Summative e-portfolio (Assessment OF Learning)

Masoumeh Kafshgarsouteh1, Dara Tafazoli2,
Azam Amininezhad3 & Noor Al-Sadat Hosseini4
1 Islamic
Azad University –Science & Research Branch (IRAN)
2, 4University of Applied Science & Technology (IRAN)
3 University of Guilan, International Campus (IRAN)
[email protected], [email protected]
 One indispensible part of language classes is assessment.
Hitherto, language teachers have applied a lot of methods
to assess their learners. However, as a reaction to
traditional assessments and tests, scholars started to
introduce new approaches of assessment called "
alternatives in assessment" (Brown 2004: 252). This
movement was a response to standardized assessment or
testing. It is claimed that alternatives in assessment have
certain features over traditional standardized
assessments, such as requiring learners to produce
language in natural contexts; being culture-bound; being
scored by human beings not computers; tapping higher
level of thinking (Douglas 2010).
 Among the different types of alternatives in assessment,
portfolio assessment is a well-known approach that could
attract a lot of proponents among educationists and
language scholars. Weigle (2002) defines portfolio as a
collection of learners' works such as compositions, diaries,
audio/video files, self-assessment, and reports. Genesee
and Upshur (1996) believe portfolios show learners'
progress, attempts and achievements. However, the
advent of computer and the Internet caused a great
revolution in portfolio assessment and turned it into
electronic portfolio (e-portfolio). This article aims to
introduce e-portfolio, discuss its purposes, and elaborate
on whether e-portfolio supports Assessment FOR
Learning (AFL) or Assessment OF Learning (AOL).
What is e-portfolio?
 An e-portfolio is a digital tool that can store different
types of contents, such as texts, audio/video files and
images. E-portfolio is also a learning tool; it can support
both learning and assessment processes (Barrett 2007). It
is also used to plan, reflect, record and evaluate both
learning process and product. E-portfolio could be
considered as a learner-centered method that involves
learners in all aspects of their learning. In this case,
learners have their own instructional goals, gather
evidence of their attainment, and assess their own
 It is believed that e-portfolio has some advantages
over traditional portfolio. Perhaps the main
difference is the capability of using different
technologies such as CDs, DVDs, and the Internet.
This capability has turned e-portfolio to a
multimedia tool. It means e-portfolio can take
advantage of different mediums.
Purposes of e-portfolio
 Many purposes have been mentioned for portfolio. Wolf (1999)
considers the main purposes of portfolio are learning,
assessment and employment portfolios. Learning portfolio is
called formative portfolio too. It is a tool of assessment for
learning (AFL). The main purpose of this portfolio is
development. However, assessment portfolio, also called
summative portfolio, is used in the context of formal
evaluation. It is used as a device to evaluate learner's
achievement. It is considered as a tool for assessment of
learning (AOL). Employment portfolio is called marketing
portfolio too. This type of portfolio is used to search for
employment (Hartnell-Young & Morriss, 1999).
 Since the first two purposes are more useful in language
classes, the two next parts will discuss these two purposes
Summative e-portfolio
(Assessment OF Learning)
 To start this part, it seems necessary to make a distinction
between summative and formative assessment. Summative
assessment is the assessment carried out at the end of a course
of instruction. It aims to measure the amount of achievement
(Douglas 2010). This type of assessment is referred as
assessment OF learning (AOL). Many formal assessments such
as diagnostic or achievement tests are under this category. AOL
is used for different purposes such as setting goals and
objectives, or measuring learners' achievement. Summative eportfolio is developed at the end of a course of instruction. It is
a collection of quantitative data. The development of
summative e-portfolio is based on a set of goals, standards, and
norms (Barrett 2006). This kind of e-portfolio is a support for
Formative e-portfolio
(Assessment FOR Learning)
 In previous part a distinction was made between summative and formative
assessment and summative assessment was introduced. Now it is time to
define formative assessment. Brown (2004: 6) defines formative assessment
as "evaluating students in the process of forming their competencies and
skills with the goal of helping them to continue that growth process". As a
result, the purpose of formative assessment is to inform learners about
their level of progress and to help them continue their learning. Brown
(2004) believes that all forms of informal assessments are considered as
formative assessment. Douglas (2010) also states that the results of
formative assessment can take the "form of feedback on strengths or
weaknesses in learning" (Douglas 2010: 72). The same as formative
assessment, formative e-portfolio is also used as an evidence to make
decision about where are the learners and where they are supposed to
reach in their learning. All the elements and artifacts in the portfolio
provide information about the learners' learning. In this case, the portfolio
helps both learners and teachers to reflect on the learning processes and to
provide feedback; all these factors cause an improvement in learning.
 Aim: To study the attitudes of English for Specific
Purposes (ESP) students towards using e-portfolio in
their courses
 Participants: 63 ESP students
 Major: Photography & Graphic Design
 University: University of Applied Science &
Technology, Mashhad, Iran
Data Analysis
 Data analysis was conducted in accordance with the
research questions, all of which were concerned with
the ESP students’ attitudes towards using e-portfolio
in their courses. In this study, a survey questionnaire
 was employed to collect data. The questionnaire that
was used to collect data for this research study was
developed by researchers.
 The first part of a questionnaire included 15 items
used to measure the present foreign language
learning and teaching situation in the university.
 The second part had 10 items, which questioned the
expectations of e-portfolio use in ESP courses. Here
the questionnaire was designed as a 5-point Likert
scale, where 1=strongly disagree to the concept,
2=disagree to the concept, 3=undecided to the
concept, 4=agree to the concept, and 5=strongly
favourable to the concept.
 Trying to assess the attitude of ESP students towards
using e-portfolio, we notice that 89,5% of the
participants actually would agree to use e-portfolio.
It is more interesting to mention that out of this
percentage, the 81,4% (p<0.05) are currently not
knowing anything about e-portfolio at all in their
educational settings, emphasizing the willingness of
students to integrate technology-based
instructions/assessments in their classrooms.
Discussion & Conclusion
 There are two main functions of assessment,
formative or assessment for learning (AFL) and
summative assessment or assessment of learning
(AOL). Although e-portfolio can support both
functions, there is a common belief that e-portfolio
functions mostly as an assessment for learning. In
this way, learners are involved in their own learning,
the classes become more learner-centered,
metacognition is practiced and finally needs are
Any Comments or Questions!
- Masoumeh, Dara, Azam& Noorie

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