Assessment is messy.
We try to make school and learning clean by attaching numbers, grades, and levels to evidence of learning. But what do we lose when we take the messiness out of assessment?
I think we lose quite a bit. Maybe it's the visible enthusiasm of the student presenting the final project, or the curiosity in the students voice when they pose an important question to research. This information can be just as important as any quantitative assessment results.
Let's embrace this messiness and capture students fully as learners with digital portfolios. The ability to use video, audio, images, and text can make evidence of learning come alive. The opportunities for content creation with the possibilities afforded with today's technology is hard to pass up. Digital portfolios can reframe assessment as a way to see the whole child and not just as a number.
Assessment is messy and complex. Instead of trying to simplify this important process to teaching and learning, what if we accepted and even honored all the ways students are smart? Digital portfolios, these online collections of artifacts that represent student achievement and growth, can be the answer.