Anja Simonsen og Lasse Suonperä Liebst

Anthropology and Sociology

Student Experience and Behavioral Implications of Portfolio Assignments: A Cross-Departmental, Mixed-Methods Study


Portfolio assignments are increasingly adopted in higher education, including at the University of Copenhagen. The purpose of the current project is to evaluate the implementation of portfolio exams at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. We conducted interviews with eight students from both departments as well the Heads of Studies and teachers with portfolio hands-on experience. Qualitative results suggest that the students are overall positive towards portfolio assignments, although several challenges are also identified. These include little guidance for teachers and students, weak course structure, and the experience of lacking student skills in the provision of feedback. Moreover, we collected quantitative data of exam grades and enrolments across 20 thematically comparable anthropology courses, with and without portfolios implemented. Using this data, we tested whether portfolio assignments are associated with higher exam grades and enrolment levels. Statistical results reject both predictions. Taken together, the current project highlights that portfolio exams may improve the student experience, without being reflected in positive behavioral changes. We close our argument by providing a number of recommendations.

Read the project here