E-Portfolios as Digital Assessment Tools in Higher Education

  • Min Yang
  • Tianchong Wang
  • Cher Ping LimEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter examines the role of e-portfolios as digital assessment tools in enhancing the quality of student learning outcomes in higher education. E-portfolios tap into the potential of digital technologies to support students’ self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and sharing of learning. Thus, e-portfolios have been reported as bringing about improvements in student learning. On the other hand, existing research also shows challenges for teachers of higher education institutions (HEIs) when adopting e-portfolio assessment. To formulate strategies for optimizing the learning potential of e-portfolios, a landscape review of research literature is conducted to address the research question: How are e-portfolios used as digital assessment tools to enhance the quality of learning outcomes in higher education?

The chapter begins with an overview of e-portfolios as digital assessment tools. A typology of e-portfolios is then presented to analyze the situations where e-portfolios are applied in higher education. The chapter goes on to argue for two essential affordances of e-portfolios, namely: (a) empowerment and ownership of learning for students and (b) feedback and interactivity by drawing on digital technology. This is followed by a discussion of challenges and opportunities of e-portfolios in meeting conventional assessment criteria, including: reliability, validity, authenticity, and honesty. Key pedagogical factors influencing the use of e-portfolios as digital assessment are then examined, giving rise to four strategies for effective implementation of e-portfolios:
  • Analysis of students’ learning needs and contexts for using e-portfolios

  • Constructive alignment between learning, teaching, and assessment

  • Scaffolding of students’ learning progress through task design

  • Capacity building and sustained support for students and teachers

By considering these strategies, teachers of HEIs are likely to maximize the affordances of e-portfolios, and ultimately enhance the quality of learning outcomes. Along with these strategies, this chapter points out several aspects of e-portfolio implementation that warrant future research.


e-portfolios Digital assessment Learning outcomes Assessment criteria Higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and InstructionThe Education University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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