Frequently Asked Questions
What about the Validity and Reliability of the Focused Portfolios™ assessment process?
Assessing the reliability of the Focused Portfolios process depends on the developmental criteria that a program is using. Focused Portfolios is a process of recording observational information that is tied to developmental milestones. The milestones in the book are derived from NAEYC and Zero to Three. To our knowledge, no reliability studies have ever been done on those particular milestones.
However, if a program were to choose developmental benchmarks or milestones other than the ones that appear in the Focused Portfolios book, and create Focused Portfolios tied to those, they might be considered to be valid and reliable. For example, this would be the case when using either the performance indicators of the Work Sampling System(®) or the Developmental Continuum of the Creative Curriculum(®).
As far as inter-rater reliability of the Focused Portfolios process is concerned - that is, given the same observation, would a number of teachers attribute the same milestone or indicator - methods for establishing reliability have been developed in the work being done for the last 5 years in the state of New Mexico. We have a rating process for checking reliability which has been used to review thousands of samples to date.
If you are concerned about this issue or you are required to implement an assessment system that has been deemed to be valid and reliable, you can very easily use the Focused Portfolios(™) format and method with any set of developmental milestones or benchmarks from a system that is considered valid and reliable.
The Focused Portfolios Collection Forms Versions 2 and/or 3 allow you to do this by providing blank lines for you to fill in the domains or areas of development and benchmarks or indicators of your choice. This process is greatly enhanced when using the Focused Portfolios Electronic Companion - the application that enables you to compile portfolios electronically. You may order the software here.