Portfolio Development and the Assessment of Prior Learning
Perspectives, Models and Practices
Edition: 2

Paper: 978 1 57922 090 7 / $33.50
Published: September 2004  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 089 1 / $75.00
Published: September 2004  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
304 pp., 6" x 9"
For over thirty years, portfolios have been used to help adult learners gain recognition for their prior learning and take greater control of their educational experiences. The portfolio has become a distinctive means of assessing such learning, serving as a meaningful alternative to conventional papers and standardized testing.

Portfolio Development and the Assessment of Prior Learning: Perspectives, Models, and Practices provides a primer of flexible approaches to shaping and conducting portfolio-development courses. It offers practitioners in the field an extensive range of model assignments, readings, and classroom activities, each organized around a specific theme: Academic Orientation, The Meaning of Education, Personal Exploration, Learning from the Outsider Within, The World of Work and Careers, and Dimensions of Expertise. Twelve case studies by practitioners in the field then show how academics in the US and around the English-speaking world have adapted the portfolio to changing circumstances in order to deliver academically rich educational services for adults. These case studies highlight portfolio development in the context of web-based instruction, changing institutional imperatives, service to historically disenfranchised groups, partnerships with industry, and cross-institutional cooperation.

In addition to serving as a valuable hands-on resource for practitioners, Portfolio Development and the Assessment of Prior Learning locates portfolios and assessment in a broad social and intellectual context. Thus, the authors also offer an historical overview of the usefulness of portfolios in the assessment of prior learning and then consider their use in the future, given current trends in higher education for adults. The book explores the implications of a changing educational landscape, in which new student populations, budgetary pressures, and understandings of knowledge both enrich and challenge student-centered approaches such as portfolios.

The approaches and case studies are not only valuable to adult educators but, equally, to faculty in higher education concerned with the development of competency- and outcomes-based assessment.

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction; 2. Approaches to Portfolio Development; 3. Resources for Portfolio Development; 4. Case Studies in Portfolio Development; 5. The Offspring of Doing: Performance Assessment at Alverno College by James Roth, Georgine Loacker, Bernardin Deutsch, Suzann Gardner, and Barbara Nevers; 6. All of Who We Are: Foundations of Learning at the School for New Learning, DePaul University, by Marixsa Alicea, Deborah Holton, and Derise Tolliver; 7. Love Talk: Educational Planning at Empire State College by Lee Herman; 8. I Am a Writer: Writing from Life at the Evergreen State College by Kate Crowe; 9. The Wholeness of Life: A Native North American Approach to Portfolio Development at First Nations Technical Institute by Diane Hill; 10. Cracking the Code: The Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning at London Metropolitan University by Helen Peters, Helen Pokorny and Linda Johnson; 11. Building on the Past, Moving toward the Future: Prior Learning Assessment in a Changing Institution at Metropolitan State University by Susan T. Rydell; 12. Learning from our Experience: Portfolio Development at Sinclair Community College by Carolyn M. Mann; 13. Delineations on the Web: Computer-Mediated Portfolio Development at the University of Maryland-University College by Theresa A. Hoffmann; 14. Corporatising Knowledge: Work-Based Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney, by Nicky Solomon and Julie Gustavs; 15. After Apartheid: The Recognition of Prior Learning at the College of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, Ruksana Osman; 16. The Components of Learning: Statewide Assessment of Prior Learning at The Vermont State Colleges by Judith Fitch; Notes on Contributors.

Reviews & Endorsements:
“Michelson and Mandell introduce the portfolio method of assessing prior learning with a brief history and then a summary of approaches. Part 2 may be the most useful to readers of this journal. In it, the authors offer twenty-two practical activities to orient students to self-reflection, academic writing, and distinguishing between their common life knowledge and the learning that can translate into college credits. This volume is recommended to guide planners who want to initiate or revise a process of assessment of incoming students through portfolio.”
- Teaching Theology & Religion
"In the current edition, Michelson and Mandell broaden their treatment of the use of portfolios in order to bring readers up to date on the 'moving target' that is today's prior learning assessment (PLA)…Readers are likely to find the twelve models of portfolio development in practice to be the most useful part of the book…taken in toto, the twelve models described in this section provide ample evidence that--even as the practice of PLA is being recast in light of tightening budgets, new student populations, redefined institutional goals, and changing relationships between working and schooling--the philosophical underpinnings have remained constant. In every case, the reader finds evidence of the values inherent in PLA as teachers and students use portfolios to mediate the ways in which individual lives and learning are affected by gender, race, class, politics, and economics."
- The National Teaching and Learning Forum