In the last few weeks of our course, my students and I spend time reflecting on our learning experiences. What have we learned about reading? What have we learned about writing? What are the skills we have spent time developing? I ask students to think about how they know they have grown in their skills and abilities. What does evidence of learning look like? On a note card, students individually write down the skills on which they feel their final online portfolio should be assessed. Then, they meet in pairs and small groups to compare criteria. Finally, the class comes together to build our collaborative rubric for their final portfolios, and using a shared Google document, we spend about a week reflecting, revising, and rewriting the assessment criteria. Students not only collaborate to write the assessment criteria, what they are assessed on, they also decide how those points are assigned. I tell them that the final portfolio assessment must be worth 200 points, but they have to agree on how those points are assigned. As the teacher will I be assessing their portfolio for those 200 points? Will students take some of the ownership of that assessment process? Will students self-assess their entire portfolio?
Although each class ends up with a slightly different set of criteria, for the most part, their final rubrics end up looking quite similar. I attribute this to the consistency with which we engage in self-reflection and assessment throughout the semester. At the onset of each unit, students have the criteria and rubrics which will be used for their summative assessments. They know what they are working toward. Following each unit, as students are posting their work to their online portfolio, students are once again assessing how well they met the criteria outlined on the rubric. So by the time we get to the close of the class, students have been using the same sets of criteria throughout our course. Afflerbach states that student success with portfolio assessment can be measured when “...students are expected to grow in their ability to use the assessment strategies that are modeled and taught by their teachers” (88). I would argue that an even more powerful measure of that success comes when students are empowered to create those assessment strategies.
Here's how I manage my student portfolios.