The education system of the United Arab Emirates is relatively new and has gone through major changes between the 1950s and 2010s (UAECD, 2011). Development of the education system allowed the country to reach significant improvement in the educational coverage of the population: “In 2006-2007, approximately 650,000 students were enrolled at 1,256 public and private schools. About 60% of all students attend public schools” (UAECD, 2011, para. 1). The continued education reform is now focused on achieving a better quality of education, greater accountability, and improved professionalism, which is why the widespread use of portfolio assessment technique is beneficial for the country’s education system.
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Portfolio assessment is an efficient educational practice if applied in the right way. Studies found that it increases students’ autonomy and promotes fairness of grading (Flores, Simao, Barros, & Pereira, 2015). However, this practice has to be implemented correctly to achieve a positive effect. For instance, in most learning environments, using individual portfolio assessment is more effective than using group portfolio assessment (Flores et al., 2015), so I choose to use this practice in the classroom unless a certain project requires assessing students in groups. Secondly, given the contemporary interest of children and young adults in new technologies and their excellent abilities to use it, I also want to introduce web-based portfolios as they help to develop the students’ digital literacy, as well as allow to keep the students’ work and reflections to be able to evaluate their progress in the future (Forawi, Almekhlafi, & Al-Mekhlafy, 2012). Finally, I aim to tailor the portfolio assessment system following the current needs of the students. For example, portfolio assessment in secondary education should be aimed at promoting the students’ reflection on their work, whereas higher education normally requires comparing the student’s work with certain research standards.
Overall, I believe that portfolio assessment would be very relevant in the UAE education environment. The correct implementation of the practice, however, will require a substantial effort to make sure it produces the results that are good both for students’ perception of self and their abilities and for the promotion of modern education techniques all over the country.
Flores, M. A., Simao, A. M. V., Barros, A., & Pereira, D. (2015). Perceptions of effectiveness, fairness and feedback of assessment methods: a study in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 40(9), 1523-1534.
Forawi, S. A., Almekhlafi, A. G., & Al-Mekhlafy, M. H. (2012). Development and validation of e-portfolios: The UAE pre-service teachers’ experiences. US-China Education Review, A(1), 99-105.
United Arab Emirates Cultural Division (UAECD) (2011). K-12 education. Web.