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The design and implementation of an electronic portfolio assessment system as a high school graduation requirement: A multiple-case study of three Rhode Island high schools

Joseph P Maruszczak, Johnson & Wales University


The Rhode Island “high school regulations” mandate that each district commit to two performance-based assessment measures as new graduation requirements (RIDE, 2003). Twenty-seven of the state's 36 districts have committed to portfolio assessment as one of the measures (Gehring, 2006). Each portfolio school must confront four major aspects of electronic portfolio design and implementation: establishing school-wide learning expectations and rubrics, creating high-quality portfolio tasks, building and supporting student reflection, and developing portfolio review processes (Ainsworth & Viegut, 2006; Barrett, 2005; & Niguidula, 2005). The purpose of this study was to describe how (N=3) Rhode Island high schools have created and implemented their electronic portfolio assessment systems as a component of the RIDE requirement for proficiency-based graduation. It also assessed teacher perceptions of the impact of portfolios on professional practice and student learning. A mixed-method, multiple-case study methodology utilized a teacher questionnaire, teacher interviews, and content analysis of key documents for sources of data. Research subjects were (N=122) teacher participants for the survey, and (N=18) teacher interviewees. The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, with findings reported using tables and narrative relative to the structures and instructional practices associated with successful portfolio assessment. One-way ANOVA of the survey data indicated that significant differences in perceived impact were found for primary teaching responsibility and extent of personal leadership in the portfolio implementation (p<.01). Analysis of results showed that the (N=3) schools had various factors, such as the curriculum review and revision process, school accreditation, and a student transition process, as significant factors on the design of each school's e-portfolio system. Teachers perceive that portfolio assessment is impacting their practice positively by the incorporation school-wide learning expectations with aligned rubrics and common portfolio tasks. They also believed that portfolios provide a viable means for students to demonstrate proficiency upon graduation. However, some of the practices and structures that would maximize results, such as common planning time where colleagues look at student work (McTighe & Emberger, 2006), the use of peer review for task validation (RIDE and the Education Alliance, 2005; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), and regular classroom reflection (Camp, 2002) are not happening consistently.

Subject Area

Secondary education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Maruszczak, Joseph P, "The design and implementation of an electronic portfolio assessment system as a high school graduation requirement: A multiple-case study of three Rhode Island high schools" (2008). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3315146.