EXTERNAL PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT: WHERE HAS THE REFLECTION GONE?
FaR NEARLY A DECADE, AS A TEACHER, AUTHOR, AND CONsultant, [ have advocated the literacy portfolio as a tool for teaching students how to document and reflect on their histories and growth as readers and writers. A portfolio-keeper myself, [find that [am better able to reflect on my own professional development when [assume responsibility for collecting, organizing, and reflecting on the "artifacts" that testify to my growth as a teacher, writer, reader, and thinker: For my students andfor me, these artifacts can take many multimedia (writing, artwork, photographs, video and audiotapes) and hypermedia forms. What matters most is assembling, revising, and displaying the portfolios together: We create our portfolios to inform and persuade an audience we know by face, by name, and by word. We write for each other:
As a teacher, I have come to rely on my students' literacy portfolios for the purposes of evaluation (both formative and summative), communication (with students, parents, and staff), and curricular reform (Murphy & Smith, 1992). I have discovered, as research suggests, that the literacy portfolios students create allow greater insights into their literate lives (Fu, 1992; Hansen, 1992; Herbert, 1992, Salvio, 1994). Displaying portfolios that document learning across communicative modes (writing, reading, speaking, and listening), across rhetorical contexts (school, home, and play), and across time, students provide the contextual information teachers need to teach well.