Approaches to Portfolio Assessment of Complex Evidence of Reflection and Reflective Practice

Lyons, N. (2010) Approaches to Portfolio Assessment of Complex Evidence of Reflection and Reflective Practice. In: Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry: Mapping a Way of Knowing for Professional Reflective Inquiry. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 473-488.


Today, a growing number of professionals in various disciplines seriously aspire to teach reflection and reflective practice and to use forms of assessment designed especially to tap into reflective processes at work in actual professional practice. While some researchers and teachers decry even the idea of assessing reflection, others have engaged it with impressive results. One assessment model commonly identified is the reflective portfolio, acknowledged to be one way to assess credibly practitioner performance. While portfolio assessment can be and is used for a variety of purposes and assessment needs, in professional education settings, these are likely to be for high stakes - decisions about licensure for beginning teachers, or about course or program completion in the professional education pro-rams that have significant consequences for doctors, social workers, lawyers, etc. This chapter focuses solely on the reflective portfolio in discussing approaches to performance assessment precisely, because the portfolio has emerged in national and international settings as a signature assessment model across several diverse professions, such as teaching, lawyering, nursing, medicine, etc. Underpinning this discussion is the contrast between the new interpretive conceptualization of assessment and the standard, psychometric, aggregative model. A socio-cultural view of the world of the classroom and of assessment also shapes this work. The chapter is designed to offer an introduction to several critical issues of portfolio assessment and to address a necessary but often neglected task, that is, how to teach reflection, especially how to use a portfolio process as a scaffold for that goal.

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