Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication - (M.S.)

Department

Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Norbert Elliot

Second Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Third Advisor

Andrew Klobucar

Abstract

Summative assessments of student writing performance have been instrumental in the evaluation of student ability and analysis of educational programs. One method used to perform summative assessments of writing performance in post-secondary education is through the evaluation of student portfolios. Using an evidence-centered design approach, NJIT faculty researchers have developed rubrics to measure the acquired skills of students. Classroom instructors from the department meet periodically to score the students' portfolios containing constructed responses to predetermined writing tasks. The paper-based assessments are then manually key-stroked into Microsoft Excel for storage, with the scores then analyzed in SPSS and SAS.

This thesis presents the design and development of a web-based application created to enhance the portfolio assessment process and alleviate the key-stroking burden and introduction of error attendant to a paper-based portfolio scoring system. By enabling readers to rate portfolios in a communal environment in which scoring standards have been mutually established, the application ensures consistent assessment of all students in the writing program. Significantly, the application allows real-time monitoring of portfolio assessments to ensure consistency amongst readers and to immediately address portfolios requiring adjudication of discrepant scores. To ensure that the portfolio assessment platform met its full potential, both rapid prototyping and usability testing were included in the development of this application.

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