Electronic Portfolio Adoption for Teacher Education Candidates

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  • Electronic Portfolio Adoption for Teacher Education Candidates

    Michael W. Ledoux1,2 and Nadine McHenry1

    Programs of professional development for preservice teachers of young children in the UnitedStates attempt to align their program goals and candidate performances to The NationalAssociation for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Association of Childhood

    Education International (ACEI), and their particular state standards. In addition they attemptto teach candidates to be knowledgeable and reective practitioners who use the best practicesin their eld. This article will address one universitys attempt to adopt this process and utilize

    electronic portfolios. The article will include examples of course objectives, standards, rubrics,and candidate performances interwoven through program matrices in order to insure theproper delivery of instruction while maintaining exibility and creativity. It is hoped that the

    article will foster discussion about the strengths and challenges of accountability and academicfreedom in preparing candidates in early childhood education.

    KEY WORDS: standards; teacher preparation; portfolios; technology; assessment.

    INTRODUCTION

    We live in an era of accountability. Govern-mental agencies, churches, businesses, and privatecitizens are being scrutinized more closely than everfor actions and behaviors that are inconsistent withthe missions and goals of organizations. Teachereducation programs in colleges and universitiesthroughout the United States are undergoing strin-gent reviews from state agencies and accreditingbodies to make sure that their programs are properlyaligned to performance standards established byprofessional societies, accreditation agencies orgovernmental bodies (cf. Association for ChildhoodEducation 20002001; Darling-Hammond, 1999;Edelfelt & Raths, 1998; Galluzzo, 1999; Myers &Crowe, 2000).

    One may wonder whether this new fervor forstrict alignment of objectives, instruction, and

    assessment with standards in order to improveprograms is meritorious or whether it is a fad thatwill pass. It is also hoped that reection upon thisprocess will cause educators to review the meaning ofacademic freedom and press for expanded notions ofassessment that will allow for more ample expressionsof ideas in preparation programs.

    Within this context, we would like to address theuse of an electronic portfolio system for the prepa-ration of candidates in early childhood educationprograms at the initial licensure level. We will makeuse of the program standards for The NationalAssociation for the Education of Young Children(NAEYC: NAEYC, 2001), Association of ChildhoodEducation International (ACEI), since these standardsmay be the most familiar to practitioners in theUnited States and are comparable to standards inother countries with similar school systems. It is byusing these core standards (see Table I) that anelectronic portfolio system can be helpful in aggre-gating data to assist in program approval, and, moreimportantly, program improvement.

    As those who have gone through the accreditingprocess recently know, the rst, and possiblymost daunting task in establishing a program

    1Education, Widener University, One University Place, Chester,

    PA 19013, USA.2Correspondence should be directed to Michael W. Ledoux,

    Education, Widener University, One University Place, Chester,

    PA 19013, USA; e-mail: Mwledoux@mail.widener.edu

    Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, October 2006 ( 2006)DOI: 10.1007/s10643-006-0111-1

    1031082-3301/06/1000-0103/0 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

  • TableI.

    StandardsAlignment

    INTASCStandards

    ACEIStandards

    NAEYCStandards

    NETsCompetencies

    Principle#1:Theteacher

    understandsthe

    centralconcepts,toolsofinquiry,and

    structure

    ofthediscipline(s)heorshetea-

    ches

    andcancreatelearningexperiences

    thatmaketheseaspectsofthesubject

    matter

    meaningfulforstudents

    1.Development,learning,andmotivation.

    Candidatesknow,understand,anduse

    the

    majorconcepts,principles,theories,and

    researchrelatedto

    developmentofchildren

    andyoungadolescentsto

    constructlearn-

    ingopportunitiesthatsupportindividual

    studentsdevelopment,acquisitionof

    knowledge,andmotivation.

    1.PromotingChildDevelopmentand

    Learning.Candidatesuse

    theirunder-

    standingofyoungchildrenscharacteristics

    andneedsandofmultipleinteracting

    inuencesonchildrensdevelopmentand

    learning,to

    createenvironmentsthatare

    healthy,respectful,supportiveandchal-

    lengingforallchildren.

    1.TechnologyOperationsandConcepts.

    Teachersdem

    onstrateasoundunder-

    standingoftechnologyconceptsand

    operations

    Principle#2:Theteacherunderstandshow

    childrenlearn

    anddevelopandcanprovide

    learningopportunitiesthatsupporttheir

    intellectual,socialandpersonaldevelop-

    ment

    2a.Centralconcepts,toolsofinquiry,and

    structuresofcontent.Candidatesknow,

    understand,anduse

    thecentralconcepts,

    toolsofinquiry,andstructuresofcontent

    forstudentsacrosstheK-6

    gradesandcan

    createmeaningfullearningexperiencesthat

    developstudentscompetence

    insubject

    matter

    andskillsforvariousdevelopmen-

    tallevels.

    2.BuildingFamilyandCommunityRela-

    tionships.Candidatesknowabout,under-

    stand,andvaluetheimportance

    and

    complexcharacteristics

    ofchildrens

    familiesandcommunities.They

    use

    this

    understandingto

    createrespectful,

    reciprocalrelationshipsthatsupport

    andem

    power

    familiesin

    theirchildrens

    developmentandlearning.

    2.PlanninganddesigningLearningEnvi-

    ronmentsandExperiences.Teachersplan

    anddesigneectivelearningenvironments

    andexperiencessupported

    bytechnology.

    Principle#3:Theteacherunderstandshow

    studentsdier

    intheirapproaches

    tolearningandcreatesinstructional

    opportunitiesthatare

    adapted

    todiverse

    learners

    2i.Connectionsacross

    thecurriculum.

