VALUE Research Hub

Making Learning Visible and Meaningful through Electronic Portfolios


Rhodes, T. L. (2011, January 1). Making Learning Visible and Meaningful through Electronic Portfolios. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 43(1), 6–13.


People are inundated with technology on campuses and in their lives. Students are increasingly technology savvy, expecting faculty and administrators to function comfortably within the digital world. They have responded by using technology more and more in teaching and learning. In this article, the author focuses on one such use--student electronic portfolios, or e-portfolios--as a rapidly emerging, powerful, iterative mode for capturing student work and enabling faculty to assess student learning. E-portfolios provide a means for collecting assigned work, as well as students' accomplishments in non-classroom settings, so that faculty, internship supervisors, and others can assess it and aggregate or disaggregate the results, depending on the purposes of the assessment. The use of portfolios in electronic form has rapidly spread to other fields (most notably, teacher education) and has been taken up for other purposes (e.g., faculty keeping portfolios of their work for purposes of development and evaluation or institutions for accreditation). Forty percent of campuses of all types--large and small, public and private, research and liberal arts, and community colleges--recently reported using student e-portfolios. Here, the author discusses rubrics for learning and assessment that were developed by academic professionals through the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project. The author argues that e-portfolios and the shared expectations for learning embodied in the VALUE rubrics can provide direct, robust, and nuanced evidence of students' abilities to function in and shape the future in the many complex ways demanded by society. (Contains 17 resources.)

Themes: Academic Achievement, Campuses, College Faculty, EVALUATION, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Michigan, National Survey of Student Engagement, New York, Outcomes of Education, Portfolio Assessment, Portfolios (Background Materials), Reliability, Scoring rubrics, South Carolina, Standardized Tests, Technology Uses in Education, Undergraduate Study, Validity