I posted a question about technology infused lessons and assessment to listservs that I subscribe to and these are two responses I received. -Patti

Dear Patti,

When I taught a class that was based on telecommunications in California I thought about the same question you asked - how to assess and how to grade. What I came up with was a "form" of sorts that I put in the student's physical portfolio.

It was separated into areas and students had to DEMONSTRATE and EXPLAIN each area before it was checked off. (I had 2 older students who helped me assess)

Under Email section were areas like:
Can access email function on a computer
Can create and delete folders
Proofreads mail before sending
Knows and understands Internet addresses

There were lots....there was an area called

and many more....

Some I assessed with a worksheet question/answer type deal (they had to fill in the blanks - some were demonstrated competency - some were marked off for participation. I used the District's guideline for learning skills and objectives to build my base and created my own curriculum goals and objectives for Computer Literacy.

If a student got everything marked off, I gave them a signed certificate that stated exactly what computer skills/experiences they had or achieved that they could take with them when they went to apply for jobs or show a future teacher what computer skills they DID have so they wouldn't have to repeat learning old skills.

Grades were based on effort and participation - Full participation and effort =3/A Middle of the Road participation and effort =2/B The last was 1/C... there were divisions within those that accounted for absences and being disruptive....etc. But, it worked fairly well and the kids (most of them) were very motivated to get that certificate.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
Take care, Joyce

For Patti and interested Parties:

I found a great rubric for evaluating web pages that students have developed or pages that students might use. The author developed a rubric for elementary, middle, and high school settings. You can find them all at


I found these to be very useful. I gave the students a copy before they started developing their sites, and I used them to evaluate the sites once completed. The final product is the 1998 edition of the "Civil Rights Movement: A Black History Celebration."

Hope this helps.

George Cassutto
Teacher of Social Studies
North Hagerstown High School (MD)

Mahenaz: Hi Team,

Student portfolios on the web are a distant dream for us in Pakistan. Student portfolios as an assessment tool are a distant dream at this point. Teachers have not moved from the formal traditional examination system. Parents too don't understand what is going on if their kids don't have exams.

I'd like to share what Winston Churchill said about school exams. Some of you may be familiar with it...

The subjects which were dearest to examiners were almost invariably those I fancied least. I would have liked to have been examined in History, Poetry, and writing essays. The examiners, on the other hand, were partial to Latin and Mathematics. And their will prevailed. Moreover, the questions which they asked on both these subjects were almost invariably those to which I was unable to suggest a satisfactory answer. I should have liked to be asked to say what I knew. They always tried to ask what I did not know. When I would have willingly displayed my knowledge, they sought to expose my ignorance.
From: My Early Life, Winston Churchill.

I wonder how many of us have felt this way??

Carla asked what was happening in other parts of the world re. portfolios. We are trying to introduce an assessment portfolio that shows growth through the early years, as part of a range of assessment tools, in the 20 schools we aare working with in one of our projects. I think this is going to be difficult for the average teacher. It may sound strange to you, but teachers in our govt. schools don't keep records of any observations, children's work only tests and exams. Thats it. :-(

Only a tiny percentage of elite schools in Karachi might be the exception that maintain portfolios in their Nursery or KG classes.

The high school electronic portfolio for college interviews? Does this work? are universities viewing applicants' portfolios on the web?? I agree with Carla. It could be a very powerful way of students demonstarting their skills and competence. It would save loads of paper too...environment friendly:-)

I am a fighter as far as exams and tests are concerned, especially in the early years. we have to find different ways of assessing children's understanding, skills..this reminds me of a joke: there was this little boy who said to his father who was reading his report card

" you'll notice my grades reflect the shocking incapacity of the school system".

Thats it for now ;-) Sorry, I could not contribute to the debate about electronic portfolios, it just isn't a reality for us, but I do enjoy reading about it!

Take care All.
Khuda Hafiz, mahenaz

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Patricia A. Weeg