    Candidatesknow,understand,anduse

    the

    connectionsamongconcepts,procedures,

    andapplicationsfrom

    contentareasto

    motivateelem

    entary

    students,build

    understanding,andencouragetheappli-

    cationofknowledge,skills,tools,andideas

    torealworldissues.

    3.Observing,DocumentingandAssessingto

    SupportYoungChildrenandFamilies.

    Candidatesknowaboutandunderstand

    thegoals,benetsandusesofassessm

    ent.

    They

    knowaboutanduse

    system

    atic

    observation,documentation,andother

    eectiveassessm

    entstrategiesin

    arespon-

    sibleways,inpartnershipwithfamiliesand

    other

    professionals,to

    positivelyinuence

    childrensdevelopmentandlearning.

    3.Teaching,LearningandtheCurriculum.

    Teachersimplementcurriculum

    plans

    thatincludemethodsandstrategiesfor

    applyingtechnologyto

    maximizestudent

    learning.

    Principle#4:Theteacherunderstandsand

    usesavarietyofinstructionalstrategiesto

    encouragestudentsdevelopmentofcritical

    thinking,problem

    solving,andperfor-

    mance

    skills

    3a.Integratingandapplyingknowledgefor

    instruction.Candidatesplanandimple-

    mentinstructionbasedonknowledgeof

    students,learningtheory,subjectmatter,

    curriculargoals,andcommunity.

    4.TeachingandLearning.Candidates

    integratetheirunderstandingofandrela-

    tionship

    withchildrenandfamilies;their

    understandingofdevelopmentallyeective

    approaches

    toteachingandlearning;and

    theirknowledgeofacadem

    icdisciplines,to

    design,implement,andevaluateexperi-

    encesthatpromotepositivedevelopment

    andlearningforallchildren.(Thereare

    subsectionsto

    thisstandard.)

    4.Assessm

    entandEvaluation.Teachers

    applytechnologyto

    facilitateavarietyof

    eectiveassessm

    entandevaluation

    104 Ledoux and McHenry

  • Principle#5:Theteacher

    usesanunder-

    standingofindividualandgroupmotiva-

    tionandbehaviorto

    createalearning

    environmentthatencourages

    positive

    socialinteraction,activeengagem

    entin

    learningandself-m

    otivation

    3b.Adaptationto

    diverse

    students.Candi-

    datesunderstandhowelem

    entary

    students

    dierintheirdevelopmentandapproaches

    tolearning,andcreateinstructional

    opportunitiesthatare

    adapted

    todiverse

    students.

    5.BecomingaProfessional.Candidates

    identify

    andconductthem

    selves

    asmem

    -

    bersoftheearlychildhoodprofession.

    They

    knowanduse

    ethicalguidelines

    and

    other

    professionalstandardsrelatedto

    earlychildhoodpractice.They

    are

    contin-

    uous,collaborativelearnerswhodem

    on-

    strateknowledgeable,reective,and

    criticalperspectives

    ontheirwork,making

    inform

    eddecisionsthatintegrateknowl-

    edgefrom

    avarietyofsources.They

    are

    inform

    edadvocatesforsoundeducational

    practices

    andpolicies.

    5.ProductivityandProfessionalPractice.

    Teachersapplytechnologyto

    enhance

    theirproductivityandprofessional

    practice.

    Principle#6:Theteacher

    usesknowledge

    ofeectiveverbal,nonverbal,andmedia

    communicationtechniques

    tofoster

    active

    inquiry,collaboration,andsupportive

    interactionin

    theclassroom

    3c.Developmentofcriticalthinking,prob-

    lem

    solvingandperform

    ance

    skills.Candi-

    datesunderstandanduse

    avarietyof

    teachingstrategiesthatencourageelem

    en-

    tary

    studentsdevelopmentofcritical

    thinking,problem

    solving,andperfor-

    mance

    skills.

    6.Social,Ethical,LegalandHumanIssues.

    Teachersunderstandthesocial,ethical,

    legalandhumanissuessurroundingtheuse

    oftechnologyin

    PK-12schoolsandapply

    those

    principlesin

    practice.

    Principle#7:Theteacherplansinstruction

    baseduponknowledgeofsubjectmatter,

    students,thecommunity,andcurriculum

    goals.

    3d.Activeengagem

    entin

    learning.Candi-

    datesuse

    theirknowledgeandunder-

    standingofindividualandgroup

    motivationandbehavioramongstudents

    attheK-6levelto

    fosteractiveengagem

    ent

    inlearning,selfmotivation,andpositive

    socialinteractionandto

    createsupportive

    learningenvironments.

    Principle#8:Theteacherunderstandsand

    usesform

    alandinform

    alassessm

    ent

    strategiesto

    evaluateensure

    thecontinu-

    ousintellectual,socialandphysical

    developmentofthelearner.

    3e.Communicationto

    foster

    learning.

    Candidatesuse

    theirknowledgeand

    understandingofeectiveverbal,nonver-

    bal,andmediacommunicationtechniques

    tofoster

    activeinquiry,collaboration,and

    supportiveinteractionin

    theelem

    entary

    classroom.

    Principle#9:Theteacher

    isareective

    practitioner

    whocontinuallyevaluatesthe

    eectsofhis/her

    choices

    andactionson

    others(students,parents,andother

    pro-

    fessionalsin

    thelearningcommunity)and

    whoactivelyseeksoutopportunitiesto

    growprofessionally.

    4.Assessm

    entforinstruction.Candidates

    know,understand,anduse

    form

    aland

    inform

    alassessm

    entstrategiesto

    plan,

    evaluate,andstrengthen

    instructionthat

    willpromotecontinuousintellectual,so-

    cial,em

    otional,andphysicaldevelopment

    ofeach

    elem

    entary

    student.

