Rethinking Portfolio-Based Assessment in Writing Courses

An Investigation of Students´ Perspective

  • Şakire Erbay Çetinkaya Karadeniz Technical University
Keywords: portfolio, assessment, alternative assessment, writing, ELT


Compared to standard assessment, alternative assessment as a performance-based attempt to evaluate students’ performance has been regarded to have considerable relevance for English Language Teaching (ELT, hereafter), yet all scholars have not received it with equanimity due to its limitations regarding the need to design authentic tasks, time requirements, field-tested practices, to list but a few. These limitations necessitate more academic attempts to investigate the issue deeper, and of central relevance to this issue is the analysis of students’ perspectives as one of the most important education parties. Thus, the main rationale underlying the current study is to draw a holistic picture of portfolio-based writing assessment the current study was designed to investigate the perspectives of 50 prep class students enrolled in English Language and Literature Department of Karadeniz Technical University during spring semester in the 2016-2017 academic year with a mixed-method research design. A 19-item- questionnaire was followed by an in-depth individual interviews conducted with 5 participants. Results reveal that although most of the participants welcome alternative assessment in their writing classes, this application is not without blemish, as is detailed in through the text.


Download data is not yet available.


Birgin, O., & Baki, A. (2007). The use of portfolio to assess students’ perfomance. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 4(2), 75-90.
Jessie S. Barrot (2016) Using Facebook-based e-portfolio in ESL writing classrooms: Impact and challenges. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 29(3), 286-301, Doi: 10.1080/07908318.2016.1143481
Brown, H. D. (2004). Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices. Longman: United States of America.
Brown, J. D., & Hudson, T. (1998). The alternatives in language assessment. TESOL Quarterly, 32(4), 653-675.
Caner, M. (2010). Students’ views on using portfolio assessment in EFL writing courses. Anadolu University Journal of Social Sciences, 10(1), 223-236.
Chastain, K. (1988). Developing second language skills: Theory and practice. United States of America: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, Inch.
Chung, S. (2012). Portfolio assessment in ESL academic writing: Examining the effects of reflection in the writing process. Unpublished Master dissertation. University of Illinois, USA.
Coombe, C., Folse, K., & Hubley, N. (2007). A practical guide to assessing english language learners. USA: The University of Michigan Press.
Cumming, A. (2006). Teaching writing: Orienting activities to students’ goals. In E. Uso-Juan & A. Martinez-Flor (Eds.), Current trends in the development and teaching of the four language skills (pp. 473-491). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Çakır, C. (2013). Standard assessment and alternative assessment in English language teaching program. GEFAD / GUJGEF 33(3), 531-548.
Dikli, S. (2003). Assessment at a distance: Traditional vs. alternative assessments. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – TOJET, 2 (3), 13-19.
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dörnyei, Z., & Taguchi, T. (2010). Questionnaires in second language research: Construction, administration, and processing (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Eckes, T., Müller-Karabil, A., & Zimmermann, S. (2016). Assessing writing. In D. Tsagari & J. Banarjee (Eds.), Handbook of second language assessment (pp. 147-164). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Elango, S., Jutti, R.C., & Lee, L. K. (2005). Portfolio as a learning tool: Students’ perspective. Annals Academy of Medicine, 34(8), 511-514.
Erice, D., & Ertaş, A. (2011). The impact of e-portfolio on foreign language writing skills. Ankara University Journal of Faculty of Educational Sciences, 44 (2), 73-94.
Eskici, M. (2015). University students´opinions on application of portfolio in higher education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, 2946-2955.
Fahim, M., & Jalili, S. (2013). The impact of writing portfolio assessment on developing editing ability of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4 (3), 496-503.
Hinkel, E. (2004). Teaching academic ESL writing: Practical techniques in vocabulary and grammar. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.
Hyland, K. (2003). Second language writing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univeristy Process.
Kumar, R. (1996). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. London: Sage Publications.
Lam, R. (2016). Assessment as learning: examining a cycle of teaching, learning, and assessment of writing in the portfolio-based classroom. Studies in Higher Education, 41(11), 1900-1917. Doi: 10.1080/03075079.2014.999317
Lirola, M., & Rubio, F. (2009). Students’ beliefs about portfolio evaluation and its influence on their learning outcomes to develop EFL in a Spanish context. International Journal of English Studies, 9(1), 91- 111.
Mayring, P. (2011). Nitel sosyal araştırmaya giriş: Nitel düşünce için bir rehber (çevirmenler Adnan Gümüş ve M. Sezai Durgun). Ankara: BilgeSu Yayınclılk.
McDonough, J., & McDonough, S. (1997). Research methods for English language teachers. London: Hodder Arnold.
Muijs, D. (2004). Doing quantitative research in education with SPSS. London: Sage Publications.
Nunan, D. (1999). Second language teaching and learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Ok, S. (2012). Opinions of ELT students in freshman class on using portfolio as an assessment tool. Pamukkale Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 32, 1-11.
Özer, O., & Tanrıseven, I. (2016). The effect of portfolio-based writing assessment on the development of writing skills of EFL students. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 8 (3), 35-45.
Öztürk, H., & Çeçen, S. (2007). The effects of portfolio keeping on writing anxiety of EFL students. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 3(2), 218-236.
Saad, M., & Noor, M. (2007). Malaysian university students’ perceptions on the use of portfolio as an assessment tool in an ESL writing classroom. Masalah Pendidikan, 30(2), 49-64.
How to Cite
Erbay Çetinkaya, Şakire. (2017, December 30). Rethinking Portfolio-Based Assessment in Writing Courses. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 5(9), 41-56. Retrieved from