An investigation of formative and summative portfolio assessment methods
Callele, Mary Frances
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The purpose of the qualitative study titled An Investigation of Formative and Summative Portfolio Assessment Methods, is to explore the experiences of a self-described eclectic, primarily constructivist writing instructor who employs portfolio assessment methods in post-secondary writing classes taught to pre or in-service writing teachers. This Action Research study focuses retrospectively on the experiences of the instructors’ formative and summative assessment of post-secondary writing portfolios. The study also explores theoretical grounding of which educators are often not consciously aware and adds insight into the existing body of knowledge on portfolio assessment practices.The research question is as follows: How does a post-secondary writing instructor employ formative and summative portfolio assessment methods within a constructivist writing community and how does s/he describe the teaching/learning relationship that consequently develops? The goal of the study is to explore in depth one instructor’s experiences in post-secondary writing courses. I used the following questions as a guideline. • to discover how the instructor uses a formative portfolio assessment process of teaching to positively affect the development of writerly skills in a constructivist writing community• to discover how the instructor uses summative portfolio assessment of writing to provide accountable end-of-term numerical ranking of student achievement for educational institutions• to describe the perspective of a constructivist writing instructor on the use of formative and summative portfolio assessment practices at the post-secondary level• to discover the effect formative and summative processes and the constructivist writing community has on the teacher/student relationship Upon analysis of the interview transcripts, I found that teaching, for my participant, is a colourful tapestry that stands alone as her well-crafted teaching practice, but can also be viewed as 4 distinct panels that fit seamlessly together. These four themes are: 1. Portfolio evaluation of writing provides for the Constructivist conditions for learning as identified by Driscoll (2000).2. Portfolio evaluation is most effective when built on a foundation of Community within a group of writing students.3. Portfolio evaluation promotes balanced transactional experiences that result in transformation for both student and teacher.4. Portfolio evaluation of writing, as a teaching practice, shows promise for the successful education of marginalized students. I also found that this research has only rippled the surface of a pool of anecdotal knowledge that invites full immersion. I am drawn to further exploration, discussion, development, implementation and assessment of models of formative evaluation that will benefit our students of writing. To this end I have included recommendations for further study specifically aimed at exploring the promising practices of portfolio evaluation for marginalized peoples, most particularly First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, at various levels of education, including primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)