There is a common misconception that it is more work to evaluate ePortfolio assignments than paper-based assignments. In most cases, this is not true. Take a look at the following sections to learn more:

When to Evaluate ePortfolio work

Whether you evaluate student work throughout a course or program (i.e., formative evaluation), at the end (i.e., summative evaluation), or both, you should clearly define the evaluation process at the beginning. Students put a lot of work into showing what they know, so it is important that they show what you need to see, in the form you need to see it. Talking with students about the structure, or required element of the portfolio can also be a good way to educate and highlight how certain of their "signature assignments" can connect to the course, program, and institutional goals.

During a course, formative evaluation can include a peer review cycle or a period of time where you as the instructor will provide feedback on specific assignments. To facilitate this, some instructors provide their rubric or guidelines at the beginning of the term for the students to use during the peer review process. They then use the same rubric or guidelines for the summative evaluation.

Throughout a program, formative evaluation can take the form of evaluating artifacts as part of normal coursework. It can also mean setting specific times when the ePortfolio will be evaluated as part of the advising progress. For example, after completing 18 out of 30 units, the program or department might require each student to meet with his or her advisor to review the assignments completed by that point.

How to evaluate ePortfolio work

The learning objectives or standards give students a basic idea of what is expected and show instructors what to evaluate. However, there are several ways to evaluate the work itself. Instructors may use the same evaluation techniques they have used in the past. The only difference may be that the assignment is posted in the ePortfolio instead of submitted on paper.

Alternatively, some instructors are finding it useful to post the grading rubric for ePortfolios in the iLearn course (and drop points directly into the iLearn gradebook). Another way is to offer direct oral feedback in person (in advising) or via Coursestream (Lecture Capture) or a recording of a Web Conference session or private YouTube channel. Instructors can review and then share feedback while viewing a portfolio. This kind of "curatorial" feedback has proven very effective for students, and also has the added benefit of saving faculty from repetitive stress injuries and students can review the recorded feedback as many times as they wish.

Who evaluates ePortfolio work

Throughout the course or program, you can involve others in the evaluation process. Some instructors use student peer review as a way to help students get feedback before submitting artifacts or reflections for a grade. Other instructors solicit experts' review when a student does co-curricular work, such as a field experience class, internship, or oral presentation. If students use an ePortfolio throughout a program, you may construct panels to review final portfolios for completeness, or evidence of integrative learning, even though the individual artifacts and reflections have already been given grades from the instructors who assigned them. An oral presentation of the portfolio may also be a part of your assessment strategy.

See Assessment Resources for rubric examples for more details about how to evaluate ePortfolio work.

Some programs invite panels of internal and/or external reviewers and employers from their field to evaluate ePortfolios after students have graduated to solicit feedback about the methods and types of evidence used to demonstrate competencies.

The evaluation of individual student assignments happens at the course level. However if assignments are archived in an ePortfolio, instructors can review artifacts themselves, the student's reflections about the value or meaning of each artifact, and different instructors' feedback about the student's work. In this way, the instructors and advisors can collectively track a student's growth and development, and provideformative guidance about next steps or areas to improve. Departments may also have both formative and summative reviews of a cohort or cluster of student portfolios. Here are some Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) guidelines for departments interested in using ePortfolios as an assessment strategy: "Rubrics for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Assessment Processes" (Note: This is a downloadable PDF document and will open in a new window.)