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The portfolio: An effective alternative assessment tool

7 July 1995


This is a qualitative ethnography with data collected primarily through observations of a third grade classroom over the 1994-1995 school year. The goal was to determine if the portfolio is an effective alternative assessment tool. The results suggest that assessment and evaluation are inherently linked together, and are the cornerstones of a portfolio. Assessment is an ongoing gathering of information, and evaluation is viewing a student and his work, while interpreting value and judgments. Through my research and classroom observations it was determined that the portfolio clearly demonstrates learning, provides a representation of work, and is collaborative. A portfolio furnishes a student with an opportunity to demonstrate attitudes about learning accomplishments, shows personal growth and development, and allows the child to become an interactive partner in the learning process. A portfolio should 1) be accessible and encourage student ownership, 2) a celebration of learning and 3) should be embraced enthusiastically as an opportunity to see what a child can do and accomplish. Portfolios allow a student to climb the ladder of success


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