Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Using Audio Portfolios as a Means for Assessing Student Progress with Angela Lee-Smith

Teaching Excellence at Yale

Instructors can provide better feedback when they hear frequent recordings of their students’ language development.

Angela Lee-Smith, Senior Lector in East Asian Languages and Literatures (pictured below), has the challenge of helping new Korean language learners advance across multiple dimensions that constitute language development. Using student audio portfolios, in which students frequently record themselves and then share the recordings via their personal online collections, Professor Lee-Smith can assess her students’ changing fluency with accuracy and offer them frequent feedback.

Angela Lee-Smith

“Language instructors can closely monitor students’ progress in learning specific linguistic forms and features,” Lee-Smith explains. “Each task in these audio portfolio assignments is designed to elicit the production of the target benchmark in the context of performing the assigned tasks.” Since the ‘form’ Lee-Smith is listening for includes a number of interconnected elements, being able to hear frequent recordings provides an invaluable mechanism for student assessment. “Progress-based language tasks can contribute to students’ learning in a meaningful way,” she states, “and I find implementing audio portfolios through Canvas’ built-in media recording submission tool to be very helpful and effective.”

Students  prioritize improving their oral communication skills in Lee-Smith’s course each semester. The audio portfolios help to make her work more efficient and to provide more authentic assessment. Lee-Smith states, “Because a portfolio contains samples of a student’s work collected throughout the term, demonstrating changes over a period of time, it makes the students feel rewarded. They can hear how they are using language in real-world communication.” She notes that using e-portfolios as an assessment tool can be applied to a number of disciplines, by varying the student assignments used as evidence of learning.”

Research exploring the benefits of using student e-portfolios in language learning:

Researchers Gary Cheng and Juliana Chau, in “Exploring the relationship between students’ self-regulated learning ability and their e-portfolio achievement,” study a language enhancement program and investigate the impact of this instructional tool as part of the complex language learning process. They find that higher-order cognitive skills, as well as other learning strategies are positively correlated with e-portfolio use. Read this article online via The Internet and Higher Education.

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