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Reflection and self-assessment
External assessment

Portfolio assessment consists of self-assessment and external assessment. In addition to teachers, members of peer groups can also server as external assessor. The assessment focuses on the entire work process, not only on its final product. A portfolio can be used to obtain a broader understanding of the person’s know-how than by means of an exam.

The assessment of a portfolio brings out the level of the student's know-how and his/her individual development. On the other hand, the examination and reflection of one’s own actions develop the person’s awareness of his/her own skills, of the learning process, and of strategic plans.

Reflection and self-assessment
Reflection and self-assessment are important aspects of portfolio-based work. The line between reflection and self-assessment is not a distinct one; the two are partly overlapping. Reflection underscores the development of consciousness and thinking. Self-assessment emphasises the assessment of actions in relation to objectives.

Reflection is a process whereby the learner actively examines and thinks about his/her experiences and builds new knowledge or new viewpoints in relation to his/her previous knowledge. Reflection is concentrating on the critical examination of one’s own feelings, attitudes, thoughts, and actions. It is a case of one’s internal consciousness changing and development and building up one’s own vocational thinking.

Self-assessment is a result of reflection. Self-assessment is impossible without the examination of one’s own actions and thinking. Self-assessment is assessment of one’s own actions in relation to the begin level and the objectives. Self-assessment is involved throughout portfolio work. When a student compiles his/her display portfolio, he/she has to assess and select works from the basic portfolio. The student learnsa lot about his/her learning process also through self-assessment.

Assessment of the contents of the portfolio and of one’s own actions needs to be attached to the portfolio. Examples of the topics of self-assessment to be performed at the end of the work include the following:

  • Commitment to the work
  • Results achieved in relation to the objectives
  • Assessment of one’s own learning and development in relation to the begin level
  • Finding one’s own strengths and development areas
  • One’s own working methods and action modes (being methodical, timetable, effectiveness in working).
When doing self-assessment, the following are examples of questions that can be used:

  • What do I believe I have learned? How can I benefit from what I have learned?
  • What did I like the most? What was easiest of all in the work? What was most important?
  • What problems came up in the course of the work? How did I resolve them? If I were to start again, what would I do differently?
  • What did I learn from others? How did cooperation with others proceed? What did I learn about the group’s other members?
  • How did I put effort into the tasks and into the various stages of the work?
  • How would I describe myself as a learner? What did I learn about myself (about how I work, etc.)?
  • What tasks and approaches suit me best and why? What should I change in the way I work? What tasks and approaches suit me best in future?
  • Why have I chosen these very works for inclusion in my display portfolio? Which of them are the best in my own opinion? What is best about them? How could they be further improved?
  • What do you hope that your works tell about your know-how and about you personally?
  • What do I want to learn next?
External assessment
Teacher: In addition to the student, the teacher participates in assessment. Assessment is based on the objectives set for portfolio work and on the available resources. Assessment relies on three pillars: contents, process, and output. Portfolios are assessed on a scale of 1 - 5 or applying the principle Pass – Fail/To be supplemented. Oral feedback can also can be used alongside assessment or as its alternative.

Peer group: A peer group can also be used in assessment. The student can gather feedback on his portfolio from other students or from acquaintances. Using the feedback he/she can then develop his/her own working. Peer assessment can include asking for feedback, e.g.

  1. Regarding the general impression
  2. Regarding the strengths
  3. Regarding development areas.
Peer assessment can also be used in final assessment.