Nuts and Bolts of Portfolios

The e-Portfolio as a Connective Instrument For Global Leaning and Assessment

Excerpts from: Geoffrion-Vinci, M. & M. Toulouse. (2010). Metacognition, Assessment and the e-Portfolio. ACTFL, IALLT, Boston, MA.

Overview•AdvantagesTechnology•Methodolog-e•Outcomes•Infrastructure•EvidenceFeedbackI can do

The LaFolio  Badge Network is a broad spectrum portfolio and assessment system that Lafayette College has been developing since 2007. Originally a beta program started in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the concept has since expanded to other departments and organizations across campus. Students are encouraged to begin their e-Portfolio as First Year Students and build it out over the next four years, culminating in a capstone experience.

The e-Portfolio is a digital instrument that documents the achievement of specified goals and learning outcomes. It also serves as a platform that helps learners reflect on their attitudes, talents and skills as well as how they learn best. Moreover, because students document their learning and interests throughout their college careers, the e-portfolio provides a unique vehicle for tracing the evolution of curricular and co-curricular engagement and competencies. Rather than basing assessment solely on traditional methods, e.g., exams or papers, the e-portfolio showcases what students are actually doing to develop mastery of a wide range of skills. The e-portfolio is now used in hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. LaFolio, Lafayette’s own e-portfolio, has been in development since 2007 and currently showcases the stories of over 1777 e-Portfolio Scholars.


The ePortfolio is holistic, learner-centered, private and universally accessible, fosters development of learning communities, facilitates assessment, engenders low a low affective filter among users and thus encourages fosters inclusion of the non traditional learner. The e-portfolio encourages interdisciplinary studies and trans cultural activities.


The e-Porfolio is based on WordPress, an open source blogging software.

Methodolog-e and Goals

  • Documentation: OPI, WPI, Dialang, PSI, CEFR, etc.
  • Process: projects in multiple drafts
  • Showcase: Master works
  • Reflections: On practices, proficiency, and personal trajectory over time, building bridges between secondary education, post-secondary, as well  career experiences and achievements.


  • Students can regularly document and archive their achievements throughout their college career by uploading evidence of their achievement in the form of artifacts.
  • Students can see growth in proficiency and see phases in their learning process

    The Mantra
  • Students can use the platform to reflect (1) what they can do with what they know and (2) on their attitudes and goals, in other words, how they learn best , thus fostering life-long learning.
  • Students can development metacognitive awareness and strategies for growth.
  • Students can use their portfolio as they apply and interview for internships and jobs since employers and graduate schools consider the e-Portfolio to be “A powerhouse résumé”. See article in the Lafayette News:
  • Instructors can use the platform for programmatic review.
  • Instructors and student advisees can jointly engage in a dialogue to determine which projects should be included, plan future course work and beyond.

The Infrastructure

Students are given a template based on national standards, the ACTFL 5 C’s and Proficiency Guidelines.

  • Communication through interpretation, interpersonal interactions, and presentations using language
  • Understanding of other Cultures
  • Comparisons and contrasts between cultures
  • Connections with other disciplines
  • Participation in different Communities

Not every course or activity can fulfill all the standards, but working with an advisor, a student can develop a course of study and variety of experiences that do.

 Horizontal Menu  Vertical Menu  Standards
 Home Page
 Personal Statement  Reflections on language studies, Reflections on…  Comparisons, Connections
Courses Nested language courses
Interdisciplinary courses
Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons
Experiences Community service, study abroad Communities, Connections, Cultures, Communication,
Achievements Badges, OPI, WPI


The e-artifacts in a digital portfolio are the nuts and bolts of demonstrating achievement, experiences, and attitudes. They can take a variety of forms and thus highlights the students ability to function with multiple literacies.


PowerPoint Presentations
Essay abstracts
Latex Diagrams
Multimedia Video Projects
Journal Entries
Mapping Entries
Links to Collaborative
Documentation of on and off- campus engagement

What the students are saying? Class exit interviews from Spanish, German, and French classes.

Q1. Did you like using a combination of tests & e-Portfolio’s to evaluate your learning?

  • “I liked being able to apply my knowledge to a project that I could later show others and have evidence of what I learned.”
  • “I think it was helpful to be able to write what I wanted, not just answer my professor’s test questions.”
  • “Tests were able to challenge me with whether or not I had learned the material properly, while the e-Portfolio provided practice in understanding.”
  • “I liked using both tests and the e-Portfolio to test my knowledge because tests are the standard way, but the e-Portfolio game me a creative outlet to portray what I learned.”
  • “I thought the e-Portfolio gave me good experience applying my writing skills.”
  • “It is a good way to use what we learn instead of just memorizing.”
  • “Tests are easier.”

Q2. You were asked to reflect on each of your assignments. Did you find it valuable?

  • “Reflecting on my assignments and experiences reminded me of my personal goals and that I am making progress. I was able to think about what I needed to work on and tried to fix issues.”
  • “Yes, because it helped me understand what/why I was strong in certain concepts and weak in others.”
  • “Yes, because I could write down how I truly felt.”
  • “Personally I didn’t think the reflections helped me much. But, it helped me to see what I had or had not learned.”
  • “I enjoyed expressing my opinions on each assignment and what I had learned. I found it to be an interesting way to learn, rather than simply taking tests and doing homework.”
  • “Yes, it put things in perspective and allowed me to identify weaknesses.”
  • “Yes, because I was able to re-live/work on what I had already accomplished.”
  • “They are just assignments!”

Sample Spanish Capstone Portfolio Reflection:

  • I can recognize a variety of literary styles such as poetry prose, essays, and journalistic documents.
  • I can read and understand a variety of literary selections with ease.
  • I can understand differences in ideas and connections, as well as motives for characters’ actions and their consequences in the development of the plot in literary selections.
  • I can read prose and poetry from both modern and earlier periods.
  • I can recognize different literary styles (puns, metaphors, symbol, connotations) I recognize the social, political, or historical background while reading a literary selection.
  • I can write narrations and descriptions with sustained control of major time frames and moods.
  • I can write using style, language, and tone appropriate to the audience and the purpose of the presentation.