Using Competency-based Portfolios as a Pedagogical Tool and Assessment Strategy in MPA Programs

The development and use of the portfolio has become a critical feature of many Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs. The portfolio assignment has grown out of deepened appreciation of learning theory and the application of both performance measurement and management systems in MPA program curricula. The portfolio assignment as part of a capstone experience can contribute to the development of professional practitioners of public service. Based on review of the literature on the use of portfolios in professional degree programs and a case study of two MPA programs, this article seeks to deepen our understanding of the portfolio as an effective pedagogical tool and assessment strategy, and it offers conclusions about best practices in using portfolios.