Negotiated rubrics for electronic portfolios: A study of two elementary classrooms
Juan D. Vargas, State University of New York at Albany, United States
State University of New York at Albany . Awarded
This ethnographic study examined the teaching and learning issues that emerged when two elementary school teachers with different instructional goals and practices used negotiated rubrics to evaluate electronic portfolios, and to reflect on their teaching and their students' learning. The study sought to understand what role, if any, negotiated rubrics played in stimulating and supporting constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. The research design was a case study, where each of two teachers and their fifth grade classrooms served as a case. Four focal students per class served to represent the student voice in the interaction. Primary sources included observations of classroom and computer lab classes throughout the year, audiotapes, videotapes, teacher interviews, field journal notes, document analysis, students' peer evaluations, and end-of-the-year, computer-based products.
The findings of this inquiry revealed that a negotiated rubric can serve to reinforce constructivist teacher practices, and is instrumental in promoting a dynamic teaching and learning environment. Nevertheless, such a rubric can also create some dissonance that could lead to teacher change in instructional practices. The study's findings also suggested that collective assessment of electronic portfolios can either support or disrupt teachers' classroom strategies and routines, by positing power differentials unlike those assumed in traditional assessment practices.
Finally, this study found teacher's pedagogical beliefs can have a significant impact on their classroom practices, when negotiated rubrics are used to assess electronic portfolios. This study also concluded that negotiated rubrics and electronic portfolios, in and of themselves, neither automatically promote needed changes in teachers' educational practices, nor do they create active learning environments for teachers and their students. Instead of focusing on the promises of technological innovations, in the form of new techniques and methods, the institutional contexts that support consistent professional development need to be examined.
Vargas, J.D. Negotiated rubrics for electronic portfolios: A study of two elementary classrooms. Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York at Albany.
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