Spring 2022


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Julia Reimer and Melissa Erickson

Content Expert

Jayme Adelson-Goldstein


Research shows that students with limited or interrupted education (SLIFE) are at a distinct disadvantage when taking formalized exams as compared to their more highly educated peers due to factors such as cultural dissonance. The need for an alternative method of summative assessment that rewards SLIFE’s strengths, such as funds of knowledge and collaboration skills, instead of punishing them for their lack of test-tasking skills and background knowledge is the central focus of this project. This project is a proposal for an adult school district to pilot a portfolio summative assessment as an alternative to formalized testing. The rationale for this project is based on factors such as the negative effects of cultural dissonance, the benefits of collectivism as skill-building strengths in task-based learning environments, a comparison of research on formalized and portfolio assessments, and the need for assessment reform in adult education. The benefits of a portfolio summative assessment are many and may improve the summative assessment process not only for SLIFE but for all stakeholders. At the same time, research reveals that the method faces many challenges, mostly due to its recency. These challenges may be overcome with careful planning, input from all stakeholders, and further research. The design of the pilot project proposed herein is heavily influenced by Desyatova’s case study of Canada’s experience with a summative portfolio assessment and the problems they encountered. Solutions to those problems are embedded in the proposed project plan. The goal of this project is to open a dialogue with school districts in the hope that it leads to a pilot implementation of the method along with further research.

Project Type

Pilot Proposal


Adult Education, Assessment, Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE), Task-Based Learning








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