Volume 31(3) Fall / automne 2005
An Electronic Portfolio to Support Learning1
Philip C. Abrami
Anne Wade, is Manager and Information Specialist at the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance/Education, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Correspondence concerning this article can be sent to Anne Wade, Concordia University, LB 581. 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1M8. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip C. Abrami, PhD is a Professor, Director and Research Chair at the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec.
Jennifer Sclater, is an ICT Cosultant at the Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec. Abstract
Abstract: In this paper, we provide a description of a CSLP research project that looked at portfolio use within a middle school, the web-based e-portfolio software we have developed within the context of the Quebec educational system, our plans for further development of the tool, and our research plans related to the use of portfolios to support learning. Our aim is to combine research evidence on portfolio use with practical feedback from the field in an attempt to develop easy-to-use, powerful software designed to support active self-regulated student learning in schools. Résumé: L’article contient une description d’un projet de recherche du CEAP qui examine l’utilisation de portfolios au sein d’une école secondaire, le logiciel de portfolios électroniques axé sur le Web que nous avons développé au sein du système d’éducation du Québec, nos plans visant le perfectionnement de l’outil et nos plans en matière de recherche visant l’utilisation de portfolios pour appuyer l’apprentissage. Notre objectif est de conjuguer les résultats de la recherche sur l’utilisation de portfolios avec la rétroaction pratique des utilisateurs afin de tenter de développer des logiciels puissants et faciles à utiliser pour appuyer l’apprentissage auto-réglementé et actif des étudiants dans les écoles. Educational Goals of Portfolios
A portfolio may be defined as a purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of a student’s effort, progress and/or achievement in one or more areas (Arter & Spandel, 1992; MacIsaac & Jackson, 1994). The Quebec Education Programme (QEP) (Ministère de l’Education du Québec, 2001) is based on the principles of socio-constructivism including a belief in the value of portfolios and requires teachers and students to develop a proficiency with them. Consequently, the use of portfolios has been mandated within the elementary Language Arts curriculum and is encouraged in other core subject areas. The QEP lists the following as possible advantages of portfolios, they: involve students in their learning (as a tool for reflection); allow students to increase their ability to self-evaluate; teach students to make choices; encourage students to better understand themselves and focus on their strengths; allow students to reflect on their procedures, strategies, and accomplishments so that they can improve and correct them and ultimately succeed; promote feedback during the learning process, particularly during individual conferences; encourage students to reflect on their strengths, needs, errors, interests, challenges, and objectives; encourage interactive processes among students, teachers, and parents; shows student progress because it tracks performance over time; and they are used to assess competencies developed by students. Portfolios can be linked to the following cross-curricular competencies within the QEP (2001): Intellectual Competencies. Encourages students to “use information, to solve a problem, to exercise critical judgment and to use creativity.” (p.13) Methodological Competencies. Encourages students to...