Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2009, P. 149-154
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The usage of portfolio methods to document professional development in teaching is increasing in Germany, but despite its proliferation, the issue of how the effects of portfolio methods can be determined has received little attention. In this two-part study, the attitudes of both pre-service teachers and teacher educators toward portfolio are investigated and an attempt is made to identify the effects of portfolio on the competences and attitudes of the pre-service teachers.
The first part of the study focused on pre-service teachers who had used the portfolio to document professional progress in their teacher training. This part of the study was designed to investigate two evaluation questions:
(1) What can be said about the general assessment of the portfolio by the pre-service teachers?
(2) How can the effects of the portfolio method on relevant competences and professional attitudes be described?
A total of 144 pre-service teachers (112 females) participated in the study, among them 118 had been assigned to work with portfolio on a regular basis, whereas 26 persons were in a traditional teacher training program without portfolio. This latter group was tentatively used as the control group for the portfolio effects. Out of this sample, 85 individuals indicated that they were in the beginning phase of their training, while 59 were about to graduate.
The pre-service teachers in the sample were organized in groups of about ten who were associated with 15 supervisors and instructors. The participants were between 24 and 50 years old with an average of 28.5 years.
The second part of the study surveyed the 15 supervisors who were in charge of the pre-service teachers and who instructed and assessed the portfolio. The supervisors who worked with the pre-service teachers in our sample were administered a questionnaire that tapped into their opinions on the portfolio. They came from different types of school (primary, secondary) and different in subject background (maths, general education, language arts).
Results suggested that the efficiency of the portfolio method depends both on personal competences and on the framing within the training program.