Analysis of Student Portfolios

"Studying one's own learning process...can be a powerful method of enhancing learning." (Papert, 1993)

Description:

Meta cognition refers to people's abilities to predict their performances on various tasks and to monitor their own levels of understanding. The meta cognitive approach to teaching includes activities that focus on sense-making, self-assessment, and reflection on what worked and what needs improving. ( Bransford, Brown, & Cockling. 2000 ).

Portfolio reflection provides a means to make learning visible. This in turn becomes the bases for deeper learning. The reflection piece requires some meta cognitive work; that is, students thinking about their learning process. When talking about what assessment should look like in a project-oriented classroom or school, Papert contends that portfolio-based, so-called authentic assessment is very good. ( Papert ).

After entering the OMET program in the Fall of 2004 I became more aware of the importance of reflection and metacognition. Although reflection invites introspection, portfolios have an audience and so do the reflections included in them. This dialogue about the learning process can profit students in ways to help them learn more. Hence, students learn how to learn. (Murphy, S. 1998) The importance of thinking about one's own learning is of utmost importance. Bransford (2000) gives the example of a person who reads through a passage once, takes a test, and fails it. The pattern repeats itself unless he/she stops to think about his/her own learning, and that it may take more than a mere one time reading to master the material. Many students of my classes are always very eager to get their graded homework or tests back, and when they do so immediately look at the grade and put the homework or tests into their backpacks. They usually do not take time to see what mistakes they made, and think how they made the mistakes. I asked them if they wanted to complete the tasks just for receiving As or they wanted to learn to have the ownership of the knowledge. They said that they wanted to learn to really understand the materials. In the first semester I asked Chinese IV students to write reflections in their blogs on all major activities, and at the end of the first semester, each student was required to submit a portfolio.

The ePortfolio assignment:

Required selections:

1. Include at least 1Tapped-In transcript that you like to share.

2. Include at least 3 blog entries that you think the most important to you.

3. Include the best work for Quarter 1.

4. Include the best work for Quarter 2.

5. Include a multimedia project.

6. Include other work of student's choice such as the email messages to and from e-pals.

Data Analysis:

Selections from students portfolios: Insights:

The Cover Page of Student A's Portfolio

Chinese IV Project

"You're Invitged...!"

 

范雪丽 ~ 黄兰

 

When students gathered their semester's work, many expressed surprise at how much they had done and learned. I heard comments such as, "Wow, I didn't know I did all of this."

Student B's Description of the Blog

Blog

The purpose of creating a blog for Chinese class was multi-layered. To begin, it allowed us as students to post our Chinese work on the internet where it is readily viewable not only individually, but for classmates and non-related observers as well. By posting our compositions on the internet, classmates could read our work and thus grow deeper in their understanding of the Chinese content learned in class. Students could leave comments on other classmates' blog sites by translating the Chinese into English, pointing out a mistake, or giving a general opinion of the work and the atmosphere of Chinese class. Students received feedback on their blog and then changed any mistakes or awkward sentences pointed out in the comments. By second quarter, blog work was geared toward collaborative learning. Students gave updates on project progress - the ideas they had, what they had accomplished, and where they were headed. Students were also expected to express their feelings about the unique style of learning - what they liked or did not agree with and what should be changed in the future. Through use of the blogs, students created a source of technological communication.

This is one of the students whose description and reflection on blog was selected. Her description of the assignment was detailed and shown an understanding of why blog was important to their learning and how the students built a community of learning through the technology.

