Implementing Portfolios in Teacher Training: Why we use them and why we should use them

Assist.Prof. Dr., Pamukkale University, Art and Science Faculty.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2016.62.7


Problem statement: After the implementation of new curricula in 2005, portfolios have become commonplace in teacher training programs in Turkey. Even though the use of portfolios is quite popular, the studies have shown that portfolios are mostly used to assess student learning outcomes, while the effectiveness of the educators and teacher training programs is usually unnoticed. For this reason, this study will focus on the contributions of portfolio utilization to educators and training programs.

Purpose of Study: This study investigates the use of the portfolios in teacher training programs and analyses the contribution of portfolio utilization to educators, teacher training programs, and students.

Method: An action research design was adopted involving 25 third grade social studies student teachers, who were randomly chosen from a sample of 128 students by selecting every fifth student on the classroom list of a semester-long course (14 weeks) in the 2012-2013 academic years at a state university in Turkey. This is a qualitative research study based on four open-ended questions and semi-structured interviews that were conducted with eight educators.

Findings and Results: The findings indicated that portfolio utilization helps educators make modifications in their traditional roles and encourages them to adopt more student-centred approaches. In addition, portfolios assist in clarifying the program scope and goals and makes learning outcomes transparent. Furthermore, portfolios are a viable, effective, and appropriate tool in documenting student teachers’ learning and professional development.

Conclusions and Recommendations: The results of the research show that educators should take the utilization of portfolio into account not just to increase students’ learning and assessment but also because of its additional benefits to educators and programs through many factors, such as being informed about the qualities and effectiveness of the program and daily lectures, putting the constructivist philosophy of the program into practice, creating a more democratic environment, ensuring one-to-one interaction with the students, providing individualized learning, and using assessment as an integral part of learning and promoting dialogue with colleagues.

Key words: Portfolio assessment, alternative assessment, teacher training, student-centred learning, learning to teach, active learning.