E-portfolios offer benefits for learners, centres and SQA. They provide an electronic environment where centres can introduce more creative approaches to assessment and where learners can store and organise their learning and assessment evidence, in a range of media formats. For centres, this also means no longer having to print, copy and store paper-based portfolios. For SQA, e-portfolios provide a secure and flexible way to access assessment evidence and internal verification materials.
One of the key benefits of e-portfolios is that they encourage learners to take ownership of their work and to actively participate in the process of assembling their e-portfolios and using these to present their work. Although some candidates may need support in doing this initially, in the longer term it can lead to enhanced learner motivation and more rapid attainment of qualifications.
Another benefit of e-portfolios is that they allow the learner to include (or link to) evidence which spans subject boundaries, or experiences which take place outwith centres. This is important for interdisciplinary projects, and for qualifications where key pieces of evidence may come from employment or placement environments. The ability to add digital photographs, scanned images and video or audio files to e-portfolios can make these experiences even more authentic.
Guidance on using e-portfolios
SQA has published guidance on using e-portfolios. This resource will give you advice about good practice, and highlights some of the things you’ll need to take into account when you’re supporting learners as they create e-portfolios for SQA qualifications.
The guidance also provides examples of e-portfolio forms and templates which could be useful for demonstrating good practice in using e-portfolios for assessment.
There's an SQA e-portfolio, DeskSpace, which is available for Skills for Work qualifications. There has also been some very small-scale piloting of this with Curriculum for Excellence programmes. You can find out about Deskspace and Skills for Work qualifications by using this link.
SQA doesn't provide e-portfolios for its other qualifications because we realise that centres already use a wide range of e-portfolios, VLEs and other electronic tools to deliver SQA awards. In the past we collaborated with Edinburgh University and LTS (now Education Scotland) to pilot one approach, the e-Scape e-portfolio, and we commissioned research to find out about the range of other e-portfolio tools being used in centres.
SQA's intention is, in the longer term, to develop tools and processes which would allow any e-portfolio system or VLE to interact with SQA's systems, to enable the smooth transfer of assessment data between centres and SQA. This will take some time and SQA will work closely with centres and with product suppliers to ensure the systems we develop meet their requirements and also the appropriate security and interoperability standards.
SQA offers an endorsement service for organisations which provide resources to support the delivery of SQA qualifications and awards. This service may also be applied to e-portfolios. The Endorsement team evaluates the e-portfolio against both the endorsement criteria and SQA's requirements for e-portfolios to ensure that it is robust and fit for purpose. You can find out about SQA's Endorsement Service by using this link.
To support e-portfolio providers who are considering applying for SQA endorsement of their products, and also centres which are considering procuring an e-portfolio, we've agreed a set of SQA e-portfolio requirements.
These represent our requirements where e-portfolios are used to support the delivery and assessment of SQA qualifications. SQA External Verifiers will refer to the requirements when accessing evidence within e-portfolios. The criteria are based on those used in E-assessment: Guide to Effective Practice, a publication developed in liaison with the other UK qualifications regulators. If you'd like to submit comments on SQA's e-portfolio requirements please send them to email@example.com.
Our aim is to produce guidance on e-verification for centres and for External Verifiers and to use e-verification in future alongside the more traditional verification approaches. In 2008/09 and 2009/10 we conducted small-scale e-verification pilots. This involved remotely accessing and verifying assessment evidence and other materials held within e-portfolios and other electronic systems, such as VLEs.
The report on this pilot is available by using the following link: Piloting e-verification 2008-10 (30 KB).
We've begun to collate e-portfolio case studies and have published some already. We hope to publish others in due course.
If you think your centre is demonstrating good practice in using an e-portfolio or VLE for assessment of an SQA qualification, and you would be willing to develop a Case Study on this, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dumfries and Galloway College — case study of a centre-developed open source e-portfolio
Glen Urquhart High School — Deskspace e-portfolio case study (Skills for Work)
St George's School, Edinburgh — Deskspace e-portfolio case study (Skills for Work)
St Luke's High School, East Renfrewshire — Deskspace e-portfolio case study (Curriculum for Excellence programmes)
We have commissioned three further e-portfolio Case Studies, adding to those already published:
JHP e-verification Case Study — e-verification of e-portfolios
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