Re: grades

Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 21:10:44 -0700

On Tue, 27 Aug 1996, Dave Lewis wrote:

> How's the experiment with portfolios for admission to UMich working out?
The U of Arizona is developing a portfolio system for placing students in
various levels of first-year comp. The result has been that in the high
schools that participate, the change in methods of assessment at the
college-level have had a big impact on the curricula in the high
schools. The portfolio, for example, asks for a sample of writing from a
class other than English, and so many of the high schools have finally
begun to implement some forms of WAC.
Another benefit: the portfolio asks for other kinds of writing in
addition to the literary analysis paper, and so English curricula shifts
to include other kinds of writing instruction. Also: high school teachers
and college teachers get together to place the portfolios--another way
for a lot of cross-institutional interaction.
The problem--as may be expected--is that the portfolio placement
system is about 5 times as expensive as the current placement system (a
timed 30-minute written exam). As far as placement goes, I think (though
I'm not sure and perhaps some of the U of Az lurkers can confirm this),
the portfolios and essay-tests are equally good at getting students in
the right classes. BUT, the portfolio system has the benefit of
influencing high school writing curricula, WAC, and offering students a
"real" reason to work on revision, etc. to cmpose their portfolios.