Learning, Reflection, and Electronic Portfolios: Stepping Toward an Assessment Practice

  • William H. Rickards
  • Mary E. Diez
  • Linda Ehley
 et al. 
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Internet technologies have led to unique opportunities for portfolios in educational practice, providing an operational facility for learners to move among numerous and complex performance records (Love, McKean, & Gathercoal, 2004). Among other uses, this facility provides a foundation for refl ection on learning and performance as a means to further development, construct personal expertise, and explore identity. Refl ection is both an educational outcome and a means to continued learning, and it has had a sustained role across higher education: for example, as a developmental construct amenable to measurement (Kitchener & King, 1981), as a critical element in larger theories of postsecond- ary education and development (Mentkowski & Associates, 2000), and as part of assessment and development practices for professional competence (Dannefer et al., 2005). As with other educational outcomes, the sustained vitality of refl ec- tion and its uses in educational practices depends in part on elaborating develop- mental frameworks that can be interpreted through assessment and instruction (cf. Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001). At the same time, amid reasonable questions about the effi cacy of portfolios and their digital versions, the variations in forms and implementation make it diffi cult to carry out impact studies in practical settings (Rickards & Ehley, 2005). To that end, the following study hasattempted to explore and elaborate a framework for refl ection and learning that could ultimately be used to study applications in the technology-mediated envi- ronment of a learning portfolio (in this case, Alverno College’s Diagnostic Digi- tal Portfolio). Th e work reported here was a preliminary step to examine student refl ective performances and specifi cally address the construction of a refl ective learning framework and its initial implications for use in related assessments. As a secondary purpose, this work explores the use of deliberative inquiry as a means to studying educational practice in a technological application. In this case, the empirical study of student performances was integrated with particular teaching and assessment practice and examined through the conceptual founda- tions

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  • William H. Rickards

  • Mary E. Diez

  • Linda Ehley

  • Lauralee F. Guilbault

  • Georgine Loacker

  • Judith Reisetter Hart

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