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Clarifying different types of portfolio use

by Kari Smith, Harm Tillema
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education ()

Abstract

As becomes apparent in the growing literature on portfolios as assessment tools, there is a wide array of definitions and interpretations of the instrument. The prospects and benefits of portfolios being discussed increasingly call for a need to distinguish between types of portfolio. In this paper four types of portfolios are compared based on their goals and setting of use. Descriptive and evaluative data were collected as a background for comparative analyses between types of portfolio and in-depth interviews were undertaken to find out about the reasons and explanations for different portfolio use by their collectors. The analyses is focused on three criteria of portfolio use as they relate to different elements of the portfolio collection process: (i) the clarity and explicitness of the portfolio collection; (ii) the feasibility of the collection process itself; (iii) trust in the outcome of what is being collected. The study indicates that feasibility considerations are mainly responsible for differences between types, linked to an uncertainty and ambiguity on the part of the collectors to engage in the process of compilation. The trust in the portfolio instrument as a valid tool to assess abilities seems hardly affected and remained high. A major concern across different types of portfolio for all users is the feedback provided and potential use of collected information. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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