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Assessment of achievement through portfolios and teacher-made tests

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The present study attempted to establish whether portfolio assessment contributes to English as a foreign language (EFL) learners' achievement and their feeling of responsibility towards monitoring their progress. A further concern of this study was to address the probable correlation between the scores of portfolio assessment and those of teacher-made tests. The subjects were 60 Iranian 16-year-old female high-school sophomores. The instruments utilized were a Nelson English Language Proficiency Test, portfolio assessment, a teacher-made achievement test and a satisfaction questionnaire. The assessment of achievement was through both teacher-made tests and portfolios for the experimental group,while it was through teacher-made tests only for the control group. Procedures were designed for preparing portfolios and a number of relevant goals were set. On the basis of these goals, grading checklists were drawn up, to be used by the raters. The portfolio contents included core and optional items, as well as written and recorded tasks, selected by the students to display their bestwork. Reflective comments on aspects of learning demonstrated by each piece of work were attached. At the end of the experiment, a teacher-made test with reasonable psychometric indexes was administered to both groups. The participants were also asked to fill in the satisfaction questionnaire to show their attitudes towards their learning experiences. The findings indicate that portfolio assessment, which was received positively by the subjects, contributed to Iranian EFL learners' achievement and their feelings of responsibility towards monitoring their progress. The portfolio assessment scores correlated significantlywith those of the teacher-made achievement test, and high inter-rater reliability was also achieved. Therefore it is concluded that portfolio assessment, as a promising testing and teaching tool for teachers in EFL classes, can be used in conjunction with teacher-made tests to provide the continuous, ongoing measurement of students' growth needed for formative evaluation and for planning instructional programmes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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