Performance and Portfolio Assessment

Topic: Education Theories
Words: 606 Pages: 2

Difference between Performance and Portfolio Assessment

Performance and portfolio assessment are two approaches used by teachers to evaluate the progress of students. The techniques differ significantly, ranging in their application to outcomes (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). The performance assessment approach requires the learners to demonstrate what they know and can do by completing open-ended tasks. Students are supposed to apply what they learned in actual situations. Tasks given to the students are based on particular subjects. Instructors decide what the questions, based on what they have covered in class, to use in administering performance assessments (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). On the other hand, portfolio assessment involves gathering information regarding the way students can reason and think, applying data in resolving problems, effectively communicating their ideas, and providing information on their growth (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). Unlike in performance assessment, students keep a portfolio of their work that teachers use in the evaluation. Learners are involved in decisions made in the assessment such as the identification of areas that they may require help from teachers.

Characteristics of Performance Assessment

Performance assessment is a time-bound, open-ended, process or product-oriented, complex, and realistic. Teachers administering the assessment give the students a specific time limit to which the learners must have completed provided tasks. Tasks and questions use in performance assessment are open-ended to allow students to apply what know and have learned in different ways in real-life situations (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). This feature allows the teachers to evaluate diversified ways in which the learners can apply what they know. The assessment focuses on real-life situations, a process that students can use to apply their knowledge, and the end product. The complexity of the tasks used in the assessment evaluates the students’ understanding and creativity in resolving problems.

Characteristics of Portfolio Assessment

Portfolio assessment is purposeful, organized, and systematic, used pre-established guidelines, engages students, and has clear as well as specified scoring standards. Instructors clearly define the purpose of the assessment and expected learning outcomes. The assessment involves a systematic and structured collection of learners’ products (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). Teachers provide students with guidelines on what will be included in the evaluation. Students are actively involved in the process of electing some of the works to be included in the assessment. Equally, play a significant role through self-evaluation and self-reflection. Teachers use a clear and specified score guide to document particular products and evaluations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Performance Assessment

Performances assessment is associated with advantages such as facilitation of complex and higher-order learning targets and utilization of multiple assessment criteria. Additionally, the technique promotes active learning engagement among the students while being assessed. Students have to focus and dedicate their time to the assessment to ensure that they apply their knowledge as expected (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). However, the performance assessment technique is linked with various limitations, including ineffectiveness in evaluating knowledge learning outcomes, weak reliability, and inadequate sampling of learning targets.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Portfolio Assessment

Portfolio assessment actively involves students in self-reflection and self-evaluation. This assessment technique gives students an invariable opportunity to reflect and evaluate their work. Portfolios show an actual sample of learners’ work and compare the latter in different areas and progress over time. It involves collaborative assessment by facilitating students’ participation in the teaching-learning evaluation (Waugh & Gronlund, 2009). This assessment method does not focus on comparing students with others but emphasizes self-improvement. Moreover, it is a flexible ongoing process that allows students to revise and produce quality work. Nevertheless, it is associated with disadvantages such as scoring difficulties, time-consuming, and possible weak generalization due to sampling of student products.


Waugh, C., & Gronlund, N. (2009). Assessment of student achievement (9th ed.). Pearson Education.

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