    Principle#10:Theteacher

    fostersrela-

    tionshipswithschoolcolleagues,parents,

    andagencies

    inthelarger

    communityto

    supportstudentslearningandwell-being.

    5a.Practices

    andbehaviors

    ofdeveloping

    career

    teachers.Candidatesunderstand

    andapplypractices

    andbehaviorsthat

    are

    characteristicofdevelopingcareer

    teachers.

    105Electronic Portfolios

  • TableI.

    Continued

    INTASCStandards

    ACEIStandards

    NAEYCStandards

    NETsCompetencies

    5b.Reectionandevaluation.Candidates

    areawareofandreectontheirpracticein

    lightofresearchonteachingandresources

    availableforprofessionallearning;they

    continuallyevaluatetheeectsoftheir

    professionaldecisionsandactionsonstu-

    dents,parents,andother

    professionalsin

    thelearningcommunityandactivelyseek

    outopportunitiesto

    growprofessionally.

    5c.Collaborationwithfamilies.Candidates

    knowtheimportance

    ofestablishingand

    maintainingapositivecollaborativerela-

    tionship

    withfamiliesto

    promotethe

    intellectual,social,em

    otional,andphysical

    growth

    ofchildren.

    5d.Collaborationwithcolleagues

    andthe

    community.Candidatesfosterrelationships

    withschoolcolleagues

    andagencies

    inthe

    larger

    communityto

    supportstudents

    learningandwell-being.

    2b.English

    languagearts.Candidates

    dem

    onstrateahighlevelofcompetence

    in

    use

    oftheEnglish

    languageartsandthey

    know,understand,anduse

    conceptsfrom

    reading,languageandchilddevelopment,

    toteach

    reading,writing,speaking,view-

    ing,listening,andthinkingskillsandto

    helpstudentssuccessfullyapplytheir

    developingskillsto

    manydierentsitua-

    tions,materials,andideas.

    2c.Science.Candidatesknow,understand,

    anduse

    fundamentalconceptsin

    thesub-

    jectmatter

    ofscienceincludingphysical,

    life,andearthandspacesciencesaswellas

    conceptsinscience

    andtechnology,science

    inpersonalandsocialperspectives,the

    history

    andnature

    ofscience,theunifying

    conceptsofscience,andtheinquirypro-

    cesses

    scientistsuse

    indiscoveryofnew

    knowledgeto

    buildabaseforscienticand

    technologicalliteracy.

    106 Ledoux and McHenry

  • 2d.Mathem

    atics.Candidatesknow,

    understand,anduse

    themajorconcepts,

    procedures,andreasoningprocesses

    of

    mathem

    atics

    thatdenenumber

    system

    s

    andnumber

    sense,geometry,measure-

    ment,statisticsandprobability,andalge-

    bra

    inorder

    tofoster

    student

    understandinganduse

    ofpatterns,quan-

    tities,andspatialrelationshipsthatcan

    representphenomena,solveproblems,

    andmanagedata.

    2e.Socialstudies.Candidatesknow,

    understand,anduse

    themajorconcepts

    andmodes

    ofinquiryfrom

    thesocial

    studiestheintegratedstudyofhistory,

    geography,thesocialsciences,andother

    relatedareasto

    promoteelem

    entary

    stu-

    dentsabilitiesto

    makeinform

    eddecisions

    ascitizensofaculturallydiverse

    dem

    o-

    craticsocietyandinterdependentworld.

    2f.Thearts.Candidatesknow,understand,

    anduseasappropriateto

    theirown

    knowledgeandskillsthecontent,func-

    tions,andachievem

    entsofdance,music,

    theater,andtheseveralvisualarts

    asprimary

    mediaforcommunication,

    inquiry,andinsightamongelem

    entary

    students.

    2g.Healtheducation.Candidatesknow,

    understand,anduse

    themajorconceptsin

    thesubjectmatter

    ofhealtheducationto

    createopportunitiesforstudentdevelop-

    mentandpracticeofskillsthatcontribute

    togoodhealth.

    2h.Physicaleducation.Candidatesknow,

    understand,anduseasappropriateto

    theirownunderstandingandskillshuman

    movem

    entandphysicalactivityascentral

    elem

    entsto

    foster

    active,healthylifestyles

    andenhancedqualityoflifeforelem

    entary

    students.

    107Electronic Portfolios

  • review is to align the various standards for the mul-tiple programs being oered by any institution. Asample of the possibly alignment is oered in Table I.Once this alignment is complete, demonstrating thecongruence of required performances across IN-TASC and Specialized Professional Association(SPA) standards, the faculty engaged in this processmust agree on how to reect these outcomes in theptograms(s) and individual courses. Many faculties inthe US have come to adopt the INTASC Principles asthe driving force describing candidate performance.The INTASC standards then need to be reectedwithin the syllabi of each of the faculty members whoare teaching preparation courses and a matrixdeveloped to show where each of the programmaticoerings intend to present candidates with thelearning opportunities aligned with these Principles.Making the standards matrix in an electronic move-able format will allow faculty to rearrange thestandards to t into the appropriate conguration.Faculty members who develop their own courseobjectives and assessment tasks then need a furthertranslation. A sample of the syllabus and coursetask alignments is oered in Table II. Those whohave gone through this process realize the complexi-ties involved, especially when teacher educatorprograms involve faculty from schools or divisionsother than education. For those who have not yetwrestled with these standards and the alignmentprocess, you are wished the best of success and lots ofpatience.

