Use of portfolios in assessing competency in applied learning of multimedia

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With a view to be integrated into the new senior secondary curriculum from 2009/10 school year, Applied Learning (formerly known as Career-oriented Studies) courses have been piloting for senior secondary students in Hong Kong since 2003. The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of the implementation of portfolio assessment as an authentic assessment method in an applied learning of multimedia course. Specifically, the study had to answer questions of what is the improvement of the students' achievement, what are the changes in learning attitude and satisfaction of the participants, how can portfolios provide evidence of the students' competency, and what are the needs of professional development of teachers using portfolio assessment in applied learning. To evaluate the impact of portfolio implementation, the study collected data from both students and teachers to answer the research questions concerning students and teachers respectively. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were utilized for the study and relevant research on competence, portfolio and authentic assessment provided the primary theoretical context. Despite the finding that the introduction of portfolio assessment as one of the assessment methods did not significantly improve the students' achievement, the main contribution of this study is that it was evident that completing a portfolio benefit applied learning students and their portfolio compilation process can lead to an enhancement in student motivation towards learning. The results of the study also provided support that portfolios can be a form of authentic assessment for applied learning. The study found that portfolios can improve teacher understanding of competency and its assessment which led to a more professional approach by the teachers involved. Finally, the results suggested that teacher professional development should have a significant impact on the portfolio implementation. In order for this form of assessment to be effective, teachers must be trained in the various aspects of the approach. This study contributed to the literature of new senior secondary education, specifically the development of applied learning courses. To the extent that this study helped identify perceptions of the portfolio assessment by students and teachers, this study also contributed to the teaching and learning using portfolios. It is hoped that the encouraging findings of this study would shed light on the multifaceted benefits of portfolio assessment and would provide sound justifications for its integration into the applied learning curriculums.
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