Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Using Portfolios to Enhance Critical Thinking in Post-Secondary Education

Assoc Prof Jackie Sieppert.

The use of portfolios as a vehicle for stimulating learning has grown tremendously in recent years, across all disciplines and levels of education. Portfolios are seen as a way to stimulate critical thinking among students, to connect academic curricula and real-world experience, and to make student assessment richer. They also offer a way for teachers to enhance evaluation of their own teaching and the overall curricula being delivered to students. Despite the apparent benefits of portfolios, however, many with post-secondary education have ignored them. Some argue that portfolio assignments can only work well in small graduate-level seminars, or that they have no role outside of education or humanities disciplines. This paper discusses the introduction of portfolios into traditional, lecture and exam-based courses, using examples drawn from two undergraduate university courses in organizational management and program evaluation. Strategies and challenges for shifting toward use of portfolios will be outlined, and the relative benefits and drawbacks for both student and instructor will be highlighted. Finally, the paper will summarize conclusions that can be drawn about how to best integrate portfolios into university courses that traditionally use more restricted methods of teaching and student assessment.


Assoc Prof Jackie Sieppert  (Canada)

Faculty of Social Work
University of Calgary

  • Portfolios
  • Critical Thinking

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)