There are several drawbacks to using student portfolios to evaluate a student body's learning when trying to gather accurate information at a college; these include a lack of a standard for a portfolio, an inherent bias based on individual assessments and a lack of access to the larger portion of the student population of a campus. Portfolios are usually a collection of a student's work online, including papers, writing and exercises that were assigned as coursework.
Portfolios gather information about a students own thoughts on their progress and provides them with an online platform to collect course work as well as general data related to a educational program. While the first example lists specifics to one course, the latter can present problems when used by multiple instructors with a scoring rubric to assess the effectiveness of the education being provided.
By nature, a portfolio is tailored to an individual student and lacks a uniform standard to evaluate a larger group of students. Additionally, when a portfolio is used by a student to self-access their strengths, a lack of a standard ensures that a wide range of diverse results will be produced.
Other arguments against using portfolios to objectively judge the student body's learning curve is that portfolios show characteristics of individual students such as age, gender and race that could affect the neutrality of the scoring process.