The Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection (EQI) has been asked by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) to evaluate their National E-portfolio project. The project will be coordinated by Prof Joe O’Hara Dr. Martin Brown, Prof. Gerry McNamara and Dr. Shivaun O’Brien.
The use of ePortfolios to enhance the quality of education has has become increasingly important in Europe and elsewhere. Indeed, in the case of Ireland, there is real commitment to explore ways in which ePortfolios can enhance teaching and learning across the continuum of education. At a policy level Digital Strategy for Schools 2015 -2018 (Department of Education, 2015) outlines a range of engagments with e-portfolios including the provision of online training on ePortfolios and assessment to all registered teachers in Ireland through teachercpd.ie and participation in a major EU-funded project, Eufolio.
In additiion, as part of the Department of Education’s ongoing commitment to exploring the use of ePortfolios in Education, PDST - Technology in Education are testing a model of ePortfolio support at transition year level with Post Primary schools throughout Ireland. The support provided to participating schools involves capacity building through online training, face to face workshops and follow-up visits to ePortfolio schools at various junctures within the lifecycle of the project.
Within this, EQI has been commissioned by PDST to evaluate this National ePortfolio project. EQI has extensive experience of evaluating a wide range of innovative educational interventions across a range of settings and their particular expertise in programme evaluation will will be central to this project. The principal EQI project output report will provide a mixed methods evaluation and assessment of a number of thematic areas including an extensive literature review of ePortfolio purpose, policy and practice in compulsory level education and an evaluation of the various stages of the PDST Transition Year Pilot Project.
Finally, it is envisaged that the EQI evaluation report on ePortfolios will allow various stakeholders such as the Department of Education,sectoral support services, Initial Teacher and Further Education providers and other interested organisations to enhance their understanding of the issues, mechanisms, training supports, and the value added attached to the systemic introduction of ePortfolios in Irish education.