Levels of ePortfolio Development in K-12 Schools
Most of the research on the implementation of electronic portfolios has been in higher eduction. Most of the customized e-portfolio tools, both commercial and open source, have been created in and for higher education, whereas the paper-based portfolio process itself began in K-12 schools. Over the last eight years, there has been a decline in the use of paper portfolios in schools, perhaps due to the dominance of high stakes standardized testing, even though the integration of technology has boomed. Perhaps more K-12 schools will again consider the use of ePortfolios, but adapted for the different culture of elementary and secondary schooling, and focusing on formative, classroom-based assessment for learning, which prior research has shown to be the best way to improve student achievement (Black & Wiliam, 1998).
The work below was developed for use in a K-12 school district for implementing electronic portfolios for students across the grade levels (ESUSD, 2009). Any district-wide implementation of electronic portfolios should be addressed as a developmental process, addressing both the diverse and growing technology competency of the students and teachers, as well as the varied experience with the portfolio learning and assessment process. Teachers and schools may start at a minimum level (Level 1–Portfolio as Storage) and build toward higher levels of implementation as they gain skills and comfort with the portfolio process. Level 1 might be the most appropriate level for primary students, and Level 3 may be most appropriate for secondary students.
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