An institutional evaluation of perceptions and expectations of a portfolio assessment program

Publication data:

  • Author(s):
    • Fisher, Victoria
  • Date:
  • Country:
    United States of America
  • Document Type:
  • Keywords:
    quantitative, qualitative, integrity, college, evaluation, benefits, portfolio assessment, portfolio


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The purpose of the study was to make an institution-wide examination of the perspectives of all those involved in the portfolio assessment program at Neuman College. The following groups were included: policymakers who were members of the board of trustees; administrators whose responsibilities would impact the portfolio assessment program; professionals who were staff members of the Division of Continuing Education; full and part-time faculty who had and had not utilized the portfolio assessment program.

The impetus for the study came from a directive by the Middle States Association of the Colleges and Schools to analyze the portfolio assessment program to determine possible causes for underutilization. The identification of an underutilization problem was first identified in the 1982 report of the Self-Evaluation of the AIM Program and then in the Middle States Institutional Self-Study Report of 1985.

The study employed a triangulation of research methods that included interviews, document analysis, and telephone survey. Fifty-one persons were interviewed and a combination of ninety-six faculty and students participated in the telephone survey.

The major findings of the study regarding the underutilization of portfolio assessment are the following: there are serious institutional concerns about the academic integrity of this method of awarding college credit, the definition of a college degree does not have clear criteria, the college constituencies don not have enough information, the leadership needs clear definition, the institution needs policies that have passed academic review, the recognition of prior learning is personally significant to students, and the relationships of the College's mission and portfolio assessment is incongruent.

Recommendations for further study include the following: procedures for evaluating candidates for portfolio assessment, additional methods for guiding students from the exploration of portfolio assessment through the award of credit, investigation of ethical and unethical marketing practices in portfolio assessment, and information on how the philosophies held by faculty about the body of knowledge that constitutes a college degree affects their perception of portfolio assessment.[Author Abstract]