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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
All Fine Arts Content Areas Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Long-term Task Formats and Examples
Product  Performance  Extended Constructed Response
Curriculum Unit  Portfolio Assessment

Planning and Designing a Portfolio Assessment
Other Considerations

Following are other considerations for teachers designing a portfolio assessment.   They are issues related to the scope, authority, and responsibility of maintaining the portfolio, as well as how to evaluate its contents.   Teachers may make modifications in each component to suit their own needs.   Modifications may include the following:

Scope:   The portfolio may:

  • Relate to a given project, e.g.,
    • New ideas based on old masters
    • Influence of pop culture on contemporary music
    • The theatre of politics and the politics of theatre
    • Continuing Balanchine's legacy
  • Relate to a given unit of instruction, e.g.,
    • Creating from observation
    • The influence of folk music on other genres
    • Audience/performer configurations — intent and implications
    • Universal language — the language of dance across cultures
  • Reflect the learning that takes place throughout a course of study

Authority:   The contents and format may be highly prescribed by teachers or allow a range of choice by students.

Responsibility:   Maintaining and monitoring the portfolio may be supervised by teachers or be the responsibility of students to the degree possible based on age, grade level, experience, and ultimate purpose of the portfolio.

As an assessment instrument, an effective portfolio should address specific learning outcomes.   To ensure that the portfolio provides an opportunity to measure what students should know and be able to do at a given grade level, all content must clearly address one or more dimensions of the four VSC content standards (i.e., perceiving and responding; historical, cultural, and social context; creative expression and production; aesthetics and criticism).   Teachers may:

  • Give detailed instructions so that each portfolio entry will align with one or more VSC content standards.
  • Establish a collaborative system where students select their portfolio contents from a menu of options, all clearly aligned with VSC content standards; choices are then reviewed in conference with the teacher.
  • Allow students to make portfolio content decisions independently based on alignment with content standards and instruction.

For all approaches, the portfolio must demonstrate clear and close correspondence between standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Evaluation of the Portfolio:  The portfolio should not simply be a housekeeping tool for storing work in progress or final, graded work.   A meaningful portfolio should tell a story about teaching and learning that cannot be conveyed simply through an array of work samples.   While there is no one right way to evaluate a portfolio, any approach should consider evidence of planning and process, supporting materials, and reflections, as well as completed work samples that support predetermined learning outcomes.

Information about the use of portfolio scoring tools will help in deciding the most suitable way to evaluate the contents of the portfolio based on its intended purpose.

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