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7:2 Inventory of current activities

The second step in planning how students will provide evidence is assessing current activities. As you plan for portfolio assessment, evaluate the classwork that your students are currently engaged in for items that meet your portfolio goals. Story retellings, oral presentations, and group projects are examples of evidence of learning. Incorporating these activities into the students' portfolios strengthens the validity of the portfolio as an assessment tool because it so closely links instruction and assessment. However, if you alter your assessment approach to include portfolios, instruction should be altered to match it. Portfolios are authentic assessments because they document learning by focusing on product and process. If you have not been using assessments that reflect and document process, such as student self-assessments and writing drafts, this is a good opportunity to incorporate such assessments into your program.

Incorporating technology into portfolio assessment
Many teachers have successfully incorporated computer work into students' portfolios. If your students use the computer now, or if they can, then you may want to consider including computer work in their portfolios. Computers and access to the Internet allow students to reach beyond the traditional classroom to build portfolios. First, by using computers as an option to writing portfolios, students can develop electronic portfolios. They can generate, revise, and store completed essays and journal entries on disks that will later be selected and included in their portfolios. The portfolios can stay in an electronic format, or the essays can be printed and organized into more traditional writing portfolios. This alternative offers students the opportunity to build computer skills and eases storage concerns. Second, computers and Internet access increase the authenticity of classroom learning by offering multiple ways for students to explore beyond the classroom. Classwork that includes such things as keypal projects, Internet searches for research or locating and reading foreign language newspapers can be included in the portfolio. Decisions about if and how to use the computer will influence what is created and included in the portfolio.

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