    HOW TO ASSESS PRESERVICE EARLYCHILDHOOD PRACTITIONERS

    Accrediting agencies and veteran educators atthe higher education level often view assessment indierent ways. External agencies seek measures thatapply to all students who pass through a professionalpreparation program so that similar competenciescan be assessed for all program completers or at anyparticular stage of a program. Our university, repre-sentative of many, has three patterns of programcompletion in early childhood education: typicalundergraduate progression, accelerated adult learnersthrough the University College program, and grad-uate students who are likely to be part-time adults incareer changes. In order to set any assumptions aboutassessment, it becomes necessary to convince (coerce)all instructors, both adjunct and full-time, to agree onat least a few assessment strategies that will result indata that can be aggregated across sections.

    At rst, this may seem a simple and logical step.However, it involves the transformation of culturesamong many faculty. It is felt to be an intrusion intotheir own domain of instruction and assessment. Tofurther complicate matters, a choice must be made inhow to involve adjunct faculty in the decision processfor overall student performance. Again a cultureshift, this meant, for us, that adjuncts were asked todo more than arrive on campus to teach; they wererequired to meet with full-time faculty and be trainedin the goals of the program assessment and portfoliosystem. For those institutions with schools ofeducation who are separated from content areadepartments of liberal arts, this again becomes amatter of cultural intrusion.

    Let us illustrate this with an example. All earlychildhood majors are required to take an introduc-tory course in psychology. The need for such a courseis apparent and relates to INTASC Principle #2,NAEYC Standard #1 (see Table I, column 1 forINTASC principles), and most state requirements.However, this meant that to decide upon a task oroutcome for students from this course across allprogram, we needed to involve full-time faculty fromthe School of Arts & Sciences, adjunct faculty fromthe University College, full-time and part-time fac-ulty from the Center for Education, and theirrespective administrators. These faculty, typically ledby the full-time faculty, then needed to determinewhich tasks or strategies would be common to allsections of all syllabi. This process was then repli-cated for all courses to determine which assessmenttasks would become standard fare for this course.Level(s) of prociency also had to be agreed upongiven the challenges of graduate and undergraduatestudents and the involvement of non-traditional stu-dents in initial certication programs. This discussioncontinued within the formation of rubrics to bediscussed later in this article.

    In the end, two strategies developed among fac-ulty. The rst was to develop a standardized syllabusfor all sections of the same course. This meant thatfaculty relinquished control of their personal assess-ment choices and agreed to conform to a set ofassessment tasks, content, and timelines for studentprogression. The second strategy was that facultyagreed (perhaps conceded) to include three assess-ment strategies that would be common to all sections,but left other strategies as optional or used at thediscretion of the instructor.

    A third strategy was also attempted. This was anattempt to determine that the same objective could be

    108 Ledoux and McHenry

  • TableII.LearningObjectives

    Aligned

    INTASCPrinciples

    LearningObjectives

    Assessm

    entTasks

    Weeklye-activities

    Research

    Paper

    Unit

    Plan

    Technology

    Evaluations

    Final

    Port-folio

    A&P

    12

    34

    5

    Principle#1:Theteacher

    understandsthecentralcon-

    cepts,toolsofinquiry,and

    structure

    ofthediscipline(s)he

    orsheteaches

    andcancreate

    learningexperiencesthatmake

    theseaspectsofthesubject

    mattermeaningfulforstudents.

    1.Candidatesknowand

    understandmajorconceptsand

    modes

    ofinquiryfrom

    the

    socialstudies.(19982002,

    AssociationforChildhood

    EducationInternational.

    Retrieved

    June22,2003from:

    http://www.udel.edu/bateman/

    acei/ncateindex.htm

    ).

    Principle#7:Theteacher

    plans

    instructionbaseduponknowl-

    edgeofsubjectmatter,stu-

    dents,thecommunity,and

    curriculum

    goals.

    2.

    Candidates

    will

    use

    and

    applythesocialstudiescontent

    standardsappropriately.

    Principle#2:Theteacher

    understandshowchildrenlearn

    anddevelopandcanprovide

    learningopportunitiesthat

    supporttheirintellectual,social

    andpersonaldevelopment.

    3.Candidateswilluse

    and

    applythesocialstudiesteach-

    ingstandardsappropriately.

    Principle#4:Theteacher

    understandsandusesavariety

    ofinstructionalstrategiesto

    encouragestudentsdevelop-

    mentofcriticalthinking,prob-

    lem

    solving,andperform

    ance

    skills.

    Principle#5:Theteacher

    uses

    anunderstandingofindividual

    andgroupmotivationand

    behaviorto

    createalearning

    environmentthatencourages

    positivesocialinteraction,ac-

    tiveengagem

    entinlearningand

    self-m

    otivation.

    109Electronic Portfolios

  • TableII.Continued

    INTASCPrinciples

    LearningObjectives

    Assessm

    entTasks

    Weeklye-activities

    Research

    Paper

    Unit

    Plan

    Technology

    Evaluations

    Final

    Port-folio

    A&P

    12

    34

    5

    Principle#8:Theteacher

    understandsandusesform

    al

    andinform

    alassessm

    entstrat-

    egiesto

    evaluateensure

    the

    continuousintellectual,social

    andphysicaldevelopmentof

    thelearner.Principle#9:The

    teacher

    isareectivepracti-

    tioner

    whocontinuallyevalu-

    atestheeectsofhis/her

    choices

    andactionsonothers

    (students,parents,andother

    professionalsin

    thelearning

    community)andwhoactively

    seeksoutopportunitiesto

    grow

    professionally.

    Principle#2:Theteacher

    understandshowchildrenlearn

    anddevelopandcanprovide

    learningopportunitiesthat

    supporttheirintellectual,social

    andpersonaldevelopment.

