A case study of Scottish Agricultural College
The use of ePortfolio for assessment and feedback in SQA graded unit investigations.
First and second year students studying the HNC/D Rural Business Management used an e-portfolio (Pebblepad) to create their Graded Unit investigations.
Many of the students completing the Graded Unit investigations had not undertaken this type of project before and found researching and presenting their work as a report, creating action plans and setting SMART objectives a new challenge.
How the e-portfolio was used
An ‘Action Planning’ tool and structured template for the developing and evaluating stages of the project enabled students to produce two formative e-portfolios and one summative e-portfolio.
Some students opted to use the system to share parts of their investigation with fellow learners to receive peer feedback.
The benefits of using an e-portfolio
Features within the system provided many benefits to students and lecturers
- The final summative e-Portfolio is held in one place which is accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
- Completed templates were automatically published meaning students did not have to ‘submit’ their work which saved time and effort and enabled two - way feedback at all stages.
- The customisable interface allowed students to set up the system according to their individual needs – those with additional support needs were given specific assistance by staff.
- The summative ePortfolio allows for feed forward to the second year Graded Unit investigation.
Lecturer and Student Feedback
“Time is needed to induct students in the use of the e-portfolio software. This can be an initial barrier for some but with good induction and mentor support the students quickly engaged with the e-portfolio tool.”
“Automatic publishing has facilitated timely formative feedback at every stage of the process. Feedback has become a joint process where the student is enabled to comment back to the tutor on the feedback given, to enrich the learning experience. This process allows for critical reflection in the first year.”
Research carried out with students reported a very positive experience of using the e-portfolio.
- 87% found the structured templates useful
- 100% found the auto publish facility useful
- 80% found electronic feedback to be good as a permanent record held in one secure place
- 87% found it useful to have a record of the graded Unit which can be easily accessed for future assignments
- 84% found the action planning tool useful
- 40% fed back electronically when they wanted to make a comment about their work
The students’ response to the e-portfolio has been very positive.
Assessment using the e-portfolio was found to be rewarding, inclusive and engaging as students felt fully involved in the process. It allowed them to develop skills in self assessment and reflection on their learning.