The Effect of Portfolio Assessment on EFL Learners’ Expository Writing Ability

Document Type : Original Research Article


English Department, Shahrekord University, Sharekord, Iran.


The traditional teaching of writing has been the predominant approach in many schools around the world. Second/foreign language (L2) students’ writing attempts have been usually assessed by means of a single final exam as the main criterion representative of their writing ability. Recently, however, there has been a shift from the dominant past paradigm to using portfolios as a possible means of language learning and assessment. This study examined the effectiveness of portfolio assessment in L2 learners’ expository writing ability. A quasi-experimental research design was employed; two writing classes, including 44 undergraduate EFL students in two universities, constituted the control and experimental groups and expository writing tasks were administered as the pretests and posttests. The control group was instructed through the traditional approach of learning and assessment whereas the experimental group was provided with a portfolio assessment practice. The results of covariance analysis and t-tests indicated that the participants in the experimental group outperformed the ones in the control group in terms of their expository writing ability, in general, and the subskills of focus, support, and organization in particular. But, the performance of the two groups in the subskills of vocabulary and convention in writing was not significantly different.