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Impact of Portfolio Assessment on learners at Higher Education Level in Pakistan.

Byline: Tahir Nadeem and Muhammad Asif Nadeem

Abstract

Performance assessment in the world has been the issue of greater concern at higher level of education. Such assessment provides entire record of the efficiency of a learner and it also gives sketch of gradual increase or decline of an individual's learning. It tells how much learner has gained during the period of learning and it also shows the impact of teaching too. Portfolios tell complete story of a learner's growth in fields such as proficiency in learning special areas of knowledge, long term achievement on the part of learner and acquisition of skill in academic field. Such type of assessment is mostly done under portfolios that are developed by the subject teacher. In its origin portfolio assessment is a purposeful collection of student work in which effort of student is placed systematically and day by day that is about its academic and non academic areas of learning.

This research was conducted to judge whether in Islamia University of Bahawalpur (Punjab) Pakistan such practice of developing portfolio is carried out or not. If it is carried out then to which extent it proves helpful to the teachers in assessing acquisition and growth of skills that that learners have adopted.

Keywords: Portfolio, Assessment, Achievement, Knowledge, Learner

Introduction:

Portfolio provides complete picture of learner's overall achievement. It shows how much learner has been able to apply his acquired knowledge in a sense that it shows day by day gradual increase or decrease in the level of learning of a learner. Portfolios in a glance tell about the talent and unique abilities of a learner. Mirza, M and Mehmood, N. (2007) identifies the importance and purposefulness of developing portfolios and states it as a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits student's efforts, progress and achievement in one or more areas of the curriculum. In fact, teacher in the class need to know individual differences and method of dealing with them. Portfolios make role of the teacher bit easy as teacher can easily know development of skills in the learners. Portfolios also help the teacher to identify learning of learners. It tells how much a learner has learnt.

Cole (2000) describes portfolios as --a systematic and organized collection of evidence used by the teachers and students to monitor growth of student's knowledge, skills and attitudes.|| It seems quite evident that in its origin portfolios is a purposeful in a way that they are helpful to teacher and systematic as they seem to provide organized achievement of learner's abilities in academic and non academic fields of learning. Its important seems to cover wide range of skills developed among learners as teacher through multiple performance process recognizes strengths and weakness in a learner. This seems to provide opportunity to the teacher to find impact of those skills that are transferred to the learner. In its usability portfolios are authentic resources that give complete sketch to the parents about the overall learning achievement of their children.

They may be useful to teachers also as they may rethink on instructional strategies of day to day class by judging what impact their instructions are having on learner. Teacher may also judge specific learning difficulty of a student and can find a better solution in advance. Learners in university may themselves monitor their performance in the class and bring improvement overtime during the session. Gronlund (2006) identifies a portfolio as a demonstrator of student's skills and an announcer of the accomplishment in that skill. Portfolio facilitates to a learner and enables a learner to self reflectivity. It compiles the learner's best work but they also include the works-in-progress; the early drafts, test runs, pilot studies or preliminary trails. Thus portfolio is an ideal way to assess final mastery, effort, reflection, and growth in learning that tells the learner's story of achievements.

Portfolio also acts as a measurement tool which provides Self-evaluation, independent learning ability and thoughtful reflection on each entry in learner's portfolios. Linn (2005) describes Communication with parents about student's progress is an important and challenging goal for any teacher. Thoughtfully selected collection of student works in profiles can be provided to parents with concrete examples of what students are accomplishing. It can also provide the focus of discussion among teachers, students and parents. Moreover, three way-conferences involving teachers, students and parents with students taking the lead in explaining their portfolios to parents can give teachers a useful opportunity to see how students and parents interact about the work.

In contrast to the single grade or mark of much normative assessment, the portfolio sets out the components of performance separately and gives information on each.|| Portfolios are not assessment devices as such, but record assessments already made. They can be continually updated and can record achievements from many different assessments. Learning portfolio of each student can be prepared by identifying student's learning preferences, cognitive abilities, general reasoning, verbal, and spatial.

