CEP 813: Portfolio Self-Assessment

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

The piece of work that I am most proud of from the CEP 813 course is my Formative Assessment Design. This assignment was submitted and given instructor feedback three separate times throughout the length of the course. I found a ton of value in having an extended time to create something, walk away and then return to it with fresh eyes and fresh ideas for making it better. Being able to create this assignment in three installments allowed me to take time to reflect on each of the key understandings that I needed to demonstrate within it. I was provided feedback in the form of comments within my document from the instructor each time that it was submitted that challenged my arguments and thinking in my design rationale. We were also asked to publish this particular assignment in our digital portfolios for each submission date despite their draft form for the initial two posts. This allowed us to have an authentic audience to view and comment on our work and was motivation to submit high quality work. The assignment itself was both applicable to real-life in my current context and to the Digital Assessment course and lesson objectives.

One take away that I have from this experience is that providing an extended period of time encourages and fosters deeper thinking. If our goal is for students to demonstrate mastery of a curricular concept, then we have to be aware that the complexities of mastery can not be displayed through just the lens of a timed multiple choice test. Another is that providing multiple opportunities for feedback and the ability to submit a continuously improved product allowed me to actually confront and begin to address any misconceptions or misunderstandings that I had about the content. True misconceptions are very difficult for learners to correct especially in a short time frame. If I had only been able to submit this assignment one time, I would not have had the chance to make many of the connections that I did within the course of the second and third revision.

CEP 813: Sandbox for Professional Growth

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

I began my digital portfolio three years ago when I entered the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program. At that time, I did not think of writing a blog as a form of assessment. Being used to culture of learning from elementary age up that did not accept failure as an option, I had a difficult time initially adjusting to feedback from a professor or peers that was not in the form of a grade or prescribed the exact necessary fixes to make the work “perfect”. However as a result of encouragement through feedback from others to begin to reflect on the quality of my own work, I have a deeper understanding of and interest in what I am learning and how I am learning it. Having the experience of this digital portfolio as a place to experiment wearing the learner hat has helped me to grow and see the value in utilizing portfolios and varied assessments as a teacher.

Looking forward, I will continue to utilize my digital portfolio as a digital representation of my professional work, a platform to create and share, and the most easily forgotten yet in my eyes the most important for personal growth- a place for self-reflection on my learning and experiences. My digital portfolio has provided a platform for the ability to share my work publicly and receive feedback to make changes and improvements especially important as a I try out new ideas or concepts. Having the ability to go back and make improvements to work that I had completed helped me to become a more self-directed learner and encouraged continuous improvement rather than the traditional one-shot assessment. This platform allows me to continue to document my experiences and learning anytime and anywhere. Right now, I have the crutch of my MAET coursework to support and remind me to self-reflect on my experiences as a learner and teacher. Moving forward I know that I will need to be more systematic about the way that I reflect on my learning so that I make self-reflection a daily habit as it does quickly slip through the cracks without a plan or intention.

Finally, in developing this portfolio, I have had to narrow in on the skills that I believe are most important for me to illustrate in a professional display of my work. This process helped me to justify what artifacts are displayed on my showcase and which are instead perhaps a part of my “learning in process” blog. It has afforded me the opportunity to walk through the digital portfolio process myself as a learner to better understand how teachers and students can utilize digital portfolios as a form of assessment.

CEP 813: Theory To Practice

Assessment, Digital Portfolios, MAET Year 3

I have been familiar with the use of digital portfolios in both my own professional context and for use with students since my pre-service teacher preparation. I have seen the use of portfolios especially digital, grow amongst teachers that I work with in part due to the affordances of digital portfolios. I think that the research that Bennett speaks of in support of multiple forms, occasions and design of assessments in order to create the fullest picture of any student has started to encourage teachers and administrators to break the mold of traditional assessment and move in the direction of standards based portfolios that document evidence of student’s progress towards mastery (2011). Breaking away from summative assessment focused instruction is necessary in order to be able to begin to piece together that complete picture of a student’s learning path.

In my own practice, I work with teachers to design lessons utilizing technology.  Sometimes we can get distracted by the shiny appeal of a new technology tool, but a key element of my work is steering the focus towards the enduring understandings first. I will usually begin working with a teacher and ask them questions until we have really gotten to the heart and purpose of the lesson or unit. Moving forward whether designing an assessment or lesson, we now have a clear goal and direction for our future work together (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). In my role, it is also important that I am familiar with the different technology tools that can be used to create and share digital portfolios. There are so many fantastic tools starting from even your basic Google Drive shared folder that can quickly enable a teacher and student to collect and curate work samples. I wish that when I was in the classroom that I would have had these tools at my disposal.

Some of the biggest concerns amongst teachers that I work with regarding the use of portfolios is how they can teach students to collect high quality samples to contribute to their portfolios that actually demonstrate mastery, how they can provide timely feedback, and their fear of portfolios being a form of assessment that is too prone to subjective critique. I know that I can help them begin to address these concerns in multiple ways. I can encourage them to begin by establishing a vision, purpose and audience for their student portfolios (Niguidula, 2005, p. 45). Once those key elements are in place, the teacher can start to decide how the students will arrange and contribute to the portfolio in a way that will help them keep the focus on the purpose of the portfolio. The teacher can then dig deeper to decide what mastery in each standard or area of study will look like so that this information can be clearly communicated to students. One huge affordance of digital assessment tools is the range of possibilities for quick and easy feedback. Part of my job is to help pair teachers with the best tools that enable them to quickly provide the meaningful feedback that they need to provide. In assessing the portfolio, teachers can use rubrics to help establish expectations and a student self reflection piece for each artifact as a key component of demonstrating growth (Niguidula, 2005, p. 47).

Works Cited

 

Bennett, R. E. (2011). Formative assessment: A critical review. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice18(1), 5-25. doi: 10.1080/0969594X.2010.513678

 

Niguidula, D. (2005). Documenting learning wtih digital portfolios. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 44-47. Retrieved from http://p2047-ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eax&AN=507839321&site=ehost-live

 

Wiggins, G.P. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://p2047-ezproxy.msu.edu.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login?url=https://search-ebscohost-com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=133964&scope=site