Assessment and Scoring

There exit three challenges to validity when using portfolios as assessments and these include: the problem of both the student and the learner taking working collectively to make decisions, secondly the problem of developing the portfolio contents and lastly the challenge of establishing the portfolios assessment criteria (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2010). The three affect the way assessments are made such that students and teachers at times may not involve one another in deciding what is best for them but rather follow established guidelines in handling portfolios. Portfolios contain different items necessary for student development. Their validity can only be reached when the teacher and the student understand what is required in the portfolios so that an effective assessment is made at the end. The assessment criterion also affects the validity of portfolios such that if the criteria are not suitable then a wrong outcome or conclusion is made at the end (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2010).

There are many benefits that portfolios bring to the learning experience. The first is that they show sophistication in student performance by highlighting different areas of development. Secondly they highlight the students’ strengths and weaknesses for remediation if they are timed and used properly. Third is that multiple components of the curriculum can be assessed and these may include writing, critical thinking and technology skills. The fourth benefit is that they can be used to view learning and development longitudinally by showing longitudinal trends. Lastly the process of evaluating and using portfolios provide an excellent opportunity for faculty exchange and development, discussion of curriculum goals and objectives, review of criteria and program feedback (UTA, 2006).

In stating that there is a temptation to limit the scoring criteria to those qualities of performance that are easiest to rate rather than the most important required for doing the job, they mean that sometimes teachers because of other issues such as time constraints are forced to limit these scoring criteria in order to accomplish more and get a general impression of the students’ performance and the competencies developed to be able to do a job (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2010).

A performance assessment is the process of using student activities instead of tests or surveys to assess skills and knowledge. The activities are often used in combination with tests to provide a complete picture of student skills and abilities. The benefits of using performance assessment is that: (1) they build on daily work of students and faculty by including assignments, exams and projects, (2) they enable the teacher to determine the student skills and abilities and a chance for students to learn how to improve on their skills, (3) it helps the teacher determine how to link their teaching to the desired learning outcomes. The challenges are that they are labor intensive, they cannot be generalized to the student population and lastly separate activities from daily teaching routine can be seen as intrusions (WBK, 2008).

Performance assessment is seen as both effective and ineffective in different application areas. Because they assess skills and abilities there are other things that they cannot be used to assess and therefore cannot be used as a standard measure of assessment. Subjects like art may sufficiently employ performance evaluation which has proven to be effective but subjects such as mathematics may be difficult to employ performance assessment (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2010).


Kubiszyn, T., & Borich, G. (2010). Educational testing & measurement: Classroom application and practice (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

UTA. (2006, March). Advantages and Disadvantages of various assessment methods. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from University of Texas:

WBK. (2008). Using performance-based measures. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from Ball State University:

Let's make that grade!