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Portfolio originates from the Latin words portare and folium. Portare means to carry and to include and folium means paper. Portfolio is a word often used by artists, models and architecture. The usage of this word has been expanded to schools where it is used as a tool in learning and evaluating.

There are different kinds of portfolios depending on the aims or goals of the portfolio (look at the types of portfolio). A portfolio can be built during a course, module, or even over your entire period study. The basic portfolio types are personal working portfolios and display portfolios.

The aim in portfolio learning is professional development. Besides focusing on a learning strategy to deepen understanding, learning skills such as self-steering and learning strategy are developed. Strengths and weaknesses become clearer through goal-directed working, critical thinking, and self assessment. Assessment involves the student, his/her peers, and teachers.

In the field of education, a portfolio is a collection of all the things the student has been learning. The portfolio is the place for all the evidence, collected in different ways, demonstrating that learning has happened - evidence of new knowledge, evidence of new skills, and evidence of the person evolving into a person ready for a job.