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ASU to host outcome assessment conference Feb. 8-9

January 19, 2007

The ABCs of Student Learning and e-Portfolios

MESA, Ariz. — Many post-secondary institutions are moving toward setting up their own assessment systems, and ASU is not far behind. At the Polytechnic campus the university is looking at implementing electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) to assess outcomes for student learning.

“Across the country and around the world, at learning institutions of all kinds, students are creating e-portfolios — portfolios for personal planning, learning communities, general education, the academic major, advising, graduation and even job seeking,” says Douglas Eder, director of University Evaluation.

In 2006 the ASU Polytechnic Faculty Assembly adopted a set of eight core values that every Polytechnic student should have upon graduation.

“A key component in operationally implementing the core values will be a campus-wide e-portfolio system, which is currently under development,” says Duane Roen, ASU professor of English and the head of the Humanities and Arts unit at the Polytechnic campus.  “Many faculty members are already using some kind of portfolio system, whether paper or electronic based, in their teaching.”  

An e-portfolio is similar in concept to a portfolio used by engineers, designers, writers or artists to show samples of their work. E-portfolios are maintained throughout a student’s academic experience. When students graduate, they have a compilation of their work saved in one spot electronically, demonstrating their achievement of the core expectations of the institution.

“Scholarly work from many sources, including that of ASU's own participation in the NSF-sponsored Foundation Coalition, shows that professors who have astutely assessed student learning induced better student performance, and substantially higher persistence and retention rates in every ethnic group studied and both genders,” says Eder. “Moreover, by engaging students to assume responsibility for their own learning, professors produce better results while saving themselves time and energy.

“That is, assessment techniques helped professors teach smarter, not harder.  When students demonstrate what they have — and have not — learned in portfolios, faculty can adjust curricula and pedagogy to enhance student learning,” says Eder.

To help faculty at Arizona State University and student affairs professionals from throughout Arizona better understand learning outcomes assessment, a two-day conference is planned for February 8 and 9, at the Polytechnic campus in the Student Union's Cooley Ballrooms, and will look at the ABCs of e-portfolios and student learning. Some of the topics to be covered include discussions about what an e-portfolio is, different models and features, reflective learning and learning objectives to name a few.  

On Thursday, Feb. 8, the focus will be on the Polytechnic campus.  On Friday, Feb. 9, the focus will broaden to all campuses of ASU and Arizona NASPA is hosting the conference for student affairs professionals from throughout the state.

The Office of University Evaluation, University Testing Services, the Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence, e-Learning at the Polytechnic, Academic Affairs at the Polytechnic campus, and Arizona NASPA Student Affairs Educators in Higher Education, are sponsoring the conference.

The featured presenter for the conference is Kathleen Blake Yancey, Kellogg W. Hunt Professor of English and director of the graduate program in rhetoric and composition at Florida State University. In addition to co-founding and co-editing the journal Assessing Writing, she has authored, edited, or co-edited nine books as well as more than 60 articles and book chapters. Her latest volume, “Delivering College Composition: The Fifth Canon,” was released in the spring 2006. Yancey and colleagues examine the role of delivery in shaping college composition-in site, in space, through faculty, and with digital technologies.

Yancey is on the Steering Committee of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, and she is the lead researcher for “The Portraits of Composition” study of writing. With Barbara Cambridge and Darren Cambridge, she leads the Inter/National Coalition on Electronic Portfolio Research (I/NCEPR). This coalition is now in its fourth year and includes more than 30 institutional partners from around the world; a collection of essays and research findings based on the coalition’s work is currently in development.  ASU at the Polytechnic campus is a member of the third cohort of I/NCEPR.

For those interested in attending the free conference, which is open to all faculty, student affairs and academic professionals, you must register. To register visit For information or questions, contact (480) 727-1878 or

Registration deadline is Feb. 5.