When the end-of-school-year flurry begins, it doesn’t let up until the students head home for the last time and teachers, administrators and support staff all exhale in unison. That’s why it’s crucial to set yourself up for success when thinking about end-of-year assessments. In a time when the clock is ticking down, you don’t have to settle for less when it comes to meaningful feedback.
In this blog post, we’ll look at three ways you can use Portfolio in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) powered by D2L Brightspace to support assessment of learning. These include:
- assessing understanding
- providing enduring feedback
- encouraging learners to be active participants in their learning and assessment
Regardless of whether you’ve used Portfolio before or not, you’ll find actionable steps you can take to use it for your benefit and that of your students.
Assessing Understanding and Growth
Portfolio provides you with an easy way to assess your students’ understanding as it compares with curriculum expectations for their grade level and subject area. Whether you want to use a cumulative project or look back at learning and progress made throughout the year, you can attach specific curriculum expectations to an end-of-school-year assessment of learning.
If you need to show mastery over time, Portfolio has all the evidence you need if you’ve utilized the tool throughout the year. Instead of having to reference old grade books, track down old marks or rely on your own memory, you have access to the student work and feedback over time. This creates an easy path to showing mastery of curriculum expectations at the end of the school year.
And if you haven’t used Portfolio throughout the entire year, you still have the tools you need to measure a student’s performance as it relates to curriculum expectations quickly and effectively. You won’t need to stay late or bring stacks of assessments home to go through the process, because Portfolio houses all the documents, photos, videos and written explanations that students have provided. Even if it’s the first time you use Portfolio, the efficiency of having everything in one place is well worth learning how to use it.
Documenting mastery with Portfolio is easy and efficient, especially when time is of the essence. Portfolio provides a way to see the holistic picture of what students have mastered, where they are progressing and where they can still make improvements.
Providing Specific and Enduring Feedback
Since Portfolio is a hub for students to store work from year to year, provided year-end feedback is less likely to be read once and forgotten forever. Since students will be able to see the feedback you’ve provided at the start of the next school year, end-of-year feedback is all the more valuable.
You can look at the big picture of the work a student has done throughout the year or assess a specific end-of-school-year project to give the student a clear picture of where they have progressed, what content they have mastered and what their next steps could be the following school year.
The future benefits of your encouragement and specific feedback make the time and effort worth it. One thing to keep in mind, though, is to give yourself enough time to provide encouraging and specific feedback, knowing that, because of the enduring nature of Portfolio in your students’ educational careers, that time is well spent.
Encourage Active Participation in the Learning Process
Students’ active role in learning is more important than ever. No matter their age, students reap benefits by self-assessing. Portfolio provides ample opportunities for you to set your students up for ownership of their learning. Students can upload work from any device, add details or descriptions and even record audio or video to describe their work and the choices they made while producing it. This is especially helpful with younger learners who may not have the ability to describe their thinking in writing but can provide a colorful verbal description.
A digital portfolio has never been easier for students to create since Portfolio stores their work in one central place throughout the year. When thinking about end-of-school-year assessment of learning, you can ask students to compare and contrast two pieces of work they’ve produced throughout the year and provide evidence of their learning. Reflecting on their past work, seeing their own progress and commenting on how their work has evolved gives students a rich opportunity for self-assessment.
Another way you can use Portfolio in the VLE is to have students reflect on their work against curriculum expectations. This allows students to see where they progressed over the year, gain a sense of accomplishment and examine whether there are still areas that need improvement. Instead of an outside voice doing the assessment, self-reflection in a classroom can help them better understand where they can improve. Another benefit of students documenting their own mastery is that it relieves some of the burden on teachers.
A New Level of Feedback
Whether you’re new to the product or a veteran user, Portfolio has all the tools you need to deliver meaningful feedback for end-of-school-year assessments. After providing enduring, specific and student-involved feedback through Portfolio, teachers can exhale after a job well done, and students can return the following year knowing the next steps on their educational journey.
To discover more about how Portfolio can help with your end-of-year assessments, log in to the VLE today.
Eli Johnson is a content writer and former educator. After being a K-12 classroom teacher for a decade, he continues supporting education through writing.
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