Language Education Policy Studies
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E-portfolios and Teaching Quality as Policies 

In 1987, the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) has been created to specify professional standards for teacher certification. Ten years after the creation of INTASC, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's Task Force on Technology made the recommendation to stimulate the use of technology in teacher education and to "experiment with effective applications of computer technology for teaching and learning" (NCATE, 1997). Along with this initiative, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), challenged universities to integrate technology across teacher education (1997, p.7). In a parallel development since that time, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has encouraged the use of electronic portfolios as a means of evaluating teacher competence for initial licensing, following the principle of articulating performance-based standards in order to define expectations of professional expertise. This decision affects world language teachers as well.


Electronic portfolios, performance-based standards and reflective activities on teaching experience have come to be viewed as convenient ways of organizing professionalization in teacher education settings. Winsor & Ellefson (1995, p. 3) define the portfolio as a “thoughtful, organized and continuous collection of a variety of authentic products that document a professional or student’s progress, goals, efforts, attitudes, pedagogical practices, achievements, talents, interests and development over time”. Any definition of what is—and what could be—pedagogic­ally appropriate technology integration (Tochon & Black, 2007), should be framed in terms of quality teaching. To define quality teaching, Fenstermacher and Richardson (2005) emphasize the need to account for both outcomes (successful teaching) and worthiness (good teaching). The outcomes resulting from successful teaching derive from four factors—student effort, social surround, educational opportunities, and good teaching—only the last of which is under teachers’ direct control. Such interdependency makes successful teaching reliant on both the involvement of all social stakeholders and a teacher’s ability to “[adapt] his or her instruction to the context at hand” (p.207). Therefore quality teaching must considered part of an education policy package that influences heavily world language teachers in a number of countries.


Around the globe, a major institutional change consists in integrating standards through electronic portfolios in English Language Teacher (ELT) Education. Thus e-Portfolios surreptitiously inscribe Western values in Education. The introduction of electronic portfolios and standards has deep cultural impacts as it clashed with local values and ways of interacting among faculty members and students (Tochon, 2009). 




  • Fenstermacher, G., & Richardson, V. (2005). On making determinations of quality in teaching. Teachers College Record, 107(1), 186–213.
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (1997). National standard for technology in teacher preparation: ISTE accreditation and standards committee. [On-line]. Available: [2006, July].
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). (1997). Technology and the new professional teacher: Preparing for the 21st century classroom. [On-line]. Available: [2006, July].
  • Shulman, L. (1998). Teacher portfolios: A theoretical activity. New York: Teachers College Press.
  • Tochon, F. V. (2009). The Role of Language in Globalization: Language, Culture, Gender and Institutional Learning. International Journal of Educational Policies. Special Issue: “Trends and Struggle in Education Policies”, 3(2), 107-124.
  • Tochon, F. V., & Black, N. J. (2007). Narrative analysis of electronic portfolios: preservice teachers’ struggles in researching pedagogically appropriate technology integration. CALICO Monograph Series “Preparing and developing technology-proficient L2 teachers”, 6, 295-320.
  • Tucker, P., Stronge, J. H., Gareis, C. R., & Beers, C. S. (2003). The efficacy of portfolios for teacher evaluation and professional development: Do they make a difference? Educational Administration Quarterly, 39(5), 572-602.
  • Winsor, J. T., & Ellefson, B. A. (1995). Professional portfolios in teacher education: An exploration of their value and potential. The Teacher Educator, 31, 68-74.


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This information was originally published on the website of the International Network for Language Education Policy Studies ( as

Tochon, F. V. (2013). E-Portfolios and Teaching Quality as Policy. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 

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