Development-oriented education with a digital portfolio at the Teacher Training Program at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences

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Photo taken by Corné Clemens

The teacher training program (HUpabo) at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU, short for the Dutch name of the university, which is Hogeschool Utrecht) has been using Scorion for stage assessments for over 15 years. Bas Agricola, as the head lecturer in assessment and hybrid education, plays an important role at the Institute of Education & Orthopedagogy. As the Chair of the Curriculum Committee, he shares responsibility for supporting and guiding colleagues engaged in educational innovation and improvement. Bas is also involved in research projects on feedback, assessment, and programmatic testing.

In this customer case, Bas shares the experiences of HUpabo with Scorion. He explains, “HUpabo wanted to be able to monitor students’ learning process effectively, and Scorion was already being used as a portfolio by other programs within HU and beyond. Scorion proved to be the best fit for HUpabo’s needs. The familiar use provided the foundation to continue with Scorion’s new portfolio functionalities.”

Within an educational innovation project, HUpabo has given Scorion a prominent role. Bas explains, “Currently, Scorion is being implemented as an experiment in the first year of full-time HUpabo, with two course units of 10 EC (European Credits) designed and scheduled for a semester. In the experiment, we have brought together different elements. Learning outcomes have been formulated based on national competence requirements, closely aligned with the Governance Agreement on the Flexibilization of Teacher Training. Working in learning teams is also part of the experiment, where students discuss various topics in education with a learning team supervisor, such as internships, study career guidance, and the development of their professional identity. Additionally, we offer students feedback training to help them understand, process, and respond to feedback better.”

“Scorion is used in the experiment as a portfolio system, and principles of programmatic assessment are applied. Students request feedback in Scorion from subject teachers, practical supervisors, and fellow students on their products and their internships. This way, students receive feedback on the learning outcomes, resulting in data points in Scorion. The feedback providers not only assess whether the learning outcomes are below, at, or above the required level, but they also provide narrative feedback and feedforward. All this information is captured in Scorion in an organized manner. After a positive advisory conversation with the learning team supervisor, the student can conclude the process with a portfolio assessment.”

The various elements of the experiment have already been evaluated by students, subject teachers, practical supervisors, internship mentors, and institute educators. Overall, the responses were positive. Bas notes, “For example, students mentioned that they learned a lot from the feedback they received to improve their products. Subject teachers also noticed that submitted work was improved through their feedback. Students even wondered why they didn’t receive this developmental feedback for all courses.”

During the feedback process, areas for improvement were also identified. Bas adds, “Students, teachers, and practical supervisors involved in the feedback process were still exploring due to the holistic formulation of the learning outcomes and navigating a new system. Institute educators had a different focus; as examiners in the experiment, they made decisions based on all data points, whereas previously it only pertained to the internship. We provided guidance and training to support them in this regard. However, we see these as important areas for attention in the future. The quality of the narrative feedback on the data points must be good to arrive at a valid and reliable decision on the learning outcomes. Furthermore, all stakeholders need to become familiar with the new assessment methodology, including the portfolio system. That takes time. Through the feedback training for students, teachers also expressed interest in being trained in providing feedback. Therefore, providing feedback is one of the aspects we want to professionalize for stakeholders in the coming academic year.”

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