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Аrom timed essays to portfolios

24 Jul 2017

The shift in direct assessment—from timed essays to portfolios—was motivated in part by the desire to bring writing assessment more in line with current cognitive and social views of writing, and to tie writing assessment more closely to course curriculum.

Instead of assessing student writing on the basis of a single piece produced at a single moment in time, portfolios present multiple samples of a student’s work in a variety of rhetorical styles that reflect course curriculum. Furthermore, portfolio pieces are drafted, with each draft benefiting from instructor and/or peer feedback.

Finally, portfolios usually include student self-assessment in the form of a piece in which students reflect on their work and discuss the criteria they used in selecting pieces that they chose to include in their portfolios. Such reflective self-assessment invites students to become active participants in their own learning.

As in timed essay assessment, portfolio readers are normed in order to increase assessment reliability, so that assessment need not be done by as- sessment experts.

Finally, portfolio assessment can be used to assess student outcomes at both the classroom and program levels.


Journal of Basic Writing, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2007 75, Janine Graziano-King.

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