The increased availability of data to teachers, parents, students, administrators, colleges, and employers is hoped to improve instruction and heighten learning experiences for students. These reforms could include but are not limited to the creation of an electronic portfolio containing the test scores, performance records, and grades of each student and teacher as well as the amount of access to the system (with proper privacy settings) to researchers in order to quickly evaluate and replace failing systems. These reforms also focus on linking individual teachers and individual students regardless of their spatial proximity. In Delaware, a state discussed further later on, The Education Association placed a significant amount of value on the development of a data system that would track student performance from pre-school to college and/or career. The hope is for teachers and administrators to become aware of at-risk students before the student drops-out or becomes "unreachable".The goals as stated here are very important. However, in my opinion, what is described here, this tracking of performance ("test scores, performance records, and grades of each student"), is an assessment/accountability system, that they are calling an electronic portfolio; but this model is far different from a student-centered electronic portfolio that is a learner's own digital footprint, or their story of their own learning over time. I wish we could be much clearer about the difference between these two paradigms. When "electronic portfolios" are define with institution-centered terminology, the importance of a student-centered process (collection, selection, reflection, direction, presentation) seems to be ignored. How do we raise the awareness of the larger community that there is another side to electronic portfolios? How do we show that an electronic portfolio can be a space for students to explore and showcase their interests, purpose and passions? In the U.K., an electronic portfolio can also include a learner's personal development plan (PDP). I am just asking for a balanced perspective when using the term, or to at least recognize the multiple purposes.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Another misunderstanding of term "electronic portfolio"
Thanks to Kathleen Wilbanks' tweet today, I read Michigan’s Public Policy Reaction to The Race to the Top. Here is the third paragraph, referencing electronic portfolios: