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Authentic Assessment Using Student Portfolios

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessment & Quality Assuranc in Engr Ed

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.256.1 - 8.256.15



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Paper Authors

author page

Charles Feldhaus

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1360

Authentic Assessment Using Student Portfolios Charles Feldhaus, Ed.D. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis


Clearly, all levels of education are moving towards a standards based form of assessment of student learning. At the K-12 level, State Departments of Education are leading the way by creating specific standards and using norm and criterion referenced standardized tests to ensure that minimum standards are met. At the university level, accrediting bodies, including the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), have revised the criteria for accrediting programs. The new approach shifts emphasis away from what is being taught to what is being learned and is less proscriptive of required coursework [1]. Learning outcomes are now based on what students should know and be able to do in order to prove they are competent in both university and professional standards. But many questions remain regarding the best way to assess standards based student learning and aligning the numerous standards set forth by university, professional and regional accrediting bodies.

In many professions, including some associated with the fields of engineering and technology, portfolio is a familiar term. Portfolios have constituted the primary method of evaluation in fields such as art, architecture, modeling, photography and journalism for many years. In education, a portfolio can be defined as a purposeful, systematic process of collecting and evaluating student products to document progress toward the attainment of learning targets or show evidence that a learning target has been achieved [2, 3].

Published examples of student portfolios for assessment of engineering and technology education outcomes are sparse. Some institutions use portfolios to measure how overall curricular objectives are being met, but not as a learning tool for individual students. Colorado School of Mines began collecting and assessing student portfolios in the late 1980’s as a response to a state mandate for educational outcomes assessment, and this process has been adapted to assessment of ABET outcomes [4]. Since fall 1998, students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology have been asked to maintain electronic portfolios that document their progress toward achieving ABET outcomes related educational goals [5]. More recently, a study conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute attempted to determine if student portfolios could be simultaneously useful for program outcomes assessment, helpful for student learning and logistically feasible [6].

With the advent of standards based assessment of student learning, many universities are developing their own principles of undergraduate learning in an effort to ensure that

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Feldhaus, C. (2003, June), Authentic Assessment Using Student Portfolios Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12394

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