Analysis of portfolio assessment as pedagogy in technical writing instruction

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Speakman, Carolyn
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2000
Portfolio assessment-as-pedagogy, as implemented in a college writing course, is examined in light of the themes present in the literature concerning portfolio assessment. The instructional processes used in English 155, Scientific and Technical Writing, at Lethbridge Community College, are described; and ten students' portfolios are analyzed, with primary emphasis on students' learning as expressed in their final reflective letters. Consideration is also given to their reflection worksheets and to drafts and revisions of individual projects. Together, these documents reveal the students' insights into their development as writers and into the significance of their writing products. Grounded in a constructivist view of learning, a portfolio classroom fosters social construction of knowledge. When students develop a sense of community, their participation in collaborative writing and peer revision can become an important part of composing. Because portfolios are informed by process theory of composition, they are not only a means of assessing writing, but they also guide student learning by documenting their writing processes and giving them a voice in interpreting their development. This reflection helps students identify themselves as writers who have ownership over their work and their learning. Portfolios also give the instructor a window into students' rhetorical awareness, perceptions of thinking and writing, and sentence skill development. Although this project was limited to one course, the depth of learning demonstrated by the students suggests that they may benefit from increased power in creating and assessing their portfolios. Other future possibilities include collaborative assessment among writing instructors and program-wide applications of portfolio assessment.
viii, 127 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Technical writing -- Study and teaching , Portfolios in education , Teaching -- Aids and devices