In order to answer the question
Can digital portfolio's play a role in ensuring student success?
We utilised a systems analysis approach
A system is a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole. We are surrounded, especially in the Education, with systems. Not just systems but systems within systems. The system that has come under analysis by our group is the Assessment - Recording - Reporting system. This system is made up of 3 smaller systems, and is itself a part of an even larger system that includes, but is not limited to, Curriculum, Planning and Pedagogy.
For our system to be a system, the parts are, as I said, independent with their own characteristics and purposes, but they interrelate, they effect each other in some way. Within the assessment - reporting system, the parts fit together as follows -
ASSESSMENT - (is, after completion, gathered together as evidence for) - RECORDING - (which is used to support, and as data for - REPORTING - (which informs planning for further) - Assessment etc.
The parts of this system can again be broken down into systems themselves.
"Assessment is the process that monitors students' learning progress; and reporting processes make the results available to a variety of audiences."
(Brady & Kennedy, 2005, p.1)
Assessment as a System
The process of assessment can be viewed as a system that has the following parts -
- Purpose (Why the assessment is being conducted)
- Context (What is being assessed)
- Mode/Form (How the assessment will be conducted)
- Frequency (When the assessment(s) will be conducted)
Each part is contains a number of options, and the way in which each parts is connected affects which options can be chosen in relation to a previously selected option in another section. For example, if the context is Social/political, it narrows down the options of frequency, because it is a state-wide assessment and all students of the target age will be assessed art the same time. The form of assessment is also limited in this way. The Purpose behind a state-wide assessment will not be formative, but rather a way to gather data and monitor outcomes and progress holistically.
Reporting as a System
The process of reporting can also be viewed as a system that operates with the following parts -
- Purpose (Why the information is being reported)
- Audience (Who the information is being reported to)
- Material (What information is going to be presented)
- Method (How the information will be presented)
Again, each part contains a number of options, and as one option is chosen, options from other parts are cancelled or promoted.
Recording as a system
The process of recording can also be viewed as a system that operates with the following parts-
-Purpose ( why records are kept)
-Product ( what do these records comprise of)
-Practice ( This is the method used to collect and collate the information)
Follow this link to our recording system analysis page