Fostering EFL Learners’ Autonomy in Light of Portfolio Assessment: Exploring the Potential Impact of Gender

Document Type: Original Article


Shahrekord University, Iran


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of portfolio assessment as a process-oriented mechanism on the autonomy of Iranian advanced EFL learners. A particular concern was to examine the potential effect of gender on portfolio assessment by taking the learners’ writing ability into account. The participants were 80 male and female advanced EFL learners to whom the Learner Autonomy Questionnaire (Kashefian, 2002) was administered to check their homogeneity prior to the study in terms of autonomy; a truncated form of a TOEFL test was also given to the participants to assess their language proficiency. The participants were then randomly divided into 4 groups: 2 experimental groups (20 females in class A and 20 males in class B) and 2 control groups (20 females in class C and 20 males in class D). The portfolio assessment was integrated into the experimental groups to explore whether and to what extent their autonomy might enhance and also to investigate the possible effect of gender on portfolio assessment in writing ability. The portfolio assessment was based on the classroom portfolio model adopted from Hamp-Lyons and Condon (2000), consisting of 3 procedures: collection, selection, and reflection. In contrast, the control groups received the traditional assessment of writing. The data were analyzed using 2 independent samples t tests, mean, and the effect size. The results showed that the portfolio procedures considerably improved the autonomy of the participants. Also, gender had no impact on portfolio assessment.