Individual Student Tracking Project

A Partnership for Excellence Report

Dr. Robert Sterken - August 1999

 

Introduction

 

The Computer-Based-Portfolio documents the development and possession of specific skills and learning throughout a student's college career, and generates a living transcript that can be used by both the student and the institution as evidence of those skills. The portfolio allows for instant and immediate student and institution interaction.

 

Portfolios have much to offer the student and the college. To enhance student performance many educators have begun using portfolios to capture evidence of growth and development over time.†† The computer-based-portfolio allows the student to reflect on his or her learning and share findings with instructors, peers, and employers.It allows faculty and student feedback and the setting of new goals based upon the student's strengths and weaknesses.†† The portfolio allows a dimension of the student's college career that is not found in the traditional setting.The computer-based portfolio specifically represents the individual student's performance and successes.†† The portfolio can provide a far clearer picture of the student than can a transcript of flat grades.

 

Typically, portfolios are time-consuming to construct and cumbersome to review.Existing technology now allows the portfolio to easily capture the complexities of student performance and allow for immediate and convenient review. The portfolio can be viewed via CD-ROM, across wide area networks, local area networks, and the Intranet/Internet thus allowing instant and easy access.

 

The Individual Student Portfolio

 

A student's portfolio should be far more than a miscellaneous collection of artifacts or an extended list of activities.It should carefully document a set of accomplishments attainted over the student's college career.

 

A portfolio should be a collection of organized artifacts that showcase their learning, experiences, and qualifications.The portfolio will be used by the student, the college, and even future employers.First, during his or her college career, the portfolio will be used to mark successes and areas of needed improvement.Second, the college faculty will use the portfolio as a measure of institutional effectiveness.Data collected from student portfolios would serve to indicate how well the institution is meeting its educational goals and expectations.Third, future employers in evaluating the studentís qualifications for work , could use the student's completed portfolio.

 

The computer-based portfolio will provide a detailed template for use by the student and faculty.The template will allow for rapid placement, viewing, and scoring of content.At the beginning of the student's college career, the student's portfolio would be a blank template/form with headings and pages existing for important information -- such as the student's resume.Further, each core skill would be a heading of a skill the student is to acquire while attending classes at the college.Under each common skill heading would be a description of the skill and the benchmark to be achieved by the student over her college career.Under that description would be a space for the student and or the student's instructors to indicate that the student had made progress toward and eventually achieved that particular skill.

 

For example, one heading would be "citizenship." Under that heading would be a description of the skill and the benchmark that would indicate success in the area of citizenship.Following the skill description would be a place for the student and her instructor to log success toward completion of that particular skill.Over the course of a student's career, she and many of her instructors would log success or need for improvement of the core skills into this portfolio.

 

The faculty would score the individual skills as well as the overall portfolio.These scores would be compiled into a larger data set that would serve to instruct and guide teaching and institutional goals.

 

While there are several ways to organize the portfolio, and the template will be no doubt be modified to fit faculty and student needs, the outline that follows may serve as a useful plan.  

 

 

Sample Portfolio