Development and Implementation of Student Portfolios in Foreign Language Programs

Conclusions and Recommendations

A critical analysis of the contents of portfolios indicated several important conclusions when portfolios were used as part of an assessment procedure for documenting language development in foreign language programs from kindergarten through 12th grade. First, it was possible to document growth in a foreign language in one academic year in most portfolios when appropriate items were placed in the portfolio throughout the school year. Second, a portfolio was most useful as an alternative method of assessment when a teacher had a plan that took into account purpose and audience. Third, the contents of a portfolio differed by the grade level of the student (e.g., third grade) and by the level of difficulty (e.g., third year high school Japanese) of instruction in foreign language. Finally, an objective measure of oral proficiency in a foreign language should be part of the student portfolio. The Stanford FLOSEM was developed and used for this purpose.

A set of guidelines for implementing portfolios in foreign language classrooms was compiled and offered to our participating teachers. Teachers reported that these guidelines were very useful. The guidelines that follow are intended to enhance the usability of portfolios by students, parents, and language teachers. How the guidelines offered below are implemented will depend on the grade and/or level of foreign language instruction. The guidelines are as follows:


1 This project was funded by the California Department of Education to evaluate Model Projects in Less Commonly Taught Foreign Languages in California Public Schools. We thank Dr. Duarte Silva, Executive Director, California Foreign Language Project, Stanford University, for his assistance.


Purposes of the Portfolio
Audiences of the Portfolio
Implications of "Audience/Purpose" Combinations
Analysis and Results
Conclusions and Recommendations

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