    4.Candidateswillapplya

    varietyofteaching,learning

    andassessm

    entstrategiesthat

    acknowledgethediversity

    of

    learnersin

    hisorher

    class.

    Principle#4:Theteacher

    understandsandusesavariety

    ofinstructionalstrategiesto

    encouragestudentsdevelop-

    mentofcriticalthinking,prob-

    lem

    solving,andperform

    ance

    skills.

    110 Ledoux and McHenry

  • Principle#5:Theteacher

    uses

    anunderstandingofindividual

    andgroupmotivationand

    behaviorto

    createalearning

    environmentthatencourages

    positivesocialinteraction,ac-

    tiveengagem

    entinlearningand

    self-m

    otivation.

    Principle#8:Theteacher

    understandsandusesform

    al

    andinform

    alassessm

    entstrat-

    egiesto

    evaluateensure

    the

    continuousintellectual,social

    andphysicaldevelopmentof

    thelearner.Principle#9:The

    teacher

    isareectivepracti-

    tioner

    whocontinuallyevalu-

    atestheeectsofhis/her

    choices

    andactionsonothers

    (students,parents,andother

    professionalsin

    thelearning

    community)andwhoactively

    seeksoutopportunitiesto

    grow

    professionally.

    Principle#6:Theteacher

    uses

    knowledgeofeectiveverbal,

    nonverbal,andmediacommu-

    nicationtechniques

    tofoster

    activeinquiry,collaboration,

    andsupportiveinteractionin

    theclassroom

    5.Candidateswillunderstand

    andutilize

    educational

    technologywithin

    theSocial

    Studiescurriculum.

    6.Candidateswilldem

    onstrate

    higher

    order

    cognitiveskillsin

    theirwritten

    andoralcommu-

    nication.

    FinalGrades

    111Electronic Portfolios

  • measured in multiple ways within or among dieringsections of the same course and could be aggregatedfor the same score. Although this strategy preservedmore teacher autonomy, in the end, it was discardedas simply too cumbersome.

    The next issue that faculty had to agree uponwere certain premises to measure student progress.Multiple levels of governance had to be involved toestablish these processes. The rst, a local educationleadership group to determine assessment (appropri-ately named the assessment committee) that receivedtheir charge from the Center for Educations Aca-demic Aairs Committee. The second level was aninterscholastic committee termed the Teacher Edu-cation Council to act as liaison among all academicentities involved with teacher education from theaforementioned schools and units. This body receivedapproval from the University level Academic AairsCommittee and the local levels involved in thecommittee.

    Once satised that student-learning outcomesare properly aligned, accrediting agencies are seekingevidence of student performance. The use of portfo-lios as a means of auditing student performance moreauthentically has been popular for more than a dec-ade (e.g. Danielson, 1996; Zubizarreta, 1994). Mostteacher education programs have required portfoliosof student teachers or students as a graduationrequirement. Once the challenge of alignment of syl-labi and the need to show student performances wasdescribed to the faculty, the Teacher EducationCouncil and the local committees agreed upon the useof a portfolio system for aggregating studentprogress.

    In order to use the portfolios for studentassessment, certain premises must be made as to theway initial training processes with portfolios willoccur, how artifacts will be included or excluded, thetimes of review for artifacts, and who the appro-priate persons are to review the artifacts (cf. Cole &Ryan 1998, p. 12). Along with the adoption of aformal portfolio system for assessment along theprogram, which had previously only been requiredby individual instructors and at the completion ofstudent teaching, we also chose to adopt an elec-tronic system with the belief that it would moreeasily assist us in assessing and aggregating data. Tothat end, the Teacher Education Council formulateda plan for the implementation for the system andsome premises.

    In our process, we determined that the followingpremises:

    1. All teacher candidates in initial certication programs

    will use electronic portfolios;

    2. Teacher candidates will be introduced to the electronic

    portfolio technology during their rst year in the teacher

    education program in a technology for education class.

    This provides the necessary instruction and support for

    the process.

    3. Teacher candidates will use the INTASC Principles

    as performance expectations. Teacher candidates must

    submit artifacts that demonstrate achievement of each

    INTASC Principle.

    4. Teacher candidates will be required to use information

    from their rst Introduction to Education to develop

    artifacts that will represent their achievement.

    5. Teacher candidates will self select their best representa-

    tions as evidence of accomplishment of a particular

    standard or standards.

    5a. The term best will vary according to students

    progression through the program. Teacher candidates

    may receive excellent grades from one or more instruc-

    tors or supervisors, while still being deemed emergent

    in performance level due to their position in the

    program.

    6. Decision points will be established within courses in the

    rst three years of the program so that designated fac-

    ulty will become responsible for portfolio review.

    7. Final prociency will be established by a review of the

    electronic portfolio at the end of the students program.

    The end of program will include PRAXIS exam comple-

    tion and successful student teaching.

    Although most of these premises seem self-explanatory and logical, the sixth premise is of con-cern for teacher candidates and reviewers. Becausestudents in an initial eld placement or course may behighly successful (i.e. earning a letter grade of A) attheir assessment task, they still may not demonstratethe skills and development necessary to be deemedprocient in a particular standard. As a candidateprogresses through the program, the target shifts. Assophomores, candidates are expected to reach theemergent level; as juniors, they are expected to reachprociency; and as seniors, we hope that many willreach the target level. Expectations vary according toraters and the levels are dierent with graduate initialcertication candidates and adult learners in initiallicensure.

