Type of Document Dissertation Author Vyortkina, Dina URN etd-11072003-171119 Title Portfolio Assessment In Educational Leadership Programs at Masterís Level Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Judith L. Irvin Committee Chair Dale W. Lick Committee Member Michael C. Biance Committee Member Robert A. Reiser Committee Member Keywords
- Educational Administration
- Educational Leadership
- Portfolio Assessment
Date of Defense 2003-07-18 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of the study was to investigate the process of portfolio assessment in programs preparing educational leaders at the masterís degree level and to add to the knowledge base of portfolio assessment practices in the field of educational administration. Particular emphasis was placed on the following issues of portfolio assessment: (1) needs that prompted the redesigning of traditional assessment processes and lead toward portfolio assessment as an alternative; (2) purposes for portfolio assessment in a program; (3) models for portfolio assessment planning and implementation in programs preparing educational leaders, including key people, major stages, events, and unique features; (4) skills, abilities, and educational leadership competencies to be demonstrated by program graduates; (5) structural components of portfolios used to demonstrate specified competencies and rationale for content selection; (6) practices and strategies for portfolio evaluation; (7) lessons learned by people implementing portfolio assessment in the programs; (8) meaning and definitions of portfolios as identified by faculty and students; (9) similarities and differences in perceptions of and attitudes toward portfolio assessment among program faculty and students with the specification of strengths and weaknesses of portfolios, (10) factors that facilitate or inhibit implementation of portfolio assessment in various programs as perceived by faculty and students; and (11) potential ways to improve portfolio assessment as recognized by both students and faculty.
The in-depth study consisted of web-based surveys of faculty and students in four Educational Leadership/Administration programs, telephone and video interviews, and content analysis of documents. Four major purposes of portfolio assessment were identified: (1) assessment of student professional competencies required for graduation; (2) evaluation of internships; (3) program evaluation; and (4) initiation of a career advancement portfolio and job search tool. Such strategies and activities as faculty members serving as mentors in portfolio development, peer and group discussions, written guidelines for portfolio development and evaluation, websites with information related to portfolio assessment in a program, detailed checklists, rubrics, and evaluation forms available to faculty and students, and culminating portfolio presentation proved to be effective in portfolio assessment implementation process.
Though students in four programs designed their portfolios differently, the following major components were used more often: (1) table of content, (2) introduction to the portfolio, (3) student resume, (4) portfolio artifacts as a demonstration of acquired competencies, (5) self-reflective narrative, (5) leadership framework, (6) statements of five-year professional goals, and (7) summary and conclusions. Portfolio evaluation issues were identified as the most critical both by the faculty and students. Programs in this study used different formats for their assessment rubrics and rating sheets and assessed separately the quality of portfolio and mastery of standards. Student portfolio presentations and feedback provided by faculty seemed to be a valuable practice.
The results of this study support the premise that the use of portfolio assessment in Educational Leadership/Administration has a great potential for preparing educational leaders. Both faculty and students in studied programs saw major strengths in portfolio assessment as portfolios contain samples that present more authentic evidence of student competencies; serve as a self-evaluation tool that help students document areas of strength and become aware of areas of weaknesses; and foster critical thinking in students. However, faculty members and students believed that portfolio assessment had some weaknesses, in particular: portfolios were labor intensive for faculty to evaluate; grading of portfolios was inconsistent with current grading system in higher education; and portfolio assessments lacked demonstrated validity.
Data collected during this study revealed that several factors function as facilitators or as barriers in the assessment process. It is suggested that knowing facilitators and barriers is important and critical for successful portfolio assessment. Identification of these factors influences the strategy of portfolio implementation through removing the barriers and enhancing the facilitating factors. Both the faculty and students considered the importance of facilitating factors, such as the availability of training and/or a portfolio handbook for the faculty and students, availability of the instructor's time to guide students and evaluate portfolios, systematic and formal planning of the portfolio assessment process, and more detailed information about portfolios. Such factors as faculty membersí assumptions that portfolios are too time consuming to grade, lack of training for the faculty, and lack of information about the advantages of portfolio assessment were agreed upon by both the faculty and students as barriers to successful portfolio assessment implementation.
The information gained from this study indicated that the portfolio process could be improved in a variety of ways. Both the faculty and students involved in this study made recommendations about improving portfolio assessment in such areas as advising and guiding students in portfolio development, portfolio expectations, evaluation and feedback mechanisms, involvement of practicing school administrators and representatives of state and national agencies, training for the faculty and students, peer review of portfolios, and research on portfolio assessment effectiveness in the program. Moving toward electronic portfolios might make the portfolio process more effective and efficient, thus eliminating many barriers and adding such advantages as easy update, transfer, and storage, interactivity, and use of multiple media for developing artifacts and demonstrating achievements. All these recommendations were incorporated into the Educational Leadership Portfolio Assessment Model that was encouraged by the findings of this study.
Although the current study does not allow for a generalization of findings, it will still provide an important contribution to the literature on portfolio assessment for several reasons. First, it is the first study of portfolio assessment in programs preparing educational leaders of this scope. Second, it is one of few studies comparing perceptions or faculty and students regarding portfolio assessment. Third, this study provides a good resource for Educational Leadership/Administration programs that are considering portfolio assessment implementation or planning improvements in their current portfolio models.
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