Over time, student and teacher portfolios have taken several forms for a variety of purposes. Initially, portfolios were created in many educational settings to document learning. Portfolios were used as one means of assessment in course work or for senior graduation exhibitions. As calls for educational reform continued to be heard in forums ranging from local school board offices to the Oval Office, teacher accountability has become an issue of paramount importance. Parents and politicians alike want assurance that the most competent teachers are providing quality educational experiences for students. Thus, teacher assessment has become a “hot” political topic throughout our country. In the last five years, teacher education programs across America have required that student teachers create portfolios as evaluation instruments to address the often-mandated INTASC (Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, 1987) principles required of all education majors prior to obtaining teacher certification and licenses.
Characteristics Of Portfolios
Student teacher portfolios are often created in one of two forms: hard copy or electronic. Electronic portfolios are often referred to with other synonymous terminology: “e-folios, digital portfolios, Web-based portfolios or Web folios, multimedia portfolios and electronically-augmented portfolios” (Kilbane & Milman, 2003, p. 7). Within the last five years, the electronic portfolio has become a popular, efficient way to provide evidence of teacher competence. Electronic teaching portfolios are unique because the use of technology allows the portfolio developer to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in a variety of media types (audio, video, graphics and text), allowing the contents to be displayed and manipulated in ways not possible in a binder portfolio. Kilbane and Milman (2003) outline a number of advantages of electronic portfolios over the traditional hard copy or binder-type portfolios, including “accessibility, portability and creativity” (pp. 8-10). For a more comprehensive comparison of hard copy and electronic portfolios, see Table 1.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Artifacts: Actual examples of lesson plans, philosophies, correspondence that show evidence of teacher competency in standards
INTASC Principles: Core standards for what all beginning teachers should know, be like and be able to do in order to practice responsibly, regardless of the subject matter or grade level being taught
Portfolio Templates: Predesigned Web pages used to create electronic portfolios.
Performance Tasks: University course-specific projects that demonstrate learning of course content.
Conceptual Framework: Structuring (in this case) a portfolio around a specific idea, theme or strategy. Dispositions: Expressed beliefs and attitudes about teaching and learning
Knowledge: What all beginning teachers should know, e.g., subject matter, student differences in learning styles, classroom management, motivation, etc
Skills: Practical application of teacher knowledge.