ePortfolio Assessment

Assessment, ePortfolios

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ePortfolios offer an opportunity for authentic assessment in work-integrated learning situations that are variable, unpredictable and context specific (Ferns & Comfort, 2014; Ferns & Zegwaard, 2014). However, it also brings challenges, including difficulties to standardize assessment (Ferns & Comfort, 2014), ensuring validity and reliability (Ferns & Zegwaard, 2014) partly due to possible assessor bias (Ferns & Comfort, 2014; White, 2019), and the time required to assess ePortfolios that are relatively large in size (Ferns & Comfort, 2014; White, 2019). 

It is helpful to clarify the purpose of the ePortfolio work, the focus of assessment, and the desired level of student self-directed creativity. Here are some questions for consideration: 

  • Is the ePortfolio mainly used to show a final achievement level (showcase ePortfolio) or is the ePortfolio focusing on student learning (developmental ePortfolio)?
  • Does the ePortfolio allow students to show technological and creative skills or is it merely content driven?
  • Is the ePortfolio only shared with an audience of people involved in the education of the student (instructors, field professionals, peers) or is it shared openly on the internet?
  • Do students create and own the ePortfolio or is the ePortfolio created on a platform managed and kept by the university?
    (See Ferns & Comfort, 2014, p. 274, for tensions in using ePortfolio for student assessment). 

Considerations for Overcoming Challenges of Using ePortfolios for Assessment

Offer Regular Feedback

If an instructor leaves the assessment of an ePortfolio until the end of term, for example, students often wait to complete their ePortfolio at that point, which detracts from the opportunity for students to learn over the term (and thus think more critically and learn more fully).

To support the learning process, feedback (or formative assessment) can be built into the ePortfolio program and should be offered frequently throughout the course. Literature suggest that formative assessment or feedback supports objectives of self-regulated learning (Tur, et al, 2019), helps students improve their work readiness, confidence and motivation to improve their ePortfolio (Alanson & Robles, 2016), and helps improve programs as student needs become visible (Crowell & Calamidas, 2016).

Use a Variety in Assessment

Feedback can be given on the learning process (formative assessment) can be given to work that is in a draft and development stage and evaluation of learning (summative assessment) is given to the best work presented at the later stage of the ePortfolio (White, 2019).

Different forms of assessment can be combined to be a more thorough and effective way to support learning.
It is also possible to include only formative assessment in students’ ePortfolios while also organizing traditional exams or oral presentations as summative assessment at the end of a program. Combining the two forms of assessment offer complimentary learning opportunities for students (Buchholtz, et al, 2018).

    Include Feedback from Workplace Supervisors and Peers

    Feedback from workplace supervisors increases the authenticity of the assessment (Ferns & Zegwaard, 2014), and feedback from peers is often appreciated by student as it includes different perspectives and levels of support (Alanson & Robles, 2016). As formative feedback can be time consuming, allowing feedback from workplace supervisors and peers help to share the task of supporting a student.

    Work with Rubrics

    Student-focused rubrics offer clear guidance regarding learning expectations and levels of achievement, which supports both student and assessor (White, 2019).
    Time should be spent to further develop rubrics that align with the learning outcomes of the course, and assessment should be also developed to connect well with the learning outcomes.   Remember that rubrics are an iterative process that need continual revision and review.

    Sample Rubrics for ePortfolios

    Instructors at UVic have consistently requested for sample rubrics, so these are being offered below, however, it is important to not simply just change some aspects and adopt these rubrics for your course.    We strongly recommend you connect with LTSI or/attend an ePortfolios workshop that will allow you to develop rubrics that best fits the purpose and needs for your course.

    ePortfolio grading rubric 

    Educational Development Centre (2021). ePortfolio grading rubrics. Carlton University.


    Guide for grading student writing

    Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (2018) Grading student writing. University of Victoria.

    https://www.uvic.ca/learningandteaching/assets/docs/instructors/for-review/TA Professional Development and Information/Grading Student Writing.pdf  

    Rubric to assess resumes

    Co-operative Education Program & Career Services. Resume rubric. University of Victoria.


    Rubric to assess cover letters

    Co-operative Education Program & Career Services. Cover letter rubric. University of Victoria.



    Learn more about online assessments and points to consider.

    About this post

    This post was last updated:

    June 24, 2021

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