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Electronic portfolios, as we have now seen, offer a three dimensional view of a potential teaching candidate. Candidate personality in the classroom, empathy for learners, and knowledge of content and its assessment all come alive for administrators as they move through electronic media online or on hard drive.

School principal survey results

Research for this article revealed principals are knowledgeable of web based sites for recruitment but many are not aware that candidates have a web-based portfolio that can help them better assess their job candidacy. However, the research results revealed that principals would welcome such technology. Over 50 percent of the administrators surveyed for this study indicated willingness to download online media to evaluate a teacher’s classroom performance. Of these administrators 74 percent agreed that downloading video clips of the teaching performance would help them make decisions about hiring a candidate.

Administrators want teachers who relate in meaningful ways with students. One administrator surveyed said, “I want to see their teaching presence. Do they have confidence . . ?” Another revealed that teachers should have a “healthy rapport with students.” One administrator echoed a similar concern that any teacher hired must find a “connection with the students.” All of these comments testify that charisma, integrity and empathy are truly the qualities in teachers that administrator look for in possible teacher hires.

Many of the remarks also supported the importance of content knowledge: “I want someone [who] can easily and smoothly differentiate the instruction to meet the needs . . . of learners.” Another example was this comment, “I would, of course, want to see good content knowledge and a command of varied teaching/learning strategies.” Content knowledge shares equal influence with the quality of charisma and poise in the classroom. One relies on the other in meeting the demands of high-stakes testing and motivation for learning.

The survey results from administrators confirmed that they are looking for the quality dimensions in teacher candidates such as candidate personality in the classroom, empathy for learners, and knowledge of content and its assessment. They also demonstrated a willingness to look online for richer evidence of teaching. At this time, however, they continue to pull this rich evidence of quality from resumes, applications and interviews. Unfortunately these tools render only limited evidence of quality. Administrators are left with only a cardiac decision, “I just know in my heart this will be a good teacher for the school.” Such a leap of faith has greater credibility if modulated through performance found in electronic portfolios.

Principals, human resource officers and superintendents have a powerful tool with access to an electronic portfolio. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, Boris Groysberg, and Nitin Nohria (2009) found hiring practices among private sector companies was lacking in objective, innovative hiring practices. By extension many schools also suffer from personal preferences that rarely question traditional practice and often make decisions on false assumption about teacher quality. Using video, assessment planning and reflective artifact from an online platform better inform and better define hiring criteria.


As the production of e-portfolios grows among university graduates, veteran teachers wishing to find new positions will discover electronic presentation portfolios that support their resumes. Practitioners supplying only resumes cannot compete with professional electronic presentations. The multifaceted electronic portfolio allows too much variety of evidence and depth to understanding for teaching, something a two-page resume cannot do.

In summary the online performance portfolio works for both the teacher candidate and the employer. The candidate shows quality practice using the four dimensions defined earlier. The potential employers have concrete evidence of a candidate’s personality in the classroom, empathy for learners, and knowledge of content and its assessment. Employers and hiring authorities have the ability to examine content knowledge and a candidate's ability to use assessment results to inform instruction. The flat one dimensional resume and the self-promoting interview are things of the past.


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Fernandez-Araoz, C., Groysberg, B.,&Nohria, N. (May, 2009), The definitive guide to recruiting in good times and bad. Harvard Business Review , 74-84.

Fullan, M. (2003). The moral imperative of school leadership. Onterio : Corwin Press.

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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea handbook of online instruction and programs in education leadership. OpenStax CNX. Mar 06, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11375/1.24
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