Portfolio development as alternative assessment

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Portfolios as assessment tools

There is an increased focus in Higher Education on alternative assessment tools in contrast to traditional methods of assessment (Bitzer, 2003; Brown and Glasner, 1999; Knight, 1995).

The aim of this study is to investigate how the development of process portfolios can support the academic, personal and career development of students in a first year foundation course at a Higher Education institution in South Africa.

The module that is under study is a life skills module.

The research question of this study is thus: How do foundation students in the module "University Preparation" experience the development of a portfolio? I made use of generic, qualitative research methods.

A sample of 10 portfolios within the Education Faculty was taken.

They ranged from excellent, to average and unsatisfactory.

To gain in-depth knowledge, there was a series of individual semi-structured interviews with the students who developed the portfolios, focusing on their experience in developing the portfolios.

The findings resulted in various recommendations for the lecturers involved in the module regarding ways of supporting the academic and personal development of students in a foundation course.

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