Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of English, Farhangian University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan


Among alternative assessment options, portfolios have received considerable attention in the field of education, but there has been little research exploring students’ perceptions of the portfolio approach or its impact on the learning of writing (Lam, 2013). Therefore, this study aimed at investigating students’ perceptions about the effect of portfolio assessment as a process-oriented assessment mechanism on Iranian EFL students’ English writing and its sub-skills of focus, elaboration, organization, conventions, and vocabulary. Moreover, the study dealt with students’ perceptions about the use of portfolio assessment in EFL writing. Thirty university students were chosen as the participants.  They received the treatment i.e. portfolio assessment in an essay writing course. Students’ views and reflections about portfolio assessment were elicited via “Portfolio contribution questionnaire” and individual semi-structured interviews. The results showed that most of the students perceived improvement in overall writing and the sub-skills of focus, elaboration, and organization. Furthermore, students had a positive attitude to the implementation of portfolios. The results have some implications for teaching and assessment of writing in the EFL context.


Aydin, S. (2010). EFL writer’s perceptions of portfolio keeping. Assessing Writing, 15(3), 194-203.

Ballard, L. (1992). Portfolios and self-assessment. English Journal, 81, 46-48.

Barootchi, N. & Keshavarz, M. H. (2002). Assessment of achievement through portfolios and teacher-made tests. Educational Research, 44(3), 279-288.

Buyukduman, I. & Sirin, S. (2010). Telling ELT tales out of school, learning portfolio (LP) to enhance constructivism and student autonomy. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 3, 55-61.

Callahan, S. (1999). All done with the best of intentions: One Kentucky high school after six years of State portfolio tests. Assessing Writing, 6(1), 5-40.

Caner, M. (2010). Students views on using portfolio assessment in EFL writing

       courses. Anadolu University Journal of Social Sciences, 10(1), 223-236.

Chang, C.C. (2008). Enhancing self-perceived effects using web-based portfolio assessment. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 1753-1777.

Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing language for specific purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Elahinia, H. (2004). Assessment of writing through portfolios and achievement tests.

            Unpublished M.A thesis, Teacher Training University, Iran.

Farahian, M. & Avarzamani, F. (2018). The impact of portfolio on EFL learners’ metacognition and writing performance. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1-21.

Genesee, F. & Upshur, J. A. (1996). Classroom- based evaluation in second language

            education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ghoorchaei, B., Tavakoli, M., Nejad Ansari, D. (2010). The impact of portfolio assessment on iranian efl students’ essay writing: a process-oriented approach. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, 10(3), 35-51.

Gottlieb, M. (1995). Nurturing student learning through portfolios. TESOL Journal,5 (1), 12-14.

Graziano-King, J. (2007). Assessing student writing: The self-revised essay. Journal of Basic Writing (CUNY), 26(2), 73-92.

Hamp-Lyons, L., & Condon, W. (2000). Assessing the portfolio: Principles for practice, theory and research. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Hashemian, M. & Fadaei, B. (2013). Fostering EFL learners’ autonomy in the light of portfolio assessment: Exploring the potential impact of gender. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research 1(2), 135-151.

Hirvela, A. & Sweetland, Y. L. (2005). Two case studies of L2 writers’ experiences across learning- directed portfolio contexts. Assessing Writing, 10 (3),192-213.

Khodadady, E. & Khodabakhshzade, H. (2012). The effect of portfolio and self-assessment on writing ability and autonomy. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(3), 518-524.

Lam, R. & Lee, I. (2010). Balancing the dual functions of portfolio assessment. ELT

            Journal, 64 (1), 54-64.

Lam, R. (2013). Two portfolio systems: EFL students’ perceptions of writing ability, text improvement, and feedback. Assessing Writing, 18(2), 132-153.

Marefat, F. (2004). Portfolio revisited. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 7(2), 79-96.

 Moya, S. S. & O’Malley, J. M. (1994). A portfolio assessment model for ESL. The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority students, 13, 13-36.

Obeiah, S.F., & Bataineh, R.F. (2016). The effect of portfolio-based assessment on Jordanian EFL learners’ writing performance. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 9(1), 32-46. DOI:

Ocak, G. & Ulu, M. (2009). The views of students, teachers and parents and the use of portfolio at the primary level. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences (1), 28-36.

Paesani, K. (2006). Exercises de style: Developing multiple competencies through a writing portfolio. Foreign Language Annals, 39(4), 618-39.

Saad, M. R. M., & Noor, M. A. M. (2007). Malaysian University students' perceptions on the use of portfolio as an assessment tool in an ESL writing classroom. Masalah Pendidikan30(2), 49-64.

Tierney, R. J., Carter, M. A., & Desai, L.E. (1991). Portfolio assessment in the reading- writing classroom. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Tiwari, A. & Tang, C. (2003). From process to outcome: the effect of portfolio assessment on learning. Nurse Education Today, 23, 269-277.

Wang, Y.H. & Liao, H.C. (2008). The application of learning portfolio assessment for students in the technological and vocational education system. Asian EFL Journal, 10 (2), 132-154.

Weigle, S.C. (2002). Assessing writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Winterword, W. R. & Murray, P. Y. (1985). English writing and skills. CA: Coronado Publishers.

Yang, N.D. (2003). Integrating portfolios into learning strategy-based instruction for EFL college students. IRAL, 41, 293–317.