From District Administration
Published May, 2016
By Deborah Yaffee
The 3,000 students in rural Maine’s Regional School Unit 19 begin compiling electronic portfolios of their schoolwork in pre-K, when the district issues every child a Google account.
In the elementary years, teachers snap and upload digital photos of handwritten work. In the upper grades, students accustomed to electronically documenting their school lives habitually upload essays and lab reports and record video of their oral presentations.
“By the time you hit middle school, the students are just doing it because that’s the way we do business,” says Kern Kelley, the Maine district’s technology integrator.
Decades ago, portfolio assessment—using samples of classroom work to document students’ progress toward learning goals—meant finding room for bulging binders stuffed with paper. But digital technologies that make it far easier to collect, curate, share and store student work have dismantled the physical barriers that once made portfolio assessment daunting. Schools are now taking a fresh look at the practice.
“The technology is so powerful,” says Mark Barnes, a former Cleveland-area teacher who now runs educational publishing company Times 10. “It gives educators an opportunity to create an ongoing conversation about learning.”