Action Research Template

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The following template may be used for your action research:

Context of the Problem

The portfolio assessment as an alternative way to evaluate students’ proficiency. There are many aspects to consider when it is refer to students’ evaluation. That is why the alternative ways of assessment are becoming more popular to enrich not just the evaluation but also the learning process by making students more aware of their own learning. This study is aimed to answer to one central question How portfolios can help students and teachers in leaning and evaluation process?

The portfolio assessment as an alternative way to evaluate students’ proficiency. Evaluation is seldom successful at the time to evaluate students’ knowledge and performance. Therefore, there are alternatives ways of assessment; a portfolio is one of them. In the early 90’s when all the movement of alternative assessment started, portfolios were one of the most famous. Portfolio can be simple defined as a bunch of stuff or random papers collected, but it is more than a simple and empty definition.

A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas of the curriculum (Milanovic and Saville, 1996). According to Paulson, Paulson, and Meyer (1991), to use a portfolio, teacher must choose a type of it; there are 3 main different types of portfolios.

Documentation portfolio: collection of work during a period of time, showing improvement, and like this teachers can identify the outcomes. The content can be all what student have done; for example, from brainstorming to final drafts. This collection can be more effective by being selected in specific purposes. Process Portfolio: as the name itself says, it is the collection of documents that prove phases of student´s learning. Reflection is very important here, for students to see their progressive learning, to make them think and reflect about their strengths and weaknesses.

Showcase Portfolio: It is a summative evaluation. The selection is done by teacher and student; the selection must be the best work of students, but the work has to be completed. In this type of portfolio should also include written reflections by the student, to determinate what work should be included.

The content of a portfolio and who decides it will depend on the type of portfolio. Solis (n.d) says that the portfolio should include evidence of student’s proficiency in the use of skills and specific content that demonstrates acquisition of the different content. How can portfolio content be decided? as the previous paragraph mentioned the content can be determinate with student’s and teacher’s opinion and making an agreement of what it should be included. This selection can change and must change by the course time, because the content is based on the task and on what teachers need to know or have evidence about. Not only content of evidence is necessary although, the use of reflections is needed to focus on certain matter. (Paulson, Paulson, and Meyer,1991).

There are sometimes were students get low grades in test, but what happens if he has evidence of his achievements in class. This is where portfolios came to scene, showing us the process or products rather than just the grades without evidence. The evidence must show some key aspects in chapter two of develomping a professional portfolio the evidence must show the skills you can master or in the way to do it, and show artifacts that are helping students to achieve the learning goal already set. This evidence will be the guide to some final product, a characteristic of the process portfolio the one will be used in this study.

The students in which we will be focusing on are in the start program National English Program in Basic Education, it is based on an approach which aims to foster and develop communicative competence in English as a foreign Language. The program is divided by cycles, each cycle has two grades. The grades have five units per school year; these five units are divided in 2 each one of it. In each unit block students must delivered a product; these products must show what students have done during the whole block and show evidence about it with this little projects. The projects are designed according to each unit and the schemes of work. (Rodrguez et. 2010)

We can clearly see the presence of the task based method, because it is by certain aspects, even skills to get to a final product that brings all together. These products are the kind of evidence that shows students’ learning process and give a clearer view of what students can achieve on their own. The products are a compilation of skills and topics seen during the block. The same program is based on competences, mainly communicative. The process in which students will go through depends of each teacher but following the program (Rodrguez et. 2010)

Method and Materials

The participants are twenty five students sixth grade students in elementary school, between 11 and 13 years old, from Vicente Guerrero elementary school in Calvillo Aguascalientes. The students are a disciplined group, within the group there are among five students which have English knowledge and other ones, that do not have it, but they easily understand the language.

The instruments to use are three different but related and focused on the portfolios. The first instrument is the portfolio itself; this is the main instrument in which students will archive all the documents indicated by the teacher. Each document will be previously checked by the teacher and delivered to the students. Because of the period of time in which the data collection is done, a focused group became an option to gain data about previous products already done by students. In the focused group, there will be asked some reflection questions, to make students remember the skills used and the feelings in general regarding the use of portfolios.

After students make their last product, they will answer a reflection sheet taken from the web, it is a .pdf document named, Portfolios handouts by Voices in time 1. The reflection was taken from here and translated into Spanish and modified by taking away some questions. The third instrument is a list of content, this list is considered an instrument, besides indicating the content, and it also indicates the grade and the skills used in the production of the product or the entry indicated; this allows students to identify their own process of learning.

The responses obtained by these instruments will give us the students’ reaction of these specific English language learners, covering different aspects as the students’ feelings, opinions, expectations, as well as the grade students believe to deserve in the corresponding product. The answers will be classified, and then all the reflection sheets and the focused groups bring certain responses that can be classified and take out the opinions most mentioned by the students.

The variables to consider in general are around the self reflection on the work done and towards portfolios. In the focused group students will be asked about their feelings towards portfolios and about the products they are doing during the whole year. The dependant variables are the ones about the grading because they depend of the work they have done and how well there are doing it. Here we are looking forward to have a clear view of what students believe they deserve and what teacher thinks they gained for it. Here the agreement between them will be seen, and if teachers and students are really considering the whole learning process not just the grading. Part of the learning is reflected on the reflection sheets, where students reflect about the process they followed and the problems and solutions.

Results and Data Analysis

Present the findings of the investigation using graphs, tables, etc.


Discuss your results in terms of how they answer your research question(s) or hypothesis. Did your intervention work? What recommendations can you offer? How might others extend this research? Are there any limitations?


Adhere to APA.



  • This is just a reminder to refer to this video before emailing me your final draft. If you have any questions about APA, come by my office.--Bnleez 21:58, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Make sure you also add your references. --Bnleez 13:13, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Add information to your method section and follow the MEAL plan in each paragraph - review your paragraphs in your context of the problem section. --Bnleez 14:01, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Begin adding more information to your method section. And there is no need to have subheadings in your first section (context of the problem). --Bnleez 14:17, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Note: For those taking Applied Linguistics for credit, please do the following:

  • Copy and paste the template above as a subpage to your user page.
  • Adhere to the following approximate word count per section...
    • Context of the problem should be 800 words
    • Method and Materials should be 500 words
    • Results and Data Analysis should be 500 words
    • Discussion should be 1,000 words that includes a 250-word conclusion.