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Portfolios and standardized tests are two types of ways teachers can assess their students. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both assessments. Right now, whether teachers agree with standardized tests or not, all teachers have to give them to their students. Portfolios on the other hand, are not required in a classroom, because it is not a required assessment for all teachers to use.

Portfolios are folders that hold students works in any or all subjects that teachers choose to use them for. They hold all different types of work a student creates. It has A work to work that needs more improvement on inside the folders. The students choose what goes in their portfolio, not the teacher. Standardized tests are tests administered to each student at the same time. They have a time limit to them and their test scores are based on the norm.

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Much of school-based assessment does actually prevent students from becoming thoughtful respondents to, and to be able to judge their own work. Portfolios help students learn to assess their own progress as learners, and teachers gain new views of their accomplishments in teaching. They also give students responsibility for taking the lead in evaluating their own work, enlarging the view of what is learned, a place for process and a developmental point of view.

Some important things that matter when dealing with portfolios is a student’s performance on the kind of skills that appear on tests, that first-draft work is good enough and achievement matters to the exclusion of development. There are centrally two aims that teachers have for student portfolios. The first is to design ways of evaluating student learning that, will be essentially providing information to teachers and school systems, it will also model personal responsibility in questioning and reflecting on one’s own work. The second is to find ways of capturing growth over time so that students can become informed and thoughtful assessors of their own histories as learners.

What teachers have students do is at the end of the school year, is let the student go back inside their portfolio and reflect on their own work. The students return to their portfolios or collections of work, and see what has changed from the beginning of the school year or what still remains to be done or worked on. This gives students a responsibility, because they are responsible for evaluating their own work.

Authentic or performance assessments do provide opportunities for students and teachers to learn, often together, about the standards of good work with respect to more valued outcomes. Each student is often incorporated in as an active agent in the evaluative process, not as an object to be evaluated. The portfolio activity is a process of production, perception, selection, and reflection that is exercised by each student over his or her collections of school work. Portfolios even provide a school district with a level of achievement.
Portfolios are profoundly important to children. All children have a natural ability and desire to tell a story through the contents of the portfolio. Student portfolios tell a story. The real contents of a portfolio are the child’s thoughts and his or her reasons for selecting a particular entry. That selection process reflects the interests and the metacognitive maturity of a child and the inspiration and influence offered by the teachers. Portfolios serve as a metaphor for our continued belief in the idea that children can play a major role in the assessment scene of their own learning.

Using an authentic assessment tool could provide a more realistic picture of each student’s individual subject achievement and progress by demonstrating growth and development over a period of time, involving students in assessing their own growth and reflecting many aspects of students area of knowledge and understanding. Portfolios provide teachers with information about students’ progress, thought processes, achievements and needs. They should accommodate teachers’ and students’ individual needs, while allowing students to take an active role in assessing their work and encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning. Students should begin to set goals for themselves and check their progress toward reaching these goals. This will help promote self-esteem. Students and teachers can fill portfolios with individual journals entries on any subject area, explanations of problem-solving activities, individual interpretations, results of group projects or any other items that students may feel are important and demonstrate the student’s abilities. Physical knowledge is gained by observing and manipulating objects. Portfolio development redirects student learning in mathematics from computation and application towards problem-solving and reasoning, which every student should have built into their classroom curriculum. They also demonstrate the value of problem solving, communication and confidence to preservice teachers and to allow these teachers to gain insights about their own students’ perceptions of their teaching.

Assessment in education has clearly become more of a problem in today’s society. Every state reports above average scores on norm referenced achievement tests and everyone agrees that these kind of tests should not drive instruction but their number and influence should nevertheless increase. Assessments are responsive to individual students and to school contexts. Evaluation is most accurate and equitable when it deals with human judgement and dialogue, so that the student that is being tested can ask for clarification of questions and explain his or her answers. An authentic test does not only reveal a student’s achievement to the examiner, but also reveals to the test-taker the actual challenges and standards of the field. Using authentic standards and tasks to judge intellectual ability is very labor-intensive and time-consuming.An authentic test enables teachers to watch a learner pose, tackle, and solve slightly ambiguous problems. To design an authentic test, we must first decide what are the actual performances that we want students to be good at or improve on. Most criterion referenced tests are in adequate because the problems are contrived, and the cues are artificial. All tests should involve students in the actual challenges they will face, standards, and habits needed for success in the academic disciplines or in the workplace.

