Students academic achievements must be measured by quality and professionalism based on professional ethics and judgment. Recent years, researcher and teachers underline that current system of assessment does not objectively reflect student’s progress and skills. Today, formative and summative assessments are the main types of assessments at schools, colleges and universities. Nevertheless, both of these types have some limitations, and for this reason portfolio assessment is the best method to evaluate and grade academic progress of students.
The main parts of the portfolio assessment should include formative and summative assessments. Tests will help the teacher to compare observations and assessment of the student practical results, and thus make a complex professional judgment. Each assessment might be designed to be administered and marked by a teacher. The evaluation is itself a function of teacher mediation and seeks to plot a course through the variables of particular classroom encounters. Wiggins underlines that teachers should “consider assessment before they begin planning lessons or projects” (Wiggins, 2002). This strategy will help to design the test and use strict criteria for further grading. Also, technology is useful tool which helps “to just see some samples, some rubrics to get a sense of the student’s current level of performance” (Wiggins, 2002). Testing is a small but very important part of assessment. Providing a marking key will make it easier to score the assessment and can also provide an opportunity to learn from errors. Tests should an integral part of portfolio assessment because they “look for discrete knowledge and skill for the individual student” (Wiggins, 2002).
If assessments become standard tests in which all the candidates answer the same questions, the wash-back effect will be that all learners study the same material and attempt to learn the same things regardless of their needs, wants and abilities. If learners are to be encouraged to develop individually and to gradually move towards greater autonomy, then their assessments must not become standardized (Wiggins, 2002). In contrast to this type of evaluation, summative assessments need some consideration if they are to be effective measures of learning. Summative assessment is used at the end of every large unit (module) and at the end of the course. For parents this part of assessment is very important because it shows overall success of their children and possible problems they face with. To make summative assessments fit comfortably into a scheme of learning they need to be much more flexible than course examinations (The Relationship …, n.d.). Also, teacher can use collaborative assessments which allow learners to feel involved in the assessment procedure and also allow them greater choice in some or all of the procedure, the content and the marking criteria. Collaborative assessments involve combined input from a teacher and a learner who negotiate criteria for assessment (Gueldenzoph, May, 2002).
Students use their portfolio to collect evidence of their achievements over a period of time and thus present for assessment what they consider to be the best picture of their abilities. The assessment of the portfolio is conducted by a teacher although in some circumstances it is possible that a group of peers could conduct or assist in assessment. The portfolios might well contain results of self-assessments and also peer-assessments which could be taken into account during a final assessment. Today, most teachers prefer to use “criterion-based feedback as opposed to numerical scoring (8/10) or grades” (The Relationship …, n.d.). Variation in context may influence the form of assessment used and may also determine the criteria used for judging academic progress. Portfolios help educators to collect information about student, to monitor academic progress, and assess student involvement.
In sum, there is an increasing interest in portfolio assessment, because in addition to providing a measure of uniformity, a flexible structure can deal with changes in content and complexity. Portfolios provide information on which each student can be individually rated or evaluated. The balance between formative and summative assessment is important because it helps to make evaluation of students’ knowledge and development. Grading students, teachers rely upon observations, presentations, discussion, informal written assignments, etc. However, if students are to progress beyond mere competency it is important that their vision should not be permanently constrained by an externally imposed set of criteria.