Three months into a new academic session, with everything digital, let us assess our readiness to harness students’ creativity and voice through portfolios!
With States contemplating the future and logistics of pen-and-paper assessments, our students can’t wait for learning to happen. And our educators can’t not assess their teaching and what their learners know! So, let’s find creative ways to measure & track student progress, and make their portfolios skill-ready for the future…
We explored managing student progress through portfolios as an assessment tool.
Because it checks all your boxes to become an ace and inclusive educator!
Portfolios are a purposeful collection of student work that showcase student effort, voice, progress, achievements, and their learner profile journeys. It is the first concrete step for a learner on the path of self-reflection and assessment. Precisely why our learners take ownership and engage in making them; it’s their documented personality!
For educators, it serves as evidence of learning over a period of time, say a quarterly reflection, or a mastery of their students’ knowledge, skills and mindsets. While portfolios only earned credits as an end-of-year project earlier, it is now recommended by the National Curriculum and a part of internal assessment till Grade 10.
Remember: Portfolios are about the process of learning, not just the end product!
This is where our (gender fluid) Bob the builder educators must do some serious backward planning!
Link-Inquire-Reflect-Assess! First, we link the curriculum objectives and learning outcomes to what our students will learn in the classroom. Challenge yourself to integrate it across subjects as well or use an effective software compatible with your curriculum, for e.g Toddle, an ib pyp and ib myp platform! Second, we curate rubrics, checklists, projects that help us inquire about student learning. Give your learners work worthy of a portfolio!
Remember: The first two steps of Link and Inquire should be planned with your students. Nudge them to write their own learning goals, do a quick classroom sharing, connect to curriculum and outcomes, and begin your journey together!
Third step, let your students wear their reflection hats and assess themselves on their work. Let them choose what deserves a space in their portfolio! Let them ask: Why did I choose this piece? What am I most proud of? What does this show about my learning? What do I want to do next?
And, here’s our last step! Assess them on their assessment. Look at different assessment criteria like checklist, success response, rating scale, rubrics based on your subjects. There is definitely a pressing worry about the quality of such criteria being at par with pen-and-paper assessments. However, let’s think about the learning objectives and check if those have been fulfilled.
For instance, I can curate a rubric for any concept with generic metrics like clarity, practice, real-life connection, etc. This rubric can have ‘I believe, do, see….’ statements, so that students can self-assess. For secondary classrooms, educators can also check out these elaborate reflection questions. Educators can adapt such rubrics to their own subjects and test, test, test!
We can also conduct peer assessments. Assess them on their thinking and growth. Support learners in converting their work into digital compositions. We can use ClassDojo, Flipgrid, SeeSaw, Toddle or any other visually appealing collaborative tool to showcase the student portfolios.
Then, provide them feedback and recognise opportunities for improvement with them.
I still recall how my girls and I sat together to design academic and skill goals at the beginning of the year, and revisited them to decide future course of action after half-yearly exam results. However, the most beautiful part of our portfolio habit was how each individual’s unique elements started reflecting in their subject work.