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Same Intervention, Different Effect: A Comparison Of The Impact Of Portfolio Creation On Students’ Professional Development

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Approaches to Learning Outcomes Assessment in Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1254.1 - 12.1254.13



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Paper Authors

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Zhiwei Guan University of Washington

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Jennifer Turns University of Washington

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

Same Intervention, Different Effect: A Comparison of the Impact of Portfolio Creation on Students’ Professional Development Paul:…I mean it's one of those things where helped me, or like I wouldn't say I enjoyed [the classroom portion of the course], but I understand it and I understand like why it had to happen, basically, and the portfolio kind of helped me understand that.

Ned:…I can't believe they're going to make us do [the portfolio]. It's a waste of time. I don't want to do it. That's what I first thought. ….it wasn't something I was looking forward to. But actually I would say it was the least -- it was the least wasteful thing of the course, of the entire course.

Danielle:…I think for this particular class it wasn't -- like it didn't really cause me to like learn anything new. But I think -- I think in some other, some harder classes, like it would cause me to go back and review all the things that you didn't understand and try to make them all fit together.


Engineering students need to not only gain the knowledge and skills necessary for engineering practice, but also an understanding of how this knowledge and these skills fit together and support engineering work. It is therefore important for the engineering education community to design curricular materials that help students with these goals.

One such curricular intervention is a professional portfolio. A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that tells the story of the student’s efforts, progress, or achievement in a given area. Portfolio construction aligns well with the properties of an effective learning environment (i.e., it is concurrently learner-centered, knowledge- centered, assessment-centered, community-centered, and context-centered), and thus represents a promising strategy for promoting knowledge integration and professional development. We define a course-specific professional portfolio as a portfolio in which a student makes claims about his/her preparedness for professional practice and supports the claims through artifacts drawn from a single course. We believe that having students create such portfolios represents a promising practice for helping students consolidate their knowledge and reflect on the connection of this knowledge to engineering practice.

In our work, we have been studying the practice of course-specific portfolio construction. To this end, we conducted a study in winter of 2006 in which 35 junior and senior engineering students in a mechanical engineering class (ME 355 Introduction to Manufacturing Processes) were asked to create course-specific professional portfolios. The portfolio had three required components: a statement in the student discussed his/her preparedness, three or more artifacts from the course that supported the claims made in the statement, and annotations for each artifact to explain what the artifact illustrates. Students were instructed that the artifacts for the portfolio might include work created in

Guan, Z., & Turns, J. (2007, June), Same Intervention, Different Effect: A Comparison Of The Impact Of Portfolio Creation On Students’ Professional Development Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2753

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