The European Portfolio Certificate Folder

Click image to see folder
The European Portfolio Certificate (EPC)[1] Folder is a documentation of formal, non-formal and informal learning [2] with respect to knowledge, skills, attitudes and competences [3].

It is divided into three parts and contains:

1 | School leaving certificates from the school and from awarding bodies (pocketed in the left side),

2 | Learning outcome documents including portfolio documents and portfolio awards and certificates as chosen by the student (collected in the centre) and

3 | An overview of educational principles on which the school is based (pocketed in the right side).

The EPC Folder is issued as a school leaving certificate portfolio for students who have completed at least one evaluated portfolio or portfolio certificate and who receive an accredited diploma at EQF [4] level 2 or higher. Without such a diploma, a folder that meets the EPC Standards may still be issued to students if they are at least 15 years old. In this case, it is strongly recommended that the issuing school include competence profile career advice for the student.

Portfolio based assessment indicates competences, motivates learners by showing individual strengths and stimulates self-reflection and entrepreneurship [5], thereby strengthening the individual dimension of lifelong learning.

The European Portfolio Certificate project aims to innovate education by starting or intensifying portfolio work, allowing students leaving secondary school to document their work in a portfolio folder. Students in schools participating in the project are encouraged to pursue learning goals in line with the development of their individual interests, whether by taking up and working on a subject introduced by the teacher, or by selecting and working on a theme under their own initiative. The teacher seeks to assist students in their learning process through a dialogue in which previously formed knowledge and newly-forming knowledge interact to yield a rich and creative outcome. Working with the European Portfolio Certificate can help to re-kindle interest in learning based on the school’s curriculum by enabling a more individualised learning approach where the student’s interest is fully engaged.

Undertaking the work of creating a portfolio goes hand in hand with self-reflection and evaluation. Once completed, a portfolio can then be summarised by a Portfolio Certificate that serves as a convenient statement of important aspects of the learner’s development. The Certificate, together with the portfolio work itself, reveals the capacity of the learner to review, reflect on and evaluate his/her own learning. In addition, portfolio presentations provide social acknowledgement within and beyond the school community and help to build personal competence and self-assurance. Many students will wish to use their European Portfolio Certificate Folder to collect and show evidence of their learning to be used in their continuing journey into other formal education institutions or employment.

The central part of the folder gives room for students to collect portfolios and portfolio certificates of their choice. With space for formal certificates of education in the left flap and an overview of the principles of the educational route taken in the right flap, the EPC Folder can be presented to potential employers or to education institutions which are interested in knowing more about the particular competences our students have brought to light in their lives.

Portfolio work is a practical methodology for engaging the motivation, thinking skills and creative action of young people. The EPC-project is based on this insight. In the hands of sincere educators, it allows for the sparking of the life of the student in a way that can become an unquenchable fire in the soul – a fire that strengthens the student from within, and empowers him/her to engage as a positive individual in a world of growing complexity. Whether you be teacher, student, parent or school administrator, we encourage you to prompt your school to join the worldwide effort towards uplifting educational change.

The general aim of the EPC project and the Comenius EPC Partnership in particular was to develop a pedagogical tool.