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Using portfolios: A qualitative study of the effectiveness of portfolios as assessment tools

1 December 1993


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore, understand, and examine the use of portfolios in the classroom. The literature review includes the definition of a portfolio, the uses of a portfolio within a classroom, what guidelines are suggested for developing the portfolio, and how the student is involved with the portfolio growth. In this study, I observed and informally interviewed a kindergarten teacher and a third grade teacher about selecting materials, how often the materials are selected, what guidelines are followed in developing portfolios, and if the student and teacher interaction is enhanced. I found through the literature review and my observations in the school setting that the school's portfolio was a work sample and not a true portfolio. They were not true portfolios because the work samples did not contain the main characteristics of a portfolio like student self~reflection or assignment description. One of the reasons why this school's portfolio did not develop as a true portfolio was because the teachers were not given training on how to develop a portfolio. For portfolios to be successful, training in portfolio development is needed for educators.


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