The ever increasing enrollment of later-life students in institutions of higher learning warrants innovative teaching strategies to promote successful learning outcomes. This article discusses the academic challenges that instructors face and argues in support of an important assessment method, that is, portfolio writing. This novel strategy was adopted as a shift from the traditional essay writing in an undergraduate course in sociology. Scores from students who wrote the portfolio were compared with scores from students who wrote the traditional essay. Analysis revealed increased understanding among portfolio writers. They were better able to conceptualize, acquire and apply knowledge through a wealth of visual aids and real-world experiences. The authors suggest that this assessment method can be successfully adopted across some other disciplines, cultures and countries.