Portfolios: An Active Assessment

This post is provided by guest blogger, Andraya Goodwin, a graduate student at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Il., MS in Training and Development program.

Portfolios are popularizing as an industry standard to showcase skills and knowledge on a digital platform. Can portfolios be utilized as a higher education assessment tool? I do think so.

The purpose of a portfolio

So often, the work that is completed in graduate school is done in vain. Never to see the light of day, the projects that graduate students complete are often buried and marked with the tombstone of a grade, “A+.” This is all you get for performing a perfect balancing act of academics, parenting, a full-time job, and 30-minute sessions on the elliptical. But who cares!? When it comes down to it, in order to prove that you have what it takes to get that job or promotion, you need to show what you’ve got!  

The practicality of a portfolio

As a summative assessment tool, a portfolio consists of “a variety of materials (paper, video clips, photographs, etc.)” (Simonson, Smaldino, and Zvacek, 2015). Professors can leverage portfolios to create a well-rounded assessment of the student’s abilities while providing a framework for a tool that can be practically applied outside of the classroom.

Portfolios provide students the opportunity to collect all of the projects, papers, courses, and lessons that they complete during their studies in a presentable fashion. By keeping the overall design minimalistic, viewers will be able to focus on the appeal of the work and abilities (Pappas, 2017).


Simonson, M, Smaldino, S.,& Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance:  Foundations of distance education (6th ed.). North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

Pappas, C., (2017). 10 tips to create an amazing instructional design portfolio. Retrieved from URL https://elearningindustry.com/tips-create-amazing-instructional-design-portfolio

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