A study of teacher-student discourse in a college reading course using the portfolio process




Wickstrom, Carol D.

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Current testing practices in literacy are believed to be a mismatch for current theory. The socio-constructivist theory of learning and strategies that support this theory involve processes rather than products. Efforts to expand assessment beyond multiple-choice testing have been made at various levels of education. Of all the performance tests available, portfolio assessment has been most frequently attempted. Inquirty throughout this study focused on discourse used during the portfolio process. The purpose was to determine what characterizes the discourse of teaching, assessing, and learning in a college level reading course using the porfolio process. Determining student integration and self-assessment also were studied. A qualitative case study using ethnographic techniques was used to illuminate this phenomenon. Data were collected from one college instructor and 27 preservice teachers through audiotaped and written reflection in the seven settings of the process. Protocols were anlyzed at conversation and segment levels allowing the coding process to emerge. Findings indicated that there were 5 teaching strategies, 5 assessing strategies, and 22 categories of learning. Multiple settings of the process allowed different types of teaching, assessing, and learning to occur in each. Comembership in the process was determined because strategies and categories were identified from all participants. Students integrated at various levels and self-assessment existed. The interrelatedness of teaching and assessing revealed a dynamic process of learning. A theoretical framework for understanding the discourse of teaching, assessing, and learning during portfolio process emerged. Implications for teacher education, educational practice, and further research are addressed.



Discourse analysis, Reading, Portfolios in education, Teacher-student relationships