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This article evaluates the full-scale integration of the ePortfolio into a healthcare professional program in an open admissions community college in the United States. The Physical Therapist Assistant program in question struggles to balance the dynamic tension between preparing students for a summative multiple-choice licensing examination and the continuous development of professional core values such as altruism and integrity—qualities that cannot be measured by any standardized test. To address this conflict, the program has piloted the ePortfolio as a pedagogical tool that enables students to reflect on their development of professionalism and to make connections between academics, clinical practice, and personal developments. From the program’s perspective, the integration of the ePortfolio has been somewhat successful. The ePortfolio has allowed faculty to go beyond the otherwise “test prep” curriculum and creatively design assignments to help students understand and cultivate professional values. Yet, in an open admissions institution where students come with an elevated level of unpreparedness, the ePortfolio is not a panacea for a professional program with highly stringent graduation and licensing requirements. After the implementation of the ePortfolio, faculty and students continue to confront the dilemma of test preparation and the development of professional qualities—albeit with new dynamics. Our experience in balancing the needs to “teach to the test” and to develop a well-rounded student body has relevance to the ongoing national debates on ePortfolio and standardized testing as pedagogical and assessment tools in higher education.


Originally published: Chan, Clarence. "Using the ePortfolio to Complement Standardized Testing in a Healthcare Professional Program: Better Education or More Busy Work?" International Journal of ePortfolio, vol. 2, no. 2, 2020,


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