Publications & Resources

Teachers’ and Students’ Roles in Large-Scale Portfolio Assessment: Providing Evidence of Competency With the Purposes and Processes of Writing

Aug 1995

Maryl Gearhart and Shelby Wolf

From 1992-1994, the California Department of Education and the Center for Performance Assessment of Educational Testing Service were engaged in the development of a new standards-based portfolio component for the California Learning Assessment System (CLAS). Based on interviews with four teachers from different school settings, the researchers sought answers to the following questions: How did teachers participating in trials of the program understand the CLAS Portfolio Assessment Program and how did they use the dimensions of learning to guide their language arts curriculum and assessment practices? How did their students understand the dimensions of learning, and how did they use the dimensions to guide their portfolio choices? What implications do the findings have for large-scale portfolio assessment? The CRESST researchers found that teachers’ curriculum varied, providing students with quite different opportunities to learn about the dimensions of learning measured by the portfolios; teachers also varied in their approach to documentation of students’ writing, providing students with different opportunities to demonstrate their competencies with portfolio choices. Findings suggest a need to balance the vision of student choice as a desirable goal for students with what is needed to ensure that portfolio raters are provided appropriate evidence of student performance.

Gearhart, M., & Wolf, S. (1995). Teachers’ and students’ roles in large-scale portfolio assessment: Providing evidence of competency with the purposes and processes of writing (CSE Report 406). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).