Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Erich W. Baumgartner

Third Advisor

Karen Stockton


Problem. Various guidelines for assessment have been developed in an effort to promote academic quality and integrity for educational programs that recognize experiential learning. The purpose of this present study was to determine the extent to which experiential learning and assessment, through portfolio development, help adult students in a graduate-degree program demonstrate graduate-level learning and competency.

Method. This qualitative single-case study used the assessment processes and outcomes elements of the Jackson and Maclsaac process model to analyze the use of reflective practice and the use of portfolios in a graduate education program. Data were triangulated using individual interviews and the analysis of portfolio artifacts, attestations, and documents including reflective and synthesis papers.

Results. The participants’ perspectives of the portfolio as an experiential learning and development tool changed during the portfolio-development process. Each participant shifted from a belief that a portfolio represents experiences, to a belief that a portfolio coupled with reflection represents experiential learning. The process of theoretically informed written reflection allowed the participants to move beyond descriptive accounts of experiences to analyze, assess, interrelate, and synthesize their experiences in relation to their graduate-level learning and competency.

Conclusions. Successful demonstration of graduate-level experiential learning when using a portfolio requires reflection that includes a description of the experience, linkage to the relevant theoretical constructs, and the application of the learning.

Subject Area

Experiential learning, Portfolios in education.


Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."