Objectives of the Study

This research identifies objectives such as:

* To find out the impact of learning portfolios on learners at University level.

* To review the importance of portfolios at higher level of education.

* To evaluate the impact of portfolios assessment on teacher's efficiency.

* To recommend strategies for the teachers to prepare learning portfolios at

University level.

Delimitations of the Study

Due to limited time and resources this study was limited to; selected departments of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (Punjab) Pakistan. Population of the study was the teachers and students of Islamia University of Bahawalpur. Both male and female teachers and students were considered in the population. The size of the population under study was very large and it was beyond the approach to cover all the individuals of the target community, therefore representative samples of two groups (students and teachers) of the community were taken. The data was collected through convenient sampling technique. These students were selected by stratified sampling technique from 16 different disciplines of sciences and humanities. The second sample of the study consisted of teachers of the University. These teachers were taken by stratified sampling technique from 16 different departments of the University.

Literature review

Portfolios contain actual classroom artifacts. Because the portfolio contains many entries, both formal and nontraditional evaluation can be incorporated. Thus the full range of cognitive, psychomotor and effective skills can be evaluated. The ultimate results will be reliable because of the availability of more than one illustration of academic performance. A clear advantage of portfolio assessment rests with the teacher's ability to assess the student's process of learning. Students also examine and analyze their work.

This provides them opportunity to reflect on the depth of their learning. Borich.G (2003) describes the portfolio as --A planned collection of learner's achievements documents that what a student has accomplished and steps have taken to get there. The collection represents a collaborative effort between teacher and learner to decide on portfolio purpose, content and evaluation criteria|| Portfolio is their way of showing what they can really do. It shows off a learner's best writing, critical thinking, problem solving skills and communication ability.

In addition it also tells something about a learner's persistence, effort, willingness to change, skill in abilities), and major personality traits. A common taxonomy classifies personality traits in terms of the --Big Five|| factors OCEAN (Costa and McCrae, 1992): Openness to Experience (O), Conscientiousness (C), Extroversion (E), Agreeableness (A), and Neuroticism (N). All participants are provided with individual feedback on their learning portfolio. Cole (2000: P.9) defines thus portfolios provide authentic and meaningful documentation of the students' abilities. Curriculum, instruction and assessment intersect via portfolios, tying the three together effectively for students.

Portfolios must contain the artifacts of students' progress as well as their reflections on both their learning and the chosen artifacts. Borthwick (1995) stated that Portfolios were introduced initially as a way for artists, graphic designers, and other such professionals to show evidence of their work, illustrating their skill at applying knowledge to practice.

With education's increasing focus on performance standards and student-centered classrooms, the portfolio has become more than a repository of work samples. As an assessment tool, the portfolio must reflect both the "breadth of study envisaged by the curriculum and the quality of work that students are expected to produce" ....despite all safeguards, the school certificate examination...... now dominates the work of the schools, controlling both the framework and the content of the curriculum. The report was making the argument for internal examining over which teachers would have greater control. However, it also made an interesting proposal for a reformed school leaving certificate. The suggestion was for --A new form of school certificate, falling into two parts. The first part contains a record of the share which the pupil had taken in the general life of the school, games, societies and the like.

It would, in short give the reader some idea of the way in which he had used the opportunities offered to him by his education, using the term in its widest sense. The second part would contain the records of the pupils' achievement in examinations taken at the end of Main School course (Board of Education, 1943).

In Pakistani universities portfolio as an effective assessment tool has been used simultaneously in many Government and Private sectors of Pakistan. Portfolio was introduced as a part of formal evaluation in the Institute of Education and Research (IER) University of the Punjab, Pakistan. Agha Khan University, Iqra University of Karchi also has introduced the student learning portfolio. Now the virtual University of Pakistan is also using electronic student learning portfolio for assessing their achievements. A portfolio has been used as an approach to record student learning progress and assess student learning performance in the education system for a long time. A blog is a kind of social computing in which a virtual community may be formed to perform certain activities. Following things are included in the program VU assessment and evaluation. At the end of the program each participant has to submit a portfolio that should provide analysis of learning outcomes of each module they covered.

