A Brief History
Why did Portfolios Come into Existence?
The 1970’s and 1980’s saw a shift toward focus on direct measures of writing. This meant looking at actual samples of students writing for assessment and evaluation. The Portfolio was introduced as a means to respond to these growing needs.
The first use of Portfolios
Pat Belanoff and Peter Elbow first introduced portfolio assessment at Stony Brook University of New York in 1983. They implemented the use of the portfolios in place of a writing exit exam. In her article Portfolios and Literacy: Why? Belanoff explains:
Our initial portfolio use at Stony Brook grew from the need to meet objection raised by timed, self-contained assessment of writing, recognition that process pedagogy is undermined by such testing and a growing awareness of the contextuality of all language use. (16)
Their portfolio system was a pure experimentation that took off. Today portfolios are used in a wide range of places for multiple reasons.