    This necessitated the establishment of yet an-other committee to develop rubrics for portfolioassessment at each of the decision points so thatstudents among diering programs and in dierentlevels of courses could be assessed according to cri-teria that could be aggregated independently fromgrade reporting or instructor evaluations. ThePortfolio Rubrics Committee developed extensiverubrics (see Table III) to assess student progress atthe determined decision points. This allowed for

    112 Ledoux and McHenry

  • TableIII.

    ElectronicPortfolioRubrics

    GeneralGuidelines

    forTeacher

    Candidates

    Insucient(1)

    Emergent(2)

    Procient(3)

    Distinguished

    (4)

    Resume

    Containsfewofthecompo-

    nentsrequired.Ispoorly

    written

    andcontains

    technicalerrors.

    Containssomebutnotallof

    thecomponentsrequired.Is

    adequatelywritten

    andcon-

    tainsnotechnicalerrors.

    Containsallofthecomponents

    required.Iswellwritten

    and

    providesagoodoverviewofthe

    candidatesbackgroundand

    experience.Containsno

    technicalerrors.

    Containsallofthecomponents

    required.Isexceptionallywell

    written

    andprovides

    acom-

    prehensiveoverviewofthe

    candidatesbackgroundand

    experience.Containsno

    technicalerrors.

    EducationalPhilosophy

    Philosophydoes

    notfocuson

    anycore

    beliefsaboutteaching

    andlearning.Narrativeis

    poorlywritten.Nonotation/

    linksto

    artifacts.

    Philosophyfocusisoncore

    beliefsaboutteachingand

    learningbutdoes

    notdescribe

    personalexperiencesthatdem

    -

    onstratethesebeliefs.Narrative

    isadequatelywritten.Few

    notation/linksto

    artifacts.

    Philosophyfocusisontwo-four

    core

    beliefsaboutteachingand

    learninganddescribes

    personal

    experiencesthatdem

    onstrate

    thesebeliefs.Narrativeiswell

    written

    butlacksdetail.Nota-

    tion/linksto

    artifactsare

    in-

    cluded

    andare

    consistentwith

    beliefs.

    Philosophyfocusisontwo-four

    core

    beliefsaboutteachingand

    learninganddescribes

    personal

    experiencesthatdem

    onstrate

    thesebeliefs.Narrativeis

    exceptionallywritten.Nota-

    tion/linksto

    artifactsare

    included

    andare

    consistent

    withbeliefs.

    INTASCPrincipleSections

    InterpretationofIN

    TASC

    Principles

    Interpretiveparagraphsare

    poorlywritten,contain

    techni-

    calerrorsanddonotaddress

    themainpointsoftheIN

    TASC

    Principles.

    Interpretiveparagraphsare

    adequatelywritten,contain

    no

    technicalerrorsandaddress

    some,butnotall,ofthemain

    pointsoftheIN

    TASCPrinci-

    ples.

    Interpretiveparagraphsare

    wellwritten,contain

    notech-

    nicalerrorsandaddressall,of

    themainpointsoftheIN

    TASC

    Principles.

    Interpretiveparagraphsare

    exceptionallywritten,contain

    notechnicalerrorsandeec-

    tivelyintegrateallofthemain

    pointsoftheIN

    TASCPrinci-

    ples.

    IdenticationandDescription

    ofArtifacts

    Amajorityofidenticationand

    descriptiveparagraphsare

    poorlywritten

    andfailto

    dem

    -

    onstratersthandknowledgeof

    each

    artifactsrelationship

    to

    thePrinciple.

    Amajorityofidenticationand

    descriptiveparagraphsare

    ade-

    quatelywritten

    anddem

    on-

    stratesomersthand

    knowledgeofeach

    artifacts

    relationship

    tothePrinciple.

    Amajorityofidenticationand

    descriptiveparagraphsare

    well

    written

    anddem

    onstraterst-

    handknowledgeofeach

    arti-

    factsrelationship

    tothe

    Principle.

    Allidenticationanddescrip-

    tiveparagraphsare

    exception-

    allywritten

    andclearly

    dem

    onstratersthandknowl-

    edgeofeach

    artifactsrelation-

    ship

    tothePrinciple.

    RationaleforSelectionof

    Artifacts

    Artifactrationalesare

    poorly

    written

    anddonotdem

    onstrate

    each

    artifactsrelationship

    to

    thePrinciple.

    Artifactrationalesimply,but

    donotexplicitlydem

    onstrate,

    each

    artifactsrelationship

    to

    thePrinciple.

    Artifactrationalesare

    well

    written

    andclearlydem

    onstrate

    each

    artifactsrelationship

    to

    thePrinciple.

    Artifactrationalesare

    excep-

    tionallywritten

    andexplicitly

    dem

    onstrateeach

    artifacts

    relationship

    tothePrinciple.

    Artifacts

    Amajority

    oftheartifactscho-

    senoerlittleornosupportfor

    theIN

    TASCPrinciplechosen.

    Amajority

    oftheartifacts

    chosenoer

    somesupportfor

    theIN

    TASCPrinciplechosen.

    Amajority

    oftheartifacts

    chosenoer

    clearsupportfor

    theIN

    TASCPrinciplechosen.

    Allartifactschosenoer

    com-

    prehensivesupportforthe

    INTASCPrinciplechosen.

    GeneralGuidelines

    Overallportfoliodoesnotmeet

    generalguidelines

    forIN

    TASC

    Portfolio.

    Overallportfoliomeetssomeof

    thegeneralguidelines

    forIN

    -

    TASCPortfolio.

    Overallportfoliomeetsmostof

    thegeneralguidelines

    forIN

    -

    TASCPortfolio.

    Overallportfoliomeetsallthe

    generalguidelines

    forIN

    TASC

    Portfolio.

