|Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio
Electronic Portfolios for Foreign Language Teachers
Why should a portfolio be standards-based? Dr. Helen Barrett proposes "that a portfolio without standards is just a multimedia presentation or a fancy electronic resume or a digital scrapbook." (The Electronic Portfolio Development Process) Indeed, if the standards form the basis of our learning goals, then should also be the basis of the assessment.
To show progress, a student portfolio may include samples of early and
later work for the purpose of comparison. A portfolio that is a snapshot
of student performance might include only work representative of the students
Before adding material to a digital portfolio, we must first establish its purpose. Which standards will be illustrated in the portfolio, and which performance indicators will be used to demonstrate that the student has met each standard? Who is that audience for the portfolio?
ACTFL page on National Standards : http://www.actfl.org/files/public/execsumm.pdf
For each performance indicator, reflect upon how you have met the standard. What artifacts demonstrate this achievement? The portfolio does not simply present student work, it should explain how the student work demonstrates that each standard has indeed been met. For each standard, what does the student need to learn? What are the student's short-term and long-term goals for this standard?
For the teacher, practice preparing one's own standards-based portfolio is an excellent step in learning to design a workable and useful student portfolio template. Helen Barrett's model for the process of developing teacher electronic portfolios represents a solid basis for our understanding and development of student portfolios: How to Create Your Own Electronic Portfolio. The heart of the process lies in these five steps:
- Collection - save artifacts that represent the day-to-day results of teaching and learning
- Selection - review and evaluate the artifacts saved, and identify those that demonstrate achievement of specific standards or goals.
- Reflection - reflect on the significance of the artifacts chosen for the portfolio in relationship to specific learning goals.
- Projection (or Direction) - compare the reflections to the standards/goals and performance indicators, and set learning goals for the future.
- Presentation - share the portfolio with peers and receive feedback.(Danielson & Abrutyn, 1997)
Plan your student portfolios carefully, and prepare a portfolio template that meets your needs.
- Plan the categories in the portfolio using the standards.
- Identify performance indicators that will demonstrate the level achieved for each standard.
- Reflect on how the level achieved may be demonstrated.
- Select items for inclusion in the portfolio.
- Evaluate how each standard has been met.
- Propose goals yet to be met for the standard.
There are many technologically adequate ways to build a digital portfolio, but each teacher must used the tools and skills at his or her disposal. To be successful, materials collected should be able to adequately represent student performance. Materials collected may be in text, image, audio, and video formats. The overall support medium should present these artifacts within a structure that clearly shows which standards are being met. Reflective commentary should be available in a manner that does not detract from the presentation of the artifacts or distract attention from the standards-based format.
We will use a web page to provide the overall structure of the portfolio. Text may be included in a word processor format, though a scanned image in jpg or gif format or a pdf file are also options. Audio samples may be collected on audio tape and digitized or collected in a digital format. Likewise, video may be captured in an analog video recording or using a digital camcorder. We will use Helix Producer (RM) or Mp3 for audio and RM or MPG for video for the portfolio.
The Electronic Portfolio for pre-service language teachers at SUNY Cortland uses a HTML template in MS Word as the basic portfolio structure to facilitate editing (note that this is outdated and no longer in use at our school - it is just a sample).
By keeping the technological component of the electronic portfolio as simple as possible, students are encouraged to focus more on the content than on the form.