Recording: The changing face of student Porfolio's

Current Portfolio Purpose

Portfolios are a great way for teachers to store and access information about their students and to inform parents and other parties of students progress. If they are implemented properly they can also be linked to learning goals with appropriate assessment items. Portfolios allow students to record their achievements and experiences and in general "helps develop self-esteem, professional development and good teaching practice" (Hartnell-Young & Morris, 1999; Barrett, 2000; Piper, 2000).

Current Portfolio Product

  • The value of student portfolio's is undeniable.
  • Currently the majority of schools store and access portfolios as hard copies, that is bulky folders of work samples, reports etc.
  • The LM is able to access a range of useful information regarding each student in their class. e.g., past work samples, literacy/numeracy levels, past report cards, social and emotional particulars, special needs considerations and any specific profiling information.
  • The School Admin staff are able to access enrolment info, behaviour history, Family particulars, medical records (incl necessary medications, allergies etc.)
  • Other members of the school community that may access and add to a portfolio are guidance officers, support staff, specialist teachers, supply teachers, prac students as well as the student and his/her parents.
  • The value of having this plethora of information available to all concerned parties is that anyone of them can put their hand on relevant, detailed information concerning any student within the school.


In its current format the portfolio system is prehistoric!
All info is held in hard copies(on paper) and is usually distributed in bits and pieces around the school, the LM may hold academic info as well as some medical, others are held at Admin often because of privacy laws, the SEU may have some etc, etc. If one of these stakeholders requires further or alternate info they need to literally pack a lunch and travel the school searching for the relevant documents.

Although well intentioned, this system is awkward and inefficient.

Current Portfolio Practice (method)

During this process documents are inevitably lost in the system. Even if the ultimate care is taken and a rigorous filing system adhered too, the physical bulk of these documents becomes a problem for storage and transportation.

Within the Parent Assessment/Recording/ Reporting System what changes will occur in response to the introduction of a digital portfolio practice or method and how will this effect student success?

Digital Portfolio Practice ( method)

  • Digital methods incorporate the involvement of ICT (Wiedmer 1998)
  • Technological support is required
  • Networking is required
  • Multimedia capabilities are utilised and in fact dominate the method. ( Niguidula 2005)
  • Videoed student learning experiences and reflections are possible
  • Digital methods involve both the student and the Learning Manager collaborating
  • The methods of data collection are often known to the digitally native student.
  • Uses much less space and storage is much less of an issue. Records are requiredto be kept for ten years (EQ 2006)

Digital Portfolio Purpose

As we are in the 21st Century and things are becoming more and more computer orientated in the classroom, digital portfolios are becoming more popular.
They can:

  • Provide an opportunity for students and teachers to learn and develop their computer skills.
  • "Present the learners with many more options for recording and presenting artefacts that demonstrate their achievements and growth". (Barrett, 1997; Hartnell-Young & Morris, 1999) Can be in the form of sounds, images (still or moving) and words.
  • Create motivation in students to make and publish "their work in ways that result in greater self-confidence".(Armitage,1998)
  • Provide an opportunity for students to record and preserve special moments for reflection - recording individual and group stories that can later be used for class discussions.
  • Provide opportunities for teachers to assess students ICT skills as they develop their portfolios themselves.

The purpose with digital portfolio's becomes twofold

  1. to document and record student success
  2. allow students to achieve ICT integration in a real life context- their own academic record
  • The futures oriented advantage of digital portfolios is that they become the foundation for authentic, school wide, integration of ICT's thus embedding learning in a context familiar and relevant to the generation of digital natives.
  • Within this context a digital portfolio can become much more than an evaluative tool for storing and recording work samples and profiling info. It can become an interactive platform for students to showcase their abilities and accomplishments using a range of media types.(Niguidula, 1997) A digital portfolio supports and encourages;
  • Student ownership of their learning
  • Student self assessment and reflection
  • Integration of assessment, reporting, pedagogy and curriculum
  • Opportunities for teacher/student collaboration

(Brady & Kennedy, 2005)

Digital Portfolio Product

  • A whole school implementation of a digital portfolio system would efficiently and easily accomplish the tasks that a hard copy folio currently provides, the variety of info stored can be sorted into folders easily accessible to the appropriate stakeholder. In the digital format all of the relevant information can be efficiently stored, accessed, transferred, compared and updated.
  • A digital portfolio system can be as simple or as elaborate as required, a school wishing to implement a digital portfolio system can begin using a simple format such as a Wiki for student exhibitions or a relational database for academic transcripts and profiling information.
  • Such a system can gradually evolve into a fully integrated whole school system with benefits and capabilities only limited by imagination and available technologies. (Barrett, 2000)
  • It is at this advanced stage of evolution that the full benefits of a digital portfolio system are realised. To reach this point requires confidence and commitment from the whole school community, which in itself fosters community spirit and ownership amongst stakeholders, furthermore it provides a common platform on which all can contribute to and benefit from an integrated system of assessment curriculum and reporting. (Balanskat, 2005)
  • A digital portfolio system can be developed using a range of software packages to suit the various applications. Education Queensland and their Smart Classrooms initiative provide templates and professional support for Queensland teachers.


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