Using digital portfolios for high-stakes assessment in visual arts

Document Type

Journal Article


World Scientific Publishing Co.


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education / Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies




Newhouse, C. P. (2014). Using digital portfolios for high-stakes assessment in visual arts. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 9(3), 475-492. Available here


The collection and scoring of student artwork, for high-stakes assessment, across a large jurisdiction such as Western Australia is challenging. An alternative approach would be to submit digital representations of the artworks online for assessing. However, to give a valid and reliable measure the representations would need to be of adequate quality. Further, judgements of artworks are necessarily subjective giving concern about the reliability of scoring. The comparative pairs method of scoring lends itself to addressing this problem and is feasible where the work is in digital form. This paper reports on one component of a three-year study to investigate the representation of student practical work in digital forms for the purpose of summative assessment. The first phase of the project involved the researchers creating digital representations of the artwork submitted at the end of secondary schooling by a sample of students. The second phase involved a sample of students creating digital representations of their own work and submitting them through an online system. The study found this process was feasible, and the results were acceptable, but it lacked support from teachers and students who wanted the original artworks to be assessed. The comparative pairs method of scoring was found to provide reliable scores and be well suited to making judgements around creative work.

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