Findings and discussion

Purpose of asking this question was to identify the opinion of stake holders. The results identified clearly that most of the teachers agreed upon the portfolios that it helps them to identify in strengthening the areas and weaknesses of students, moreover learners also identified that due to portfolios it is possible for them to know those areas which need improvement in them. Overall results show that the teacher and the taught both agree that portfolios help them in knowing the problems coming in the path of learning. Portfolios help in both ways to the learners as well as the teachers. As they seem to provide complete situation of the educational process so it is quite easy for them to check the problems coming in the path of learning. It may be identified through the results of this research that Portfolios do help the learners in recognizing their academic problems.

Q-1 Profile helps teachers to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses of students.

This question was asked to judge the importance of portfolios as a link tool with the parents. The opinion taken from the respondents show that portfolio is a silent herald that communicates entire situation and condition of a learner. The parents can easily find the problems that their child is facing. They can detect very easily what fields of education and which subject their child is not improving and it can help them to bring their child out form that situation. This timely communication can make the learners quite well in the process of learning and this can bring good results for them. At the same time parents can also make sure to help learners out form their problems by providing extra coaching or providing extra help in the subject in which they are weak.

Q- 3 Profile helps to prepare a summary of the best work of students which can be helpful in future?

This question was asked to judge whether portfolios help in bringing out the good qualities of a learner or not. It seems quite obvious from the results taken from the respondents that the portfolios give complete summary of good qualities of the learner. Most of the learners that is 38% strongly agreed and 48% agreed that portfolios help to prepare summary of the best qualities found in a student.

The same question was asked from the teachers and 35% of them strongly agreed and 41% of them agreed that portfolio help them in finding good qualities and assigning jobs in future to the learners keeping in mind the situation in portfolios. It seems quite clear that the learners find it easily to locate the problems found in them and they can easily resolve the problems too.

Portfolios act like mirror in finding good qualities in a learner and this adds to the futuristic approach in the learners. It seems quite fit for the learners to cheek what job they need and how they can do the similar job. It may be said that the learners can easily define their role and duties.

Q-4 Portfolios may be used for assessing grades of student overall achievement

Portfolios are said to be the mirror to check how much a learner has developed himself and they also keep the record of the learners. Keeping in mind the importance and purpose of portfolios this question was asked to judge whether teachers assess overall achievement of learners or not.

The results taken from the respondents show that 15% of the teachers were of the opinion that portfolios have the ability to assess the grades of students over all achievement as entire record is kept intact while 58% of the teachers agreed that portfolio do have the ability to judge overall achievement of the learners. While 24% learners strongly agreed that portfolios tell real story of their overall achievement. 44% of them agreed upon the validity of assessing overall achievement in the portfolios. Overall achievement shows that majority of learners and teachers that are 51% seem to agree upon the quality of portfolios that is about assessing overall grades of the learners. One thing seems quite obvious from the data that portfolios do assess overall achievement of the learners.

Q-5 Do you agree that classroom quiz score should be considered in the profile?

Quiz and critical questions help the students in learning material quickly. This question was asked with the purpose to see what the teacher and learner feel about the situation of the quiz in the portfolios. Overall situation showed that majority of learners and teachers that are 64% agreed that they think that the scores attained from the quiz should be incorporated in the portfolios while only 12% were of the view that these results should not be incorporated in the portfolios. 56% of the teachers were in favor of incorporation of the results in the portfolios while 19% were against. 71% of the learners were in favor of putting the results into the portfolio and only 12% were against it. So it is quite obvious from the results that the learners and teachers both are in favor of the incorporation of the quiz in the portfolios.

Q-6 Do you think that information related to problem solving skills of students should be included in the portfolios?

Aim of asking this question was to get information related to the skill that is developed in the class. Knowledge without application is not correct. Unless things are not applied there will be no out come at all. It was quite obvious from the results that the learners and teachers both agreed upon the incorporation of the problem solving skills in the portfolios.