Standardized tests are systematically compared with the performance of other similar students. There are some negative aspects to standardized achievement tests. They begin with not being able to promote student learning, poor predictors of individual student performance, mismatched with the content emphasized in a school’s curriculum and classrooms, are racially, culturally, and socially biased, measure only limited and superficial student knowledge and behaviors. Also, standardized tests might lead some teachers to “teach to the test” rather then to teach material that would address broader educational goals for their students. They do have the potential for racial or gender bias and this could make standardized tests an unfair indicator of a student’s competence.
Standardized tests are well suited for assessing students’ recall of factual knowledge and their ability to solve problems that have unambiguous “right” answers. When used to test this type of knowledge and skill, they produce reliable, consistent scores. These tests are efficiently economical to develop, administer and score, and easy to standardize and norm. Developmental reading professors need to use standardized tests to determine students’ reading, thinking, examination, and note taking skills so they can meet their student’s needs for materials and instruction.

Schools need to help prepare their students for standardized tests that would maintain the integrity of the school’s curriculum and its methods of learning. A way to do this, is to have students interact in workshops to help them take standardized tests. When children do take part in these workshops, they have gained more confidence and skills, and their test scores have improved significantly. But these workshops might not work the same way for all children. Children are told that these standardized tests are not important. But these tests are important and can affect a child’s life. It can negatively affect students’ motivation and does little to help children understand how to cope with feelings of fear and incompetence. These test scores are often used to make decisions or judgements about students. Achievement test scores may determine placement for a child in a subject-area tracks and in remedial and enrichment classes. They could also determine whether a child should go on to the next grade level or be retained. Sometimes scores can be affected by a child’s ethic, gender and economic background. For instance, if a child has lived in the city his or her whole life and has never seen any other place, then he or she would not be able necessary to answer a question about the suburbs, if he or she has never seen what a suburb even looks like. That is why sometimes standardized tests could be considered an invalid achievement test. Teachers are held accountable for and schools are judged on how the students do on these standardized tests. It reflects back on them.

An objective to standardized tests is to create a controlled environment so that differences in performance can be attributed to differences in the behavior being tested. Standardized test are often poorly constructed, leaving the possibility that differences in performance are due to problematic test items rather than to differences in a student’s ability. Also, standardized tests do not use a rubric like other assessment tools do. Rubrics appear more realistic than a standardized test score because they remove the illusion that social and intellectual traits can be measured with extreme precision, because they are easier to understand. It seems that some of the reasons standardized test can be so unreliable is because of examiner errors, over interpretation and failure to include certain age groups of students. Standardized tests are norm referenced and designed to measure a limited range of skills and talents across large populations.

When doing this research paper, I noticed that there was not a lot of information on standardized testing in a positive way of assessing students. During the five weeks of class discussions, I seemed to get the same interpretation from my peers. It does not seem to be the best affective way for teachers to assess their students any more. There are so many new assessment tools out there today, that teachers do not need their students to take these standardized tests any more. They can receive the same information about their students by using these new methods and they can assess what the teachers want them to assess. For instance, the student portfolios is one of the new popular assessment tools teachers are now using in their classroom to assess their students on the way they want to.They do not have to administer, score and they will not be an unreliable or invalid way of assessing students. Plus, there is no culturally, social, gender, economic bias when using student portfolios.

I am not a classroom teacher yet, so I have not personally used portfolios or administered any standardized tests except for the one we did in class. So I can not say whether one way is better than the other from experience. But I can give my opinion based on what I have learned in class and research. It seems that standardized tests are unreliable and hard to understand on how to read the test scores and they do not really show a teacher what a child can do or does know. I did talk to some teachers on the elementary level about standardized tests and portfolios to get their opinion. All the teachers I talked do not like administering standardized tests to their students. They do not understand why they have to give them because it does not show a student’s true knowledge and ability of what they can do. I did ask them if they use any types of student portfolios in their classroom. It seems that the most popular type of portfolio to have in your classroom is a writing portfolio. The teachers say you and the student can learn so much from each other with portfolios. After reading all the research material, I received on portfolios, I think I would like to use portfolios for almost every subject that I would be teaching. Because the teacher can learn how a child is doing in every subject while using these portfolios, plus the students can evaluate themselves on how well they are doing in every subject by looking through their portfolios month to month. I think eventually standardized test will not be a big stressor to school districts, teachers and students. Soon, other assessment tools will take the place of them and students will not be judged as a norm but as an individual.

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