The APPLE (Assessing Projects and Portfolios for LEarning) Project was a research and development effort focused on answering three key questions:
1) What are effective ways of assessing student performances and project work?
2) How can a student's work on a series of projects be documented and assessed fairly?
3) What is required to implement portfolio assessment to serve as an ongoing tool for the evaluation of programs and students schoolwide?
The APPLE team investigated the use and implementation of project-based portfolio assessment in five elementary and middle schools. The group also documented portfolio approaches in nearly a dozen other schools and provided support and guidance for schools and teachers who were in the process of adopting portfolio assessment. APPLE created a library of portfolios from over twenty different classrooms that was used by teachers across New England. APPLE also established a forum, the New England Regional Assessment Network (NERAN), so that teachers and administrators could share ideas about portfolio assessment. APPLE's methods included interviews and consultations with individual teachers about portfolio implementation, classroom visits, workshops and meetings with school staffs, and interviews with students to review their portfolio work.