Learners should learn how to improve their skills proper way. It is mostly problem for the learners that they do not pay any attention to the skill learning. They need to have done this on prior basis and they should learn to solve problems.

Q-7 Should the record of research work considered a part of portfolio?

The comparison of the graph shows that majority of the teachers and students wish to have research work as part of the portfolios. Data attained from the learners showed that majority of them 85% agreed that research work may be made part of the research work. Similarly, 82% of the teachers also showed their consent for the incorporation of research record in portfolio. 88% of the learners were also of the view that their research work may also be made the part of portfolios.

Q-8 Do you think that information related to group work should be included in the portfolio?

Learners groups are commonly developed so that more work could be done within small span of time. This question was asked to find out the facts relating to group work that should be included into the portfolios. 60% of the teachers were of the opinion that the group work performance should be included into the portfolios and 64% of the learners were of the opinion that group work should be included into portfolios. It was quite obvious from the data that 62% of the learners and teachers were of the opinion that group work should be included in the portfolios.

Purpose of asking this question was to check whether teachers like to give some place while developing portfolios and also what learners wish to have their hidden abilities as part of portfolios. Data attained from the teachers and learners clearly showed that majority of them 65% were of the view that those hidden abilities may be given some place in the portfolios. Majority of the teachers 65% were of the opinion that hidden abilities of learners should be given some place while 22% of them were in favor of giving it a place to some extent and 5% of them were not in favor of them. The learners were also asked about their opinion of putting their hidden abilities in the portfolios. Data clearly identified that 62% of them were of the opinion that they might be given some place in the portfolios while 27% were of the opinion that their hidden abilities may be given some place to some extent while 13% of the learners said that there is no need to give their hidden abilities in the portfolios.

Q-9 Do you think that potential abilities should be highlighted in the portfolios?

Q-10 Do you feel that a student's special test should be included in the portfolio?

This question aimed at how much teachers think to include special test rating in portfolios and how much learners think that their tests may be included in the portfolios. Data retrieved from the learners showed that majority 67% of them were of the opinion that marks of their special tests should be included into portfolios while 20% of them said that it may be included to some extent and 13% gave their opinion against them. Individually 63% of the teachers gave their opinion in favour of including special test rating in portfolios, 21% were of the opinion that learner's special test may be included to some extent in the portfolio and 15% said that there is no need to include this rating in the portfolios. On learners' side 66% learners wished to have their special test rating included in the portfolios while 16% were of the opinion to include it to some extent while 10% did not wish to have their tests included into portfolios.

Q-11 Do you think that peer appraisal report should be included in the profile?

Human beings have tendency to improve their mistakes as they are the only beings on earth who have power of reason and logical thinking. Data retrieved from the learners clearly identified that most of them 49% were of the view that the report of peer appraisal may be included into portfolio and 38% of them were of the opinion that it may be included to some extent while 13% of them said that there is no need to make this report a part of it. On individual majority of teachers that is 51% said that peer appraisal report may be made part of portfolio while 38% of them said that it may be added to some extent and 10% replied in negative. On the other hand 47% of the learners wished to have peer appraisal as part of report and 39% said that it may be made while 11% of them said that it should not be made part of report. It is quite evident from the data that peer report in the opinion of teachers is necessary to be made part of the portfolio while learners did not show much interest in making it part of report.

Q-12 Do you think that personal comments of classroom teacher should be included in the portfolios?

The Data in graph 12 shows that overall situation was 52% of the respondents were of the opinion that it is necessary to do so while 25% said that it may be done to some extent and 18% were of the opinion that should not be made part of it. Individual basis 43% of the teachers said that their personal comment should not be included into the report while 13% of them said that it may be included to some extent and 18% were o f the opinion that it is not necessary to be included. 52% of the Learners on the other hand were of the opinion that it may be included in portfolios and 25% said that it may be included to some extent while 18% said that it was not necessary to be included. It is quite clear from the data that most of the respondents like to have these comments in the portfolios.