Student A's Analysis of Their Collaborative Project

Semester I Journal

12/5
I was very confident in the results of my and Natalie's teaching this past week. I think that the careful planning and preparation for the activities each day were the key to our success. Our goal was to not just present the information to the class, but to engage each student in the in-depth learning and understanding of the material. The class responded well to our interactive games and learning exercises. A popular activity was the "quick takes" that we did to help them learn the new vocabulary. This was a fast paced serious of questions that tested the ability of each student to know the Chinese words without even having to think about it. We also played a flashcards vocabulary game in which the students were asked to match their flashcards with the corresponding cards that we had laid out on the floor. This tested their ability to recognize the Chinese characters, but it also gave them practice in writing the characters as they each made their own set of flashcards. For both sections be introduced the grammar structures by having the student look at a series of sentences that illustrated the grammar points. After having them try to find the sentence patter and meaning, we then looked at the grammar structure as a class. The idea behind this technique was that it allowed the students to try to come up with their own understanding of the grammar, rather than simply trying to memorize a specific sentence structure (A + B +...). I felt that our greatest weakness, was a somewhat tenuous grasp of some of the grammar point we taught. I think it might have been helpful if Natalie and I had met with Jin Laoshi to go over the grammar points before we taught them, rather than simply trying to understand them
from the limited explanation the book provides. I was very happy with Natalie and my ability to teach successfully a lot of information while still having a fun and engaging class.

 

This piece of the blog from her journal analyzed what had gone well in their collaborative learning, and what should be improved for the next time. I see the power of the meta recognition from the statement below.

"I felt that our greatest weakness was a somewhat tenuous grasp of some of the grammar point we taught. I think it might have been helpful if Natalie and I had met with Jin Laoshi to go over the grammar points before we taught them, rather than simply trying to understand them from the limited explanation the book provides."

Student A's Reflection of their Collaborative Project

12/17
All of our projects are now completed!!! Group 1's project was very well done. The movie was entertaining and the game was very creative and fun. I thought that it was very interesting how you could see each of the three of them reflected in a different part of the final project. Each of their individual skills complemented each other very well. Group 2's project was also good. It was kind of a summary of everything we had learned. Again, they used Power Point. I felt like the work seemed a little one sided and that both embers of the group had not done equal amounts of work to do. Although they could have been a little more creative, it
was still well done. They also gave out a little "test." initially my reaction was not very positive, but I thought that it was going to count like a test and I didn't feel like we had learned all of the material completely enough to be tested on it. Once I understood that it was more of a "exercise" I saw it as a great opportunity to see how much I had actually learned. In taking the test, I was surprised by some of the stuff that I did remember. It also showed where there were definitive gaps in my learning-areas that I need to go back and study on my own.

For her self reflection, she saw a test given by her peers as a great opportunity to see how much she had actually learned from this project. In taking the test, she was surprised by some of the stuff that she did remember.

She also saw some definitive gaps in her learning-areas that she needed to go back and study more. This reflection provides a means to make learning visible. This in turn becomes the bases for deeper learning.

Student A's Reflection on the Oral Proficiency Interviews

01/11
Yesterday and today we had the oral proficiency exam. I think that this is an excellent part of our new type of learning. Being able to speak the language is something that is very different than just knowing vocabulary and grammar. It is also a skill that comes only through practice. I would really like to continue working on our speaking because I thought that it was definitely challenging and something that I would like to improve on. I also realized that my method of preparing was not very effective. I attempted to memorize answers for each question, but then when I was speaking if I forgot one of the words or the exact order than I was stuck. Speaking is something that needs to "flow" and therefore I do not think that memorization is a good study technique. I hope we continue to work on speaking-I definitely feel that is one of my weakness and is something that I really would like to improve!

self-assessments is one of the powerful ways of learning. The reflective questions can make students look back to their learning process and see how they have learned and where they should improve.

Looking back to her Oral Proficiency Interview, Student A thinks she would really like to continue working on her speaking because she thought that it was definitely challenging and something that she would like to improve on. She also realized that her method of preparing was not very effective. Speaking is something that needs to 'flow' and therefore she does not think that memorization is a good study technique. She hopes we continue to work on speaking-She feels that is one of her weakness and is something that she really would like to improve.

"Doing all we did in the Chinese class I learned all about my own learning and how to study the best way-of me."

|Back|