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MIchael Waldron's Design Narrative: Using ePortfolio's for the collection and management of assessment evidence

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Michael Waldron
24 March 2014


Using ePortfolio's for the collection and management of assessment evidence in KS3.


A technology teacher and coordinator with an interest in the role of eportfolio systems in educational development (KS3- KS4), reflection and the assessment of learning.


The American International School where the project tool place is one example in a growing trend of privately owned K-12 educational institutions that seeks to prepare the children of expatriate adults for higher education. The students could generally be categorized as being multinational, multilingual and operating at a higher developmental stage that would be expected on average and with a greater degree of maturity and collective responsibility.

The project was conducted with two groups of Year 8 students aged between 13 and 14 Years. The project was complete over the course of 8 weeks with 4 hours of contact time per week. Students were divided into teams of three or four and assigned roles and responsibilities: these were Team Leader, Researcher(s) and Designer.


The theme of the project was Digital Literacy. This involved a student investigation into Bias/Propaganda in the Media as well as developing Internet searching skills and developing skills with cloud based tools such as Dropbox and Google Docs in order help them complete the project.  

The final part of the project was to create an ePortfolio as a container capable of storing visual and auditory content including text, images, video and sound. This was created in order to display evidence of their work directly against the learning standards of the project. To do this we decided to use Google Sites.

Students created an introductory page and then subsequent pages for each learning standard that project covered. Students were free to include whatever evidence of their work they thought best demonstrated their competance in the meeting of the standard.


Teaching and Learning standards were taken and adapted from ITSE technology standards.

1. To contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems. This was done in the form of a collaborative presentation.

2. To locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of source and media. This included the recording digital sources in a ‘Sources Table’.

3. To evaluate and select information source and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks. This involved the evaluation of digital sources and their suitability for use. Again, this needed to be added to a ‘Sources Table’ 

4. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks. This task involved providing evidence that the team had used collaborative tools such as Google Apps, Drive and Dropbox to complete the project. Evidence of this was to be provided in the form of screenshots. Some analysis had to be provided in terms of the strength and weaknesses of the tools being used.

5. A written reflection of the project in terms of how successful the team was in meeting the learning objectives of the project.


1. To understand different propaganda techniques commonly used in the media (Inquiry)

  • Students wrote a list of questions they had concerning ‘the media’ and the role that they play.

2. Evaluate sources of information for trustworthiness, validity and reliability.

  • Students investigated the ‘Kony 2012’ video for reliability and trustworthiness. Develop a set of amendment questions to the makers of the video.

  • Students prepare a group presentation on Israel and Palestine conflict  that was reliable and trustworthy. Presentation had to be created according to a design specification and that was informative and interesting for the audience.

3. Students are taught to be able to find, locate and disseminate information from appropriate, reliable and legal sources.

  • Students taught how to develop their Internet searching skills to find information more quickly and effectively. Students use TLD modifiers and search modifiers to restrict searches of information in order to answer prescribed questions.

  • Students to  research information as a group on the Israel and Palestine conflict , share, research tasks and collate findings in a single presentation. Information sources recorded in a the ‘Sources Table’ and evaluated for reliability and propaganda.

4. Students are able to share work and information and an efficient digital manner using attachments, Dropbox and Drive.

  • Students use Google Drive and Dropbox to create shared folders, documents and communicate both synchronously and asynchronously.

5. Students create an ePortfolio in Google Drive

  • Student embed evidence against each of the learning standards of the project into the ePortfolio.

6. Project Review

  • Students complete an individual reflection. This is done in the form of a structured essay


An example of finished ePortfolios can be found here and here. All students involved in the project submitted an ePortfolio of which some were fully completed and others partially completed. I will discuss the issues encountered below.

1. Evidencing work directly against learning standards was a revelation in fostering students interest , understanding and pride in their own, and each others, contributions.

2. Outcomes-based assessment strategies were favoured because this gave the students a greater choice in how they meet the requirements of the project. However, summative assessment of the project was done using a rubric (shared with the students) that contained no mechanism for giving credit to those students who were active participants in meeting the learning standards but then subsequently failed to show evidence of this activity in the ePortfolio. This process then may not have fairly recognised the true progress and achievements of those students whose contributions were more tacit. With hindsight this problem could have been overcome with more on-course learner tracking.

3. Students were not being assessed on the ePortfolio itself nor on the majority of the digital tools that they used throughout the project. Yet, success in this project was determined by what they displayed in the end. We therefore need to ask the question as to whether the technical knowledge required to create and maintain the ePortfolio unfairly disadvantaged those students who may have ended up being assessed more on their technical prowess than on the knowledge they were meant to have acquired. Diagnostic skills test before the project may have helped overcome such issues.

4. The decision to incorporate student reflection into the ePortfolio was made in order that students could reconsider and makes a story out of their own learning experiences. This was an extremely beneficial exercise both for them, and for me as a teacher, in order that we could gauge progress.

5. Assessment of the project and then the process of providing individual feedback was an exhaustive and time consuming. Rather than providing so much assessment summatively based solely on an end “product” ,  it may have been preferable to break down the task into smaller parts and feedback on those instead.

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Teresa Morgan
2:43pm 25 March 2014


I've read your narrative with interest.  It's great your school allowed so much time for this.

I find it interesting that you are thinking of breaking the task into smaller chunks and feedback on those.  This would be the approach that I have taken in the past with gnvq students who are asked to submit a portfolio of work for each Business studies unit.  I have found that this is great for those students who are organised and methodically work through a project.  Do you have any hints and tips for how you ensured that students were searching the web effectively?

Thanks for sharing this information.  As I read it I have made several assumptions, including that in the school where this was taking place there was no shortage of access to equipment and students were able to work independantly.


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