The Portfolio

At ELTS, all of our pre-sessional courses use a portfolio system. The portfolio is designed to help you to develop the academic skills you need to be a successful university student and is also used as part of the end of course assessment.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a “…a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas. The collection must include student participation in selecting contents, the criteria for selection, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection

Paulson, F.L., Paulson, P.R., & Meyer, C.A. (1991). What Makes a Portfolio a Portfolio?. Educational Leadership, 58(5), 60-63.

What does this mean?

During your programme you will complete coursework related to the academic skills you are studying. Each piece of work is marked using a matrix which gives you very detailed feedback about the quality of your work. The matrix also helps you to see what you need to do in order to improve your grade.

Each piece of coursework is then put in a file; at the end of the course, you choose the best pieces of work from each skill which you would like to be used to assess your progress and level.

Identifying your own strengths and weaknesses is also important, so you can do better in your next piece of work and on your next course. The portfolio helps you to understand what you do well and less well and, importantly, what you need do to improve your work.

Why does ELTS use a portfolio system?

Many courses only use an end-of-course exam to assess your results. At ELTS, we think the portfolio is a fairer way to assess you because

  • If you do not do as well as expected in the end-of-course exam, your coursework will still contribute to your final grade
  • The portfolio allows you and us to see your progress over 10 weeks. An exam only shows your performance on one day.
  • The portfolio gives you lots of information about your strengths and weaknesses. This information, combined with the help of your teachers, makes it easier for you to identify and develop the academic skills you need to be successful.

How much is the portfolio worth towards my end of term grade?

The portfolio is worth 70% of your final grade. The other 30% comes from the end-of-course STEAP exam.

What goes in the portfolio?

When you enrol on an ELTS course, we will explain exactly what work you need to put in your portfolio. Typically, it will include examples of the following coursework which will be used to show your progress in your academic English and study skills:

  • Academic Reading
  • Academic Writing
  • Academic Listening
  • A mini research project (or a business plan for ASBP)
  • The results of your final speaking test. This usually takes the form of a presentation which relates to the topic of your mini research project (or business plan for ASBP).
  • Documents designed to help you think about your academic progress as a learner of English and as an independent learner at university