    113Electronic Portfolios

  • the determination of student progress accordingto the levels of emergent, procient, and target,regardless of the course grade assigned by a profes-sor.

    ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIOS V. HARD COPY

    The most cumbersome requirements of portfolioassessment for faculty are the review of the artifacts,the aggregation of data to show program strengthsand weaknesses, and the transport and storage of thehard-copy portfolios. The use of an electronic port-folio system can aid in this process, due to the uidityof transfer and storage of materials.

    The electronic portfolio system used is a pro-prietary system we adopted was developed by JohnsHopkins University with support from them. It al-lows teacher candidates unlimited storage capacity,the ability to develop multiple portfolios for dierentuses, log in using the same protocols as the regularcampus system, and transfer their portfolios to othermembers of the learning community for review. It isthis last feature that allows for scoring and dataaggregation.

    By establishing decision points the teachingfaculty are able to view a students progress accord-ing to the INTASC Standards and apply them to theNAEYC and ACEI standards accordingly. Havingestablished four decision points (initially at ED 101;at time of application to certication, with approxi-mately 48 credits of coursework completed; afterstudent teaching; and upon exiting the program); thedata collection is able to take place by way of theportfolio review. However, in order to ascertainactual program needs, data aggregation has to occurand two scenarios can take place. The rst is tospecify that, among the particular artifacts chosen,certain artifact constants must be included, such asa social studies unit or lesson plan. The second is toallow the variety of artifacts to remain, but to assessoverall achievement against the standards. We chosethe latter to allow for greater student exibility andreection in understanding of how artifacts fulll therequirements of each standard. It is our hope thatteacher candidates will become more reective intheir learning by this process of self-selection asindicated in portfolio assessment as some researcherssuggest (Campbell, Gidnetti, Melenyzer, Nettle, &Wyman, 2004; Meyer, et al 1996; Niles & Bruneau,1994).

    During the stated decision points, faculty assessportfolios against the INTASC standards for pro-

    ciency. The uid transfer of electronic portfolioswithin the community allows for access by single ormultiple assessors. The establishment of rubrics forportfolio assessment by designated faculty will reducegaps in interrater reliability issues.

    STUDENT USE OF ELECTRONICPORTFOLIOS

    Beyond the exibility, storage, and transfercapabilities of the electronic version of portfolios,electronic portfolios have helped us to imbed tech-nology use in an authentic task aimed at helpingteacher candidates develop a product and set ofperformances that will be connected to career devel-opment. The electronic portfolio requires skills intechnological awareness that are transferable to manyother aspects of professional practice. The ACEIstandards require student prociency in means ofcommunication related to practice. 3.4 Communi-cation to foster learning-Candidates use their knowl-edge and understanding of eective verbal,nonverbal, and media communication techniques tofoster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportiveinteraction in the elementary classroom (NCATE,2000). This standard is aligned with teacher candi-dates performance in the design and maintenance ofthe portfolio as outlined in INTASC Standard 6:The teacher uses knowledge of eective verbal,nonverbal, and media communication techniques tofoster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportiveinteraction in the classroom. (Chief State SchoolOcers Council, 1992). Other standards, such as thestandards for technology achievement may also beused.

    Electronic portfolios, as any portfolio collection,can be nothing more than a storage container if tea-cher candidates are not eectively taught to utilize thecontents to show performances. The design of theelectronic portfolio system, which allows for artifactsto be utilized as evidence to support multiple stan-dards, helps teacher candidates to shape portfoliosfor specic purposes. A teacher candidates can de-velop one portfolio for a teacher in a class, anotherfor his or her supervisor of student teaching, and yetanother for an employer during a job interview. Onceagain, this ability is not limited to electronic portfo-lios, but the transfer of les and repositioning ofitems is far more exible than the cumbersome tasksconnected to hard copy forms.

    Since reective practice is one of the goals ofportfolio development and part of a constructivist

    114 Ledoux and McHenry

  • educational agenda (Meyer, Tusin, & Turner, 1996;Niles & Bruneau, 1994), the electronic portfolio helpsteacher candidates to become reective of their workand the audience they are addressing. Part of thework we are doing with candidates is to help them touse portfolios to substantiate claims of teachingabilities, rather than simply collect works that arehanded to a supervisor or employer (NAEYC Stan-dard 5). Thus, the candidate is educated on ways ofpresentation of ideas using the electronic portfoliosfor diering audiences. As an example of this, stu-dents in a social studies methods class are asked touse their portfolios in two ways: one, to show howthey, as reective learners, have achieved skills nec-essary for the teaching of a concept; and two, toprovide an example of an interview scenario where anemployer will ask about the ability to involve thecommunity or parents in a lesson. The student willmake active use of the portfolio illustrating to theteacher and/or employer a video clip of a lessonwhere parents were brought into a class to do an oralhistory project or grandparents helped develop atimeline.

    Those of us who have gone back into the attic toreview old notes or papers from our undergraduatedays will often laugh at our earlier attempts at aparticular subject or come across a piece of materialthat was especially prophetic or insightful. The elec-tronic portfolio system allows teacher candidates amore immediate review of material on a regular basis.The exibility of data reconguration and the regularreview of materials by faculty under diering cir-cumstances: class assignments, portfolio review,supervisors, or cooperating teachers, is an importantpart of the reective process. Teacher candidates havethe opportunity to review their own materials andassess their own level of prociency.

