August 20, 2002
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
MASTERS PROGRAM IN
HIGHER, ADULT, AND LIFELONG EDUCATION
Portfolio Assessment as
The Comprehensive Examination Procedure
A portfolio assessment process replaces the previous examination procedure used as the
certifying exam for master’s students in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education (HALE). The
portfolio is the current certifying exam process for HALE master’s students.
Beginning fall semester of 2001, all students are required to use the portfolio process as their
certifying exam process. Previously admitted students will be given the option of selecting the
portfolio or the master’s comprehensive exam process. Students who, as of fall, 2001 have
completed 15 or more credits of their program, are expected to participate in the traditional
examination. The portfolio process involves ongoing development and documentation of one's
progress throughout the program. Therefore, students who are at least 50% through their
program would have difficulty constructing a portfolio of this nature.
Beginning fall semester of 2002 students will be required to do electronic portfolios. Additional
time and content will be provided during the HALE orientation for helping students develop their
own web page and constructing electronic portfolios. In addition, those who do not attend the
orientation will be provided another opportunity to be oriented to the electronic portfolio system.
Development and maintenance of a successful student portfolio requires careful thought, time,
and effort. HALE faculty members are encouraged to advise their students regarding the amount
of time and work this process requires.
The following guidelines will assist the student in the development and maintenance of the
portfolio. The HALE faculty will specify the structure of the portfolio, as well as its review
process; however, the individual student will have control over the items placed into the
The learner must gain and maintain power over the assessment process and the faculty must
purposely lose it. The nature of the meetings both for the initial review and for the defense
should change the nature of the meetings between faculty and student. The assessment
becomes a negotiation process.
The nature of the assessment is based on the learner choosing the products that should be
assessed by the faculty. The learner chooses his/her work examples, however, his/or her
chosen work may have not received the highest grade from another faculty member. The
portfolio assessment will focus on a student’s reason for selecting the product.
Faculty must find an effective balance between providing clear expectations and allowing
personal freedom for the learners, without presenting conflicting messages.
The commonplace of curriculum. Faculty must find ways for students of diverse abilities,
cultures, and ways of knowing to express learning, much of which is not confinable to a
Structure of the portfolio
Evolving table of contents of the categories of items
Personal statement of the student’s goals aims and interests for study in the HALE Masters
Program. This statement outlines what students hope to accomplish during their degree
program, describes their current skill level in their major interest area and includes a
statement about their current writing ability.
Featured work for each semester
Work for which the student worked the hardest
A work of which the student was most proud
The work the student felt best represents his/her learning about Higher Education
Evidence of growth and accomplishment with the core competencies of the HALE MA
Papers, course assignments, or work-related projects that reflect the learning that occurred in
Learning in internships, assistantships or professional work.
Reflections on readings completed for courses that depict evolving thought about topics and
issues of diversity inherent in them.
A more formal, course-based review that focuses on the work completed within each review
period at the end of each semester. Student review the work completed as it relates to their
goals for the degree. They should include thoughts on their growth and development during
Papers presented at conferences, proposals submitted or funded
Extra-curricular activities that reflect on the students’ goals for study
Related volunteer work, skills, and hobbies
Review and assessment of the portfolio
Advisor review of the portfolio. After completion of 9-12 credits, the student will submit the
portfolio to the advisor.
The student will select special pieces of work to submit to the advisor. The advisor may
respond with questions such as:
Why did you select this particular piece?
What do you see as the special strengths of this paper (or work)?
What have you learned about writing from your work on this piece?
What was especially important when you were writing this piece?
What direction do you see for growth or improvement?
Student Assessment of Learning: After completion of 20- 22 credits, the student should have
begun to critically analyze his/her work and should begin to compare current and previous work.
At this point the student should be asking questions such as:
What do I notice when I look at my earlier work?
How has my thinking or writing changed?
At what points did I discover something new about my writing or thinking?
Answers to the above questions can also be included in the reflection paper?
Final Reflective Assessment: The student will provide a final review of his or her learning
journey in an analytic and reflective manner focusing on such questions as:
What has the program taught me about myself?
How have the courses I have taken related to my goals?
What were the key themes which emerged across the curriculum?
What was the most important thing I read and why?
How will my journey continue?
Presentation and review of final portfolio: Final portfolios will be reviewed by the HALE
Portfolio Review Committee. This committee will consist of the student's advisor plus two other
HALE faculty members. These faculty members will rotate each year among the HALE faculty.
The student will meet with the HALE Portfolio Review Committee for an oral presentation and
discussion of the portfolio. The student will highlight his or her best work for the portfolio
defense. The faculty will evaluate both the presentation of the portfolio and the contents of the
portfolio and issue a grade of Pass or No Pass.
If the Review Committee judges the student's work to be unacceptable (No Pass), in order to
graduate the student must re-submit a revised portfolio for review within the semester which
follows the semester at which the first final portfolio review was attempted.
A. Use of electronic portfolios
The student needs to understand how to both develop and maintain a website to keep
information on the portfolio current.
The faculty committee will determine whether they will permit submission of a sole
electronic portfolio or if they will also require a paper document.
The student should upload documents into the portfolio after each course and other learning
The AFS space of each student should be sufficient for storage of the documents unless the
student is developing large hyper studio or presentation programs or documents. If students
need additional space, they should contact their advisor.
B. Traditional Comprehensive Examination Format and Procedures
Students, who, as of fall, 2001, have completed 15 or more credits of their program, are expected
to participate in the traditional examination. The comprehensive examination may be taken
when the adviser and student agree the student is ready but must be taken during a semester
when the student is enrolled. The advisor develops the exam with assistance from other faculty
as appropriate. The exam is a two-hour, closed book exam, in which time students must answer
two of four questions. The areas of each question have been made in consultation with the
student and a review of his or program. Typically, the areas have reflected organizational theory
and issues, teaching and learning, adult development, and administration. These categories
reflect the majority of the previous programs but not necessarily all of them. Questions also may
reflect what elective courses may have been taken. The exam should be written and developed in
such a way that the student must choose one question from areas 1 and 2, and another questions
from areas 3 and 4. This will insure that the students do not pre-select two areas in which to
prepare for the exam.