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How and why are we using eportfolios?. Penelope Swenson CSU, Bakersfield. Why should we assess?. Rick Stiggins suggests: To gather evidence to inform instructional decisions To encourage students to . . . learn. Stiggins (2008). Is this the real reason?. Accreditation.

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How and why are we using eportfolios?

Penelope Swenson

CSU, Bakersfield


Why should we assess?

  • Rick Stiggins suggests:
    • To gather evidence to inform instructional decisions
    • To encourage students to . . . learn.
    • Stiggins (2008)

Is this the real reason?


It is one reason—

and a major one .

Yet . . .

Kathleen Willbanks ( . See this chart and more at

Always student centered.


Stiggins (2003)

To maximize student success, assessment must be seen as an instructional tool for use while learning is occurring,


Stiggins (2003), continued

and as an accountability tool to determine if learning has occurred.


Stiggins (2003), continued

. . .both purposes are important

. . .they must be in balance.


One of our courses with an embedded signature assessment:

Course Description

  • An advanced, intensive study and analysis of the interrelated cultural, philosophical, historical and social factors which bear upon the continuing and contemporary issues in American Education.  The course focuses upon an integration of foundational themes and concerns that relate directly to contemporary educational problems. 

Course objectives

An understanding of the formative ideas and events that have shaped American Education since the 1600’s. 

An understanding of the fundamental social, political, religious, commercial, demographic and community dynamics that influence education in America. 

Recognition of various schools of philosophic thought and academic diversity in education.

Appreciation of the multicultural diversity of American society in its educational undertakings. 

An understanding of the purposes of schooling in a diverse, democratic society.

Reflective thought to the economic, political and cultural factors that affect education in California as well as America generally. 

Utilization of solid writing and research skills.



  • Select an issue/problem from the Rand Report.
  • Do a brief literature review to limit, then do more later.
  • Look at historical and sociological background to develop deep understanding.
  • Craft a solution.
  • This is not an analysis of the problem without a solution.
  • This is not a political polemic.

Self-assessing on course rubric

 I would assess myself as follows:  (student's own words)

4 Mechanics- I feel my report contains few if any errors in the conventions of the English language. The spelling was accurate, and I followed the APA format in the word processing document it was created in. I followed the APA format for abbreviation and spacing. 

3 Information Literacy- Ifeel I demonstrated fluency with accessing, evaluating and using appropriate resources, but I took a point up because even though I did the on-line research, I used a lot of information from the books I had at my finger-tips. This might have been different  if I had not experienced so many computer problems during the creation of this report. 

4 Background/historical information- All major points were supported by facts with references. I gave credit in my bibliography to all of the information I read to synthesize my information.   

3 Quality of Solutions- Thereis evidence of careful synthesis of information-I may not have referenced it directly, but all references are included in the bibliography. 

3 Search References- Thesearch strategy has some documentation; there is a gap between the references used in article and the Search; a bibliography is attached. I may not have been able to add all of my on-line sources in my bibliography due to my computer issues. 

 1 Rubric completed and submitted in full.


Assessment of Learning

Recognizing Barrett promotes FOR learning.

  • Purpose of portfolio prescribed by institution
  • Artifacts mandated by institution to determine outcomes of instruction
  • Portfolio usually developed at the end of a class, term or program - time limited
  • Portfolio and/or artifacts usually "scored" based on a rubric and quantitative data is collected for external audiences
  • Portfolio is usually structured around a set of outcomes, goals or standards
  • Sometimes used to make high stakes decisions
  • Summative - what has been learned to date? (Past to present)

From Helen Barrett (2004)

Kathleen Willbanks(

Data Aggregation

supporting Accreditation and Assessment


Group data ready for review, improving practice, and accreditation reports.

What do students know? What are they able to do?


Key assessments Portfolio

  • Templates dictate portfolio essentials
    • Based on course objectives
    • Based on program objectives
    • Based on professional standards
  • Candidate choice
    • Essential to have creative options/ opportunities
    • Determine who may access (other than those required)
    • Encouraged to do deep reflection




Continuous cycle of improvement





Kathleen Willbanks (

Benefits? ALL--students, school, program


We strive to do both. Embedding assessment may not fully merge these, but embedded assessments and ePortfolios have improved our practice.

Penelope Swenson

CSU, Bakersfield