Green Squiggly Lines:

Self Assessment, Reflection, and a Wider Audience

Student self-assessment also occupies an important place in electronic portfolio evaluations. For instance, at Kalamazoo College, the electronic portfolio system asks students to write a "Foundations Essay" that can be used "as a reference point as you make plans for international study, decide on a major, choose among internship opportunities, and chart your educational path." In addition, students write "Senior Reflections," where they "look back on this essay" [i.e., the foundations essay] in order "to analyze and synthesize what [they] will have done" (The Kalamazoo College Portfolio). The life-cycle reports, cover letters, foundations essays, and senior reflections serve the same purpose they would in a print version of the portfolio-they offer the student a chance to reflect on his or her development as a writer and they provide the reader-grader with access to those reflections.

The Kalamazoo College Portfolio was designed to give students, faculty, and administrators a sense of a student's development over time. As graduation requirements, the K-portfolios perform particular institutional functions within Kalamazoo College. They monitor but also encourage student learning; they act as "gate-keepers" for graduation but unlike exit exams, K-portfolios show a series of authentic student performances.