More Than a Pyramid of Papers: Students’ Portfolios and Developmental Language Assessment in the ESL Classroom

  • Charles Edonmi


Gaining proficiency in a second language is a kaleidoscopic activity. Consequently, there is a need for a documented chronology of the learning experience of students in the ESL classroom. Portfolio assessment meets this need. It provides teachers and students the record needed for setting future goals. This chapter seeks to shed light on how an assessment of students’ portfolio can help improve the students’ developmental language skills. It proffers suggestions for implementing portfolio assessment. Modest efforts have been made, in this chapter, to incorporate relevant research that supports portfolio assessment and distill the essence of the quintessence of portfolios as a teaching tool and not just a pyramid of papers. This, essentially, will demonstrate the place of portfolios in teaching, assessing and motivating ESL students.


Proficiency Second language Learning Portfolio Goals Language skills Teaching 


  1. Brown, J. D., & Hudson, T. (1998). The alternatives in language assessment. TESOL Quarterly, 32, 653–675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark, J. L. D. (1983). Language testing: Past and current status–directions for the future. Modern Language Journal, 67, 431–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duffy, M. L., Jones, J., & Thomas, S. W. (1999). Using portfolios to foster independent thinking. Intervention in School & Clinic, 35(1), 34–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Edonmi, C. O. (2006). Grammaticizing the interlanguage in humanities today (Vol. 2). Lagos: Emaphine Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Fernsten, L., & Fernsten, J. (2005). Portfolio assessment and reflection: Enhancing learning through reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 6(2), 303–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hidri, S. (2013). The effectiveness of assessment of learning and assessment for learning in eliciting valid inferences on the test-takers’ listening comprehension ability. In Article published in the Proceedings of the 2013 Nile TESOL Conference Revolutionizing TESOL: Techniques and Strategies (pp. 1–25). Cairo: The American University of Cairo.
  7. Mueller, J. (2016). Portfolios. Naperville, IL: North Central College.Google Scholar
  8. Oller, J. (1979). Language tests at school: A pragmatic approach. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  9. Zubizarreta, J. (2004). The learning portfolio: Reflective practice for improving student learning. Bolton, MA: Anker.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Edonmi
    • 1
  1. 1.English Language InstituteUniversity of JeddahJeddahSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations