Vol. 34 No. 2 (2019)
Research Articles

Portfolio Project as Summative Language Assessment: Engaging learners Online

Sarah Korpi
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Bio
Published December 18, 2019
Keywords
  • assessments,
  • online language course,
  • course design,
  • portfolio projects

Abstract

High stakes midcourse and final exams have long been a dominant assessment model. But exam performance does not necessarily correlate with learning or students’ ability to apply learning to real-life scenarios outside the classroom.
Reliance on such high-stakes assessments can result in elevated learner stress during exam times and lack of learner engagement during non-exam times. In contrast, active learning requires ongoing student engagement, and assessments of student work completed in such activities are authentic archetypes of student learning that demonstrate student ability to apply their learning to authentic situations, problems, and issues. This article argues that assessment practices based on multiple, low-stakes, iterative assessments within an active learning environment provides more feedback and engages students in their own learning as active participants, which leads to increased student success.
The case study presented in this article is specific to foreign language courses offered through online education. Combining best practices of learner engagement in the online environment and assessment in the communicative language classroom, language faculty in an open enrollment program developed an assessment model for asynchronous, introductory language courses in the online environment that relies on multiple low-stakes assessments that culminate in a final, summative portfolio project. This article will offer examples of how the portfolio project is situated in the course and an overview of portfolio project topics. Example instructions and assessment rubrics will be provided. Data from the first full year of implementation will be analyzed to begin to assess the impact and effectiveness of this portfolio assessment.

Résumé : Placer les examens importants en milieu et fin de cours constitue depuis longtemps un modèle d'évaluation dominant. Mais les résultats aux examens ne sont pas nécessairement liés à l'apprentissage ou à la capacité des étudiants à appliquer leurs apprentissages à des scénarios de la vie réelle à l'extérieur de la classe.

Le recours à de telles évaluations, dont les enjeux sont élevés, peut entraîner un stress élevé chez l'apprenant pendant les périodes d'examen et un manque d'engagement de la part de l'apprenant pendant les périodes où il n'y a pas d'examen. L'apprentissage actif exige un engagement continu de la part des étudiants, et des évaluations portant sur des activités faisant ressortir leur capacité à appliquer leurs apprentissages à des situations, problèmes et enjeux authentiques. Cet article défend l’idée que les pratiques d'évaluation fondées sur des évaluations multiples et itératives à faibles enjeux, dans le cadre d’un apprentissage actif, fournissent une rétroaction plus ciblée et favorisent l’engagement des étudiants dans leur propre apprentissage en tant que participants actifs, ce qui favorise leur réussite.

L'étude de cas présentée dans cet article est centrée sur les cours de langues étrangères offerts en ligne. Dans un programme de formation ouverte, les professeurs de langue ont combiné les meilleures pratiques d'engagement de l'apprenant dans l'environnement en ligne et l'évaluation en classe de communication en langue étrangère afin de développer un modèle d'évaluation pour des cours asynchrones d'introduction à la langue. Celui-ci repose sur de multiples évaluations à faibles enjeux qui aboutissent au projet final de portfolio d’évaluation sommative. Cet article donnera des exemples de la façon dont le projet de portfolio se situe dans le cours et offrira un aperçu des sujets associés au projet de portfolio. Des exemples d'instructions et de rubriques d'évaluation seront proposés. Les données de la première année complète de mise en œuvre seront analysées pour commencer à évaluer l'impact et l'efficacité de ce portfolio d’évaluation.

Mots-clés : évaluation sommative, cours de langue en ligne, conception de cours, projets de portfolio

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