EFL Instruction and Assessment with Portfolios: A Case Study in Taiwan

| March 28, 2006
Title
EFL Instruction and Assessment with Portfolios: A Case Study in Taiwan

Keywords: Portfolios, EFL Instruction and Assessment, Alternative Assessment

Authors
Yuh-Mei Chen
National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan

Bio Data
Professor Chen has a Ph.D from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She works as an Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-yi, Taiwan. Her research interests are writing instruction, English testing and assessment, and professional development.

Abstract
As the reform movements continue to sweep across the educational landscape in Taiwan, educators and practitioners are exploring and attempting new and innovative practices in the classroom. Of all non-traditional approaches to instruction and assessment, portfolio use seems to show the greatest promise in enhancing diverse dimensions of learning and developing multiple intelligences as well as promoting learner autonomy. This study aimed to investigate and evaluate the implementation of a portfolio system at secondary English classrooms in Taiwan and to discuss emerging problems and approaches hereto. Participants included two classes of seventh graders and their English teachers. Significantly, the study found that students favored the portfolio system, considering the learning tasks conducive to their learning, and portfolios to be good tools to examine their learning process and improve their learning methods. Teachers’ observations also confirmed that students benefited from the portfolio system in terms of the development of English use and confidence, learning ownership, versatile talents, and critical thinking. Implementation barriers mainly resulted from the traditional testing culture. Strategies of professional collaboration and curriculum modification were made to address identified problems. Given that the traditional notion of assessment holds sway, widespread use of portfolio assessment is out of the question for Taiwan. Findings of this study recommend that portfolios be better used as pedagogical tools.

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See pages 69-96

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 8 Issue 1