Q-13 Do you agree that information regarding the responsible behavior of student should be included in the profile?

This question was asked about the information regarding behavior of the learners in the class. Sometimes, it happens that teacher seems to have biases against some learners in such cases it would be a problem for the learners but most of the time it does not happen as teacher and taught both have some cordial relationship and teacher always wishes for the betterment of taught. The results taken from the teachers showed that majority of the teachers 77% were of the opinion that it is necessary to include personal opinions of the teacher included in the portfolios. 26% of the teachers said that it may be included to some extent while 10% said that they do not want to have them included into portfolios.

Majority of learners that is 76% said that they wanted to have teacher's personal opinion included into the portfolios and 17% of them said that it may be included to some extent while 6% said that it may not be included into portfolios. It is quite clear form the data that teacher's opinion is quite valid and it has corrective effect so that should be included into portfolios.

Q-14 Do you think that information regarding general conduct of the student should be considered as a part of the portfolio?

Overall situation showed that 66% of the learners showed tendency to record the general conduct of learners in portfolios as it would bring in them a proper change while 23% of them were of the opinion that it may be included to some extent and 11% of them refused to have it in the portfolio.

Q-15 Which of the following should be included in the portfolio?

Purpose of asking this question was to judge which type of co curricular activities may be included into portfolios.

Overall results showed that 25% of the learners were of the opinion to include art work while 29% wish to participate in debates 23% in any other activities 8% in other games and 25% in all above mentioned games. 30% of the Teachers gave their opinion that the learners may participate in debates, 21% said that they may take part in all the games, 21% said that they may take part in any other game, 19% said that they may take part in all above and 9% said that they may take part in games. 28% Learners were of the opinion that they may take part in debates, 30% were found interested in art work, 25% were found of any other co curricular activities, 11% said that they wanted to have participation in all above and 6% were of the opinion that they may like to have games.

Findings

* Majority of the respondents responded that portfolio helps teachers to identify areas of strengths and weakness of student and they can easily prepare summary of best work of student which can be helpful for them in future.

* Majority of the respondents responded that portfolio can be helpful for student to choose profession in the future and record of classroom participation of student is an important part of the portfolio.

* Majority of the respondents responded that information related to problem solving skills of student should be included in portfolio and student's participation level in classroom and assignments marks should be included in student portfolio.

* Record of student participation in different competitions like drama, song, poetry, quiz program and puzzles should include in portfolio it should also keep record of student participation in managing, planning and organizing programs.

Conclusion

It is revealed through the results of this research that with the help of portfolios a better learning environment may be maintained in the class and keeping intact these portfolios a learner can easily develop himself. These portfolios can better work as an assessment tool for the teacher as a teacher can easily check these portfolios and hint out problems found in his or her learner. At the same time teacher can easily detect good qualities and with these good qualities s/he can help the learner in removing all the barriers standing on the path of learning. Portfolios can better detect good qualities and future approach of a learner that may help a learner in finding jobs and becoming better part of society. In short it may be said that portfolios may assess a learner in a better way.

Bibliography

Beath, M.J. and McGlynn, A. ( 2002). Self-evaluation, New York: Routledge Falmer. Brown, S and Smith, B. ( 1996). 500 Tips on Assessment, London: Guildford and King's Lynn.

Kubiszyn, T and Borich, G (2003). Educational Testing and Measurement, USA: John Wiley and Sons, INC. Replika Press Pvt.

Lewis, R ( 1998). Planning and Implementing Assessment, London: Kogan Page Limited. Mathews, J.C ( 1985). Examinations, Georage Allen and Unwin Ltd.

Mierzwik, D ( 2005). Classroom Record Keeping, New York: :Crown Press Publication Company.

Mirza, M and Mehmood, N ( 2007). Continuous Assessment of Student Learning, Islamabad: Agha Jee Printers.

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Lecturer, Department of Education The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Lecturer, Department of Education The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan
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Article Details
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Author:Nadeem, Tahir; Nadeem, Muhammad Asif
Publication:Journal of Educational Research
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2011
Words:4564
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