Portfolios offer innovative opportunities for English language learners (ELLs) to receive formative feedback that not only helps assess current achievements, but also documents developmental progress over time.
This paper examines the use of portfolios in terms of formative assessment and developing learner autonomy for English language learners (ELLs). Benefits include increased self-confidence, motivation and a sense of personal agency for the learners. Benefits for teachers include a deeper understanding of individual learners’ needs and progress. Different types of portfolios are explained, including both paper-based and electronic options, along with typical component elements. Challenges of using portfolios with ELL learners are explored. Finally, concrete recommendations for classroom practitioners are offered.
Key words: English language learners, portfolios, assessment