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Teachers' Perceptions of Rating an Early Literacy Portfolio

Jones, Jacqueline; Chittenden, Edward A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
Report of the ETS Center for Performance Assessment
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Literacy, Developmental Test Scales, Student Learning, Alternative Assessment


This paper examines teacher responses to the use of a developmental scale for rating portfolio records. The scale was a component of an Early Literacy Portfolio that was designed by the South Brunswick, NJ school district to meet both instructional and administrative accountability needs. Drawing on the results from interviews with 63 kindergarten, first-, and second-grade teachers, the paper describes 1) teacher perceptions of the benefits and limitations of the scale and 2) teacher evaluations of portfolio scale meetings in which they rated each other's portfolios. These data indicate that the scale and rating process neither compete with nor replace the teachers' observations and reliance on portfolio documents as the primary form of evidence about student learning. In addition, teachers reported that the portfolio scale meetings were occasions for building consensus around the use of the portfolio and the scale. Factors contributing to the success of the portfolio's rating scale included the nature of the district's instructional program, the developmental nature of the scale, and several types of ongoing district support.

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