    The electronic version of portfolios has an addedbenet of being both dynamic and static. Hard copyportfolios require the duplication of material or thetransfer of materials from one-storage container toanother. In order for dynamic student process to beexamined, the physical artifact must be recreated ormoved to a new design. This is obviously facilitatedwith the electronic format. Beyond this, however, theelectronic format allows a candidate to burn a CD atany time within the process to keep a year oneportfolio, year two portfolio, social studies portfolio,etc. without the need to reproduce hard copyartifacts. The result is that one can have a collage ofboth still photos and motion clips of studentprogress.

    LIMITATIONS OF THE ELECTRONICPORTFOLIO FOR TEACHER CANDIDATES

    Technology is always changing. A major concernfor those of us using electronic data storage is therapid revision of systems and processes. It was fewerthan twenty years ago when oppy disks were actu-ally oppy, even fewer years ago when a disc was thenormative storage piece. Concerns about retrieval ofdata in the future are a signicant limitation. Paperstill remains easy to locate and retrieve. For anyonewith an eight-track tape or a beta recorder, infor-mation retrieval in the wake of technologicaladvances should be a concern.

    Cost benet analyses are also a concern for mostinstitutions. As a moderate to small institution, theadoption of an electronic system is expensive.Although some of the costs can be transferred to thelearner, the overall costs of higher education arealready prohibitive to many teacher candidates.Whether the exibility, easy alignment with stan-dards, and communication to reviewers is worth theinvestment will be dependent upon institutionalresources.

    Access to systems beyond graduation is anotherlimitation of the current electronic portfolio systemson the market. Candidates can burn CDs at the endof a program, but they must subscribe to ongoingservices for storage, support and licensing if they areto use the portfolio system continuously. This may bea way for development and alumni oces to maintaincontact with graduates, but the costs are signicant.

    Another illustration of a problem that occurswith electronic portfolios is the acceptance, resistanceor inherent ability of faculty to use electronic media.Anyone with the experience of watching a youngerchild play a video game and an elder relative fumblewith a digital clock has gained anecdotal evidence ofthe digital divide that is not determined by socio-economic factors but generational exposure andfacility with the media. Many faculty, although adeptat the use of technology, still revert to hard copy textfor reading and assessment purposes. For those whohave termed those competent with technology asdigital citizens and those who are not as aliens, manyof our faculty are naturalized citizens in the pro-cess. This has meant, for us, that faculty will continueto download artifacts for review, rather than utilizingthe electronic form and responding without paper.Instead of adding an ease of the process, it is an ad-ded burden among reviewers. It also increases theneed for faculty training in the electronic portfolios

    115Electronic Portfolios

  • system, adding to both the costs and infrastructuresupport (release time, training materials, etc.).

    Finally, there is a philosophic question that goesbeyond the electronic system and more to the ques-tion of standards and accountability in general. Doesthis make for better early childhood educators? Will astudent who is able to document his or her attain-ment of certain levels of prociency throughout aprogram that contains reective practice, truly re-main a lifelong leaner? Will the move towardsaccountability and standards insure a population ofteachers who is more connected with children and thecommunity? Is the coercive nature of standardsantithetical to the basic freedoms that an educatedcitizenry should espouse? Or, is this a coercion thatsimply tracks the best qualities of candidates andhelps us to weed out the cha of the profession?

    REFERENCES

    Association of Childhood Education International (20002001).Global guidelines for early childhood education and care in the21st century. Retrieved May 10, 2005 at: http://www. acei.org/wguides.htm.

    Campbell, D. M., Cignetti, P. B., Melenyzer, B. J., Nettles, D. H.,& Wyman, R. M. (2004). How to develop a professionalportfolio: A manual for teachers. Boston: Pearson.

    Cole, D. J., & Ryan, C. W. (1998). Documentation of teacher eldexperience of professional year interns via electronic portfo-lios. Dallas, TX: Association of Teacher Education. (ERICDocument Reproduction Service No. ED418057) .

    Council of Chief State School Ocers (1992). Model standards forbeginning teachers licensing, assessment and development: Aresource for state dialogue. Retrieved February 8, 2005 atwww.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/corestrd.pdf.

    Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A frameworkfor teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision andCurriculum.

    Darling-Hammond, L. (1999). Reshaping teaching policy, pre-paration, and practice: Inuence of the national board forprofessional training standards. Washington, DC: Associationof Colleges of Teacher Education. (ERIC Document Repro-duction Service No. 432570).

    Edelfelt, R. A., & Rathes, J. D. (1998). A brief history of standardsin teacher education. Reston, VA: Association of TeacherEducators. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.461627).

    Galluzzo, G. (1999). Aligning standards to improve teacherpreparation and practice. Washington, DC: National Associa-tion for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (ERIC Docu-ment Reproduction Service No. ED 438261).

    Meyer, D. K., Tusin, L. F., & Turner, J. C. (1996). PreserviceteachersGu use of portfolios: Process versus performance.New York: American Educational Research Association.(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED396000).

    Meyers, C. B., & Crowe, A. R. (2000). Standards-driven, practice-based assessment of pre-service teacher education: A focus onsubject matter knowledge and competence in social studies.Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the AmericanEducational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April2428, 2000). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.443789).

    National Association for the Education of Young Children (2001).NAEYC standards for early childhood professional preparation:Initial licensure program. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from:www.naeyc.org/faculty/pdf/2001.pdf.

    National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2000).Program standards for elementary teacher preparation.Retrieved February 8, 2005 from: www.acei.org/Synopsis.

    Niles, K., & Bruneau, B. (1994). Portfolio assessment in preserviceCourses: Scaolding learning portfolios. San Diego, CA,National Reading Conference. (ERIC Document Reproduc-tion Service No ED 379616).

    Zubizarreta, J. (1994). Teaching portfolios and the beginningteacher. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(4), 323326.

    116 Ledoux and McHenry

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