Here is more information about follow-up oral examinations.
Example of final presentation of examination portfolio
Reporting / assessment of a selection of works in the portfolio
By only assessing parts of the examination portfolio's content, the workload for the teacher can be minimized. To prevent students from giving less priority to some assignments, the decision of which assignments to assess should be made after several assignments have been completed. One way to select content is that the examiner states a minimum requirement for what is to be included and an upper limit for the examination portfolio. The student then selects which assignments should represent the their performance. Another method is to let chance or the teacher decide which assignments to assess. As already mentioned, the student's work with the examination portfolio should be followed continuously with various feedback steps in order for the student's development to be optimal. It is also good to finish the work with the portfolio together with the students by having a follow-up oral examination at the end of the course. This is also an opportunity to ensure the student’s identity and counteract cheating. Here is more information about follow-up oral examinations.
Example of continuous presentation of a selection of portfolio information
An example of how portfolio assignments can be examined continuously is described by Anna Hedin (2006) * . The method is carried out during a lesson / exercise occasion, with a student group of at least 25 people so that there will be a good discussion. The method has mainly been used to examine the passing grade and proved successful in such a way that the number of students who completed the course increased:
Translated from Swedish to English.
“Students in mathematics at the University of Kalmar can take oral exams on certain courses. The students are given the task of solving a number of tasks for a teaching occasion. They report which of the assigned tasks they believe they have solved on a form. To be approved, the student must have marked themselves to have solved at least 80 percent of the assignments and the student must actively participate in the following lesson.
Of the group of students who answered that they solved the task, the teacher selects six students at a time at the lesson. These students individually report their respective solutions at the same time. When they have written their solutions on the board, the teacher asks questions to both the presenting students How confident are you of your solution? Where are any doubts? And to the others who stated that they solved the same task Do you have the same solution? If not, where is the difference? If the solution is the same, explain how you have thought step by step. ”
* Hedin, Anna (2006). Lärande på hög nivå. Uppsala Universitet. ISBN 91-506-1880-6