Peter Elbow and Pat Belanoff— Chapter 6 (AWS). “Portfolios as a Substitute for Proficiency Examinations”

29 Oct

You might be interested in this piece if…

  • You’re interested in seeing another model of portfolio usage at a programmatic level for evaluating student writing.

  • You think instructors should collaborate on evaluating portfolios to negotiate what we value in student writing and what a portfolio and the writing in it should look like.

  • You like the idea of being more of a “coach” or “editor” as opposed to a grader of student writing.

  • You like hearing what Peter Elbow thinks about things (and Pat Belanoff, of course).

Elbow & Belanoff provide a short and simple explanation of why they have chosen to use portfolios as a substitute for examinations. They seem to be arguing for the use of a portfolio system to evaluate student writing at the programmatic level and ask the instructors themselves, but also at least one other instructor in the program/department, to evaluate the portfolios students develop. They suggest that these lead to opportunities for instructors within the program to enter into helpful dialogs about what they see in student writing collaboratively by understanding what other instructors value in a piece of writing and why.


Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Peter Elbow and Pat Belanoff— Chapter 6 (AWS). “Portfolios as a Substitute for Proficiency Examinations”

  1. andrewdavidburgess

    October 29, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Based on what I’m seeing here, this piece would work well in conversation with Durst, et al’s article in chapter 13 of AWS, “Portfolio Negotiations.” Here, they discuss discussion (yowza!) between teachers as a means of grading portfolios and as a way to get our thinking about grading out into the open, rather than internalizing it.

  2. E Workman

    October 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    This piece would also work well with Hamp-Lyons and Condon’s piece on questioning assumptions that we make about portfolio assessment. Like Elbow and Belanoff, Hamp-Lyons and Condon focus on the faculty conversations that arise as a by-product of portfolio assessment. These conversations seem to be valuable not only for the portfolio assessment process, but also for aligning the assessment with what teachers are actually doing in the classroom. It’s this emphasis on alignment that leads Hamp-Lyons and Condon to suggest that portfolio assessment should be recursively reviewed and revised every so often (each semester/year?).


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