Portfolio Assessment, Curriculum Development and Institutional Improvement: A New Trend In Evaluating Liberal Arts Institutions

Prof. Jianqi Wang
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Portfolio assessment, ever since its inception, hasn't been practically integrated into school evaluation systems although it is classified as one of the most reliable in measuring students' progress, achievements, skills and capabilities, etc. It is often the case that series of test records are the only items found in students' portfolios, even that being kept for only a short period of time. Limited by office spaces, labor constraints and the complexity of managing variety portfolios, educational institutions generally do not hold students' records longer than a decade. Not until the storage and retrieval of items in portfolios becomes a breeze, portfolio assessment has to stay as a desirable luxury rather than an integrated component of curriculum development and institution improvement.

The digital age has made possible of storing large volume of information over long period of time, and in theory, permanently, without loss or distortion of content. Integration of students' portfolio, educational statistics, curriculum development and institutional improvement is becoming a reality. It is no longer a burden but an advantage to save students' records and instructors' work, including that of those who are graduating or retiring, years after years. Assignments, evaluations, projects, grades, syllabi, teaching prompts, questions and answers, not only accumulate into reusable assets, but also generate invaluable numbers that have never been available to curriculum designers, program evaluators and institution administrators. Keeping records is no longer only a safe-guard for potential disputes and litigations but also a research tool necessary for curriculum development and institution improvement.

For fields like humanities, this is especially true. The e-portfolios initiative by Hocking College, a literal arts institution in Ohio, U.S.A., is one example that illustrates how humanities could face the challenge of digital age. Hocking College uses e-Portfolios to document eight success skills that all students have to demonstrate prior to graduation, including but not limited to technical skills. Learning objectives and student assignments for each course are clearly linked to the success skills that potential employers would expect. The resulting student course work is preserved in individual student e-Portfolios to document these desired competencies and capture student progresses in developing these capabilities. More scientific and more convincing evaluations on students, instructors, programs, and institutions have thus become feasible. Comparisons between individuals, courses, programs and institutions finally render meaningful results, serving the base for future improvements and developments of individuals and institutions.

Keywords: Portfolio Assessment, Curriculum Trend Humanities
Stream: Teaching and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Jianqi Wang

Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures,, The Ohio State University

Ref: H05P0348