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6:4 Face validity

The way that students view the portfolio effects its validity. This type of validity, called face validity, refers to the perception of the instrument by those it impacts. Learners need to be prepared to work with portfolios so that they have a clear understanding of the portfolio as an evaluation tool.

While some of your students may be familiar with portfolio assessment, others will need to be introduced to the practice; in either case, students will need to be familiarized with the way in which they and you will be using portfolios in this particular classroom. As described in the introductory story, Barbara spent a few days at the beginning of the school year discussing class expectations and setting up the process for portfolios. Portfolios increase the role of student responsibilities, and for some students, this may be a new approach to learning. Students may need to adapt and revise their expectations of the class and their role in the learning and assessment process.

Introducing students to portfolios can take some time; however, if students do not understand how the portfolio measures their performance, the portfolio becomes less trustworthy as an assessment instrument. Introduction to the portfolio can include an overview of the process, its reasons and purposes, the audience, learner responsibilities and benefits, and the way in which the portfolio will be assessed. Portfolios by nature need the active participation of learners who believe that their additional responsibilities in their learning are beneficial to them. As you progress with the project, ask yourself if your students seem to understand what is expected of them and whether they view the portfolio as a credible assessment tool.

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