Current Student Resources

Credit by Portfolio

Bellisario College Credit by Portfolio Policy/Process

Credit by Portfolio assessment is an opportunity for students who feel they have gained knowledge equivalency through experiential learning to validate their claim. It was designed to provide those students who have acquired knowledge through legitimate means outside an academic environment to establish the legitimacy through careful explanation and insight into the knowledge they have gained.

While this is indeed an opportunity for some students, it is also a significant responsibility; the onus of proof is squarely on the students’ shoulders. Students wishing to earn credit by portfolio assessment must be prepared to describe, reflect, and synthesize their learning experiences carefully.

How do students approach such a task? A central challenge in this process is for students to provide documentation (the “proof”) that demonstrates an appropriate balance between theoretical learning and practical application.

That is, students must be able to separate and examine the “doing” (the experience) from its result (the learning that occurred). In other words, it is not enough to have simply done something well – it is necessary to know why certain actions were successful (e.g. produced results) and what leaning occurred – how did one’s understanding grow, change or become more complex through the course of your experience.

As a student endeavors to compose a portfolio, the following key questions may be useful:

  • In what ways did your experience promote or modify your understanding the subject?
  • What were the different parts or pieces of the experience and how did they contribute to your understanding?
  • What kind of choices did you make throughout the experience and how did these choices affect what you learned, “found out” or discovered about your subject?
  • What do you know about the subject that someone without the experience might not know?
  • What have you learned through your own initiative—reading, talking to people, doing?
  • What do the experts say and how does or does not your experience support this information?

More Information / Links