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second article review

Review of Heng-Tsung Danny Huang and Shao-Ting Alan Hung’s “Implementing electronic speaking portfolios: perceptions of EFL students”. British journal of education technology, 41, 84-88. doi:10.1111

Electronic portfolios become helpful at the time to evaluate EFL students, their effectiveness and the easy way in which students manage their material are great tool. The opportunity to use e-portfolios is wider than just evaluation; this article shows how e- portfolios can be used to notice and document speaking performance. What are the pros and cons of e-portfolios to assess speaking performance; it is what the article is aimed to show. Moreover, the research is aimed to give students the opportunity to practice their speaking skills.

The participants in this research are fifty-one students of conversation classes form a Taiwanese university; the participants had been had English formal education for six years. Only six of these students are the ones chosen for the interviews, according to their willingness to participate in the research. The instruments to carry out this research are the following: an attitude questioner, interviews and the most important, e-portfolios. E-portfoilios are the way to evaluate and document information regarding speaking skills, in the e-portfolios, there is a questionnaire regarding attitude and the last one an interview to clear up the students’ opinion with the six students, the period of time of application is 19 weeks, each week with a specific activity. The results of this research are the following: first e-portfolios show the weakest areas, second they offer the opportunity to practice more, third e-portfolios reduce the anxiety of being in front of a person speaking. On the other hand, the last finding is contradicted by the forth one; the lack of face-to-face interaction. Finally the last two; e-portfolios are very mechanic speaking opportunity. The research shows that the combination of traditional oral evaluation and e-portfolios would throw more accurate results of speaking students ´proficiency. In short, the research results show pros and cons of using e-portfolios.

The opportunities for EFL students to practice their speaking skills are few. According to Heng and Shao (2009),“It is advised that EFL conversation teachers consider integrating e-portfolios into their curricula as an attempt to enhance the oral proficiency development on the part of students” (p. 88). This statement shows the importance of the entire article; to give students more opportunities to practice their oral skills. Moreover, e-portfolios give students the opportunity to practice; even though this tool has pros and cons, students showed a positive attitude towards it. The most important is that students are aware of their learning process by noticing their weakness and trying to improve them. Learning of EFL is beneficiated by the mix of common ways of assessment and new waves of assessment; most of the ones use technology, doing easier the process and showing results.

The use of portfolios is a tool to evaluate students and to get a clearer view of their weaknesses and the whole learning process. Teachers need more tools to have students practice their speaking, and e-portfolios are a great tool to do it. Besides teachers necessity to give opportunities, students need to be aware of their process to change and improve in their weaknesses. Even thoughis hard to learn how to use technology or not all the students have the same economic opportunities, the idea of recording while speaking is a great path to follow and to notice students’ progress. E-portfolios are a great tool to use in the learning of a foreign language and what it is important too is the positive opinion of students regarding the implementation of this innovative tool.


Heng, D. and Shao, A. (2009). Implementing electronic speaking portfolios: perceptions of EFL students. British journal of education technology, 41, 84-88. doi:10.1111

first article review

Review of Sylvia Strasberg’s “Students, teachers and alternative assessment in secondary school: Relational models theory (RMT) in the field of education.”The Australian educational research, 37(1), 83-106.

The importance of alternative assessment in the relationship between students and teachers. This article is about the social relationships and how people interact each other and the use of assessment to maintain that relationship. It is based on the relational models theory (RMT, these are four elementary models the ones explain how people process interaction in a society: the model most common is the authority ranking; it is the one that involves hierarchy and some people is more powerful than others. Alternative assessment refers to non-testing assessment methods that show what students are capable to do and the necessary information to keep on with next lesson. It is discvered that RMT has a close relationship with alternative assessment, she takes authentic assessment to come up with an alternative assessment.Considering that she looks for the alternative assessment, and its impact in social-school relationships,the research questions are focused on students’ feelings regarding the alternative ways of assessment. The question to be answered is the following: what are the ways in which RMT are initiated and maintained in secndary school through the use of alternative assessment methods?

The methodology is carried out in a college preparatory school in Southern California in a quantitative research method. Here students instead of getting grades they are evaluated through different alternative instruments: Rubrics, narrative evaluations, portfolios, standards-based markings and the habits of mind and heart. All these instruments, and ways to evaluate are considered as authentic assessment, and indicated by the author as a way of alternative assessments. The results show that authority ranking is noticeable, but with the implementation of alternative ways of assessment, this ranking become more unusual and students get more participation on their own evaluation the results presented are very clear. Although the results showed that authority ranking model is the stongest, it can be changed by using alternative assessment to ensure this.

The author shows how alternative assessment changes the relationship between students and teachers; the importance of knowing that relationships can help students’ performance and make them notice their own progress. All these research explain how the relationships are an important point in which assessment refers. The idea of students being awarded of their progress and not just agree with teacher judgments, was already taken. Moreover, the innovation in this article are the involvement of relationships and to find out what kind of role is presented according to different aspects, as the main one assessment. According to Strasberg(2010) "It is possible to shift the dynamics of assessment away from a strictly top-down approach, towards an environment of evaluation in which students play a large role.

The relevance of knowing about the impact that assessment has on students and how they see and how the relationship is developed; it is amazing. Sometimes students are not aware of their own process and the alternative ways of assessment open a new confidentiality between student and teacher. Which it becomes a new set of patterns or models noticeable on the social relationships, changing them and having students participate more on their process of learning, by consequence the teacher’s judgment has a big impact but student’s opinion is valuable too. Moreover,the new findings are really significant in the education field, because teachers are daily working with people and feelings, the ones must be taken into consideration. The new ideas about working by competences are closely related with this article. People are important and how we treat them and as a consequence how evaluation is done, impact on how the relationships are affected.


Strasberg, S. (2010). Students, teachers and alternative assessment in secondary school: Relational models theory (RMT) in the field of education. The Australian educational research, 37(1), p.83-106.


Case study

Ntuli, E., Keengwe, J. and Kyei, L. (2009). Electronic portfolios in teacher education: a case study of early childhood teacher candidates. Early childhood education, 37, 121-126.

Research paper

Waters, F., Smeaton, P. and Burns, T. (2004). Action research in secondary science classroom: student response to differentiated, alternative assessment. American secondary education, 32(3), 89-105.

Action research

Allen, D. and Flippo, R. (2002). Alternative assessment in the preparation of literacy educators: response from students. Reading psychology, 23, 15-26.

Literature paper

Towless, E., Kleinert, H. and Muhomba, M. (2009). Alternate assessment: have we learned anything new?. Exceptional children, 75, 233-252.

Field study