TABLE OF CONTENTS
A WORD ABOUT PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT
- EXERCISE 1
WHAT WOULD YOUR PORTFOLIO LOOK LIKE?
- THE PERSONAL PORTFOLIO
- YOUR PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO
- HIGH SCHOOL PORTFOLIOS
- DESIGNING YOUR PORTFOLIO
- UPON REFLECTION
- YOUR DEFINITION OF A PORTFOLIO
- EXERCISE 2 WHAT GENERAL PORTFOLIO SKILLS DO WE NEED TO TEACH?
- SETTING THE STAGE
- ARCHIVING SAMPLES
- SEQUENCING AND ORGANIZING SAMPLES
- EXERCISE 3
STRATEGIC CURRICULAR or Program Planning QUESTIONS
- SAMPLE SOURCES
- LIMITS TO SOURCES
- REQUIRED SAMPLES--GENERAL TYPE
- REQUIRED SAMPLES--SPECIFIC TYPE
- PROGRAM DESIGNERS
- ORAL PRESENTATION
- AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS
- GRADING PORTFOLIOS
- GRADING SEQUENCE
- AESTHETIC STANDARDS FOR THE FINAL PRODUCT
- AESTHETIC STANDARDS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL SAMPLES
- ARCHIVING FREQUENCY
- ACCESS TO PORTFOLIOS
- WORK TIME OPTIONS--WHERE
- WORK TIME OPTIONS--HOW OFTEN
- CULMINATING EVENT--YES OR NO?
- CULMINATING EVENT-WHEN
- EXERCISE 4
STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR A PROGRAM PROPOSAL (optional)
- OBSTACLES AND CHALLENGES
- BENEFITS ANALYSIS
- EXERCISE 5
DETAILED LESSON PLANNING
- SCOPE AND SEQUENCE OF INSTRUCTION
- THE FIRST LESSON
- END PIECES
(Bibliography & Author Note)
This document is adapted from my Portfolio Design WORKSHOP. The workshop
attempts to provide three valuable experiences. First, participants are
given an opportunity to acquire a new confidence and expertise in
portfolio instruction by conceptualizing how their own sample portfolio
might look (learning by doing). The second major task involves thinking
about specific skills which must be taught to students to help them
develop successful portfolio habits and quality end products. The third
part addresses planning programs and coursework which supports the
production of portfolios.
While this document is not a substitute for taking the class or attending
my workshop, people have reported that the exercises are very helpful.
However, I need to point out that the workshop and several parts of this
document are referenced to my workbook and teacher guide entitled
Creating Portfolios For Success in School, Work, and Life. You may find that you will get more out of this document if you have a copy of
these small volumes handy.
Some of the questions in this document deal with classroom planning and
others explore school-wide or district-wide planning issues. Typical
questions which we'll explore in this document include:
In this document, I will illustrate MY way of teaching portfolio skills. At
times I'll present you with a list of options, and other times a
suggested sequence of steps or skills. In fact, I'll end this document
with suggestions for your very first lesson. I hope that by the end of
this process, you'll be ready to begin a program.
- What should or
could portfolios contain?
- What do you want final portfolios to look
- Do you want to grade individual portfolio samples, the entire
portfolio? If so, who should be involved in the evaluation?
- Who might
you invite to become the audience for your student's portfolios?
will portfolios be stored and accessed?
- Will you choose to organize a
portfolio celebration or presentation by students?
You probably have some specific questions or you may be looking to find
the "best" way to start a portfolio program. However, let me caution you
before going on. While this document (and my books) include some fairly
prescriptive methods, please realize that there is no "correct method" no
"right answers" because there is no single way to make portfolios, no
single way to use them for either instruction or evaluation. Please,
consider my advice within the limits and possibilities of your situation.
Let me conclude with a few excerpts from one of my favorite books about
portfolios, Portfolio Portraits by Donald H. Graves and Bonnie S.
In a few short years, states and school systems have moved from reading
about portfolios to mandating them as evaluation instruments for large
school populations...Early data show their use as a medium for
instruction is more promising. We need to explore the many uses of
portfolios (p.1)...Portfolios mean more than evaluation or
assessment...Portfolios ought to be personal documents of our personal
histories....As Jane Hansen likes to say, a portfolio ought to show who
we are and who we want to be. (p. xii)
If you do use this document, please write to me and let me know. I'm
always interested where my works end up. Let me know if you found this
document useful or if you have any suggestions. Be sure to let me know
the URL of this document. And, if you have any questions, e-mail me at
email@example.com or send me a regular surface letter:
Creek Drive SW
Tumwater, WA 98512
If you want a reply to surface mail,
please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
I created my first portfolio in the mid 1970s for use in seeking
employment as a technology instructor (Industrial Arts teacher). In those
days, using a portfolio in a job hunt was a bit unique for people outside
of the traditional portfolio-fields of arts and finance. During this same
time, I also kept portfolios related to my wood sculpture and painting
interests. In the early 1990s I assembled my third formal portfolio for
painting exhibits in Oregon and Washington.
I now picture portfolios as members of an extended family of "personal
documents" which includes journals, scrapbooks, resumes, and various
types of portfolios. Over the years these types of personal documents
have changed. There are new audiences and new formats and new ways of
sharing information. This evolution is summarized in the following chart:
When I first started teaching English to special needs learners, I found
that my favorite lesson was journal writing. This shocked some of my
peers. I believe that my success in this endeavor was due to the fact
that I had kept journals for over 25 years and in the first introductory
lesson I brought in my own journals. I showed them pages with unsent
letters, drawings, poetry, scribbles, doodles, scrawls of anger, pages
with a single word in the center. My authentic interest in journals
energized my class, and students responded very well to the assignments.
The principle of authenticity carries over into portfolio instruction.
Donald Graves notes how surprised he was to find that administrators and
teachers have never kept a portfolio. Perhaps this is why so many people
believe that a portfolio is nothing more than a folder of graded work
which is reviewed at the end of a grading period.
If on the other hand you create a portfolio about your own profession,
leisure interests, or entire life you'll find that making a portfolio is
very satisfying. You'll also come to realize that portfolio production
involves much more than putting artifacts in a binder; it also requires,
in the words of Don Graves, "tough thinking." For these reasons, I feel
very strongly that teachers need to have produced a portfolio before they
truly guide students in the task.
In preparation for a portfolio workshop, I recently updated three
portfolios. Each one represented a different type. One portfolio was
about my wood carving interests and it belongs to a genre I call
"Personal Portfolios." The second used artifacts from my own 1960s high
school experiences to illustrate a "School Portfolio" product. The last was an
updated version of the original "Professional Portfolio" which I used in my first
search for teaching jobs, almost 20 years ago.
I wrote away to a friend of mine who was writing some new books about
careers and job finding. I described what a fly on the wall would have
seen the night I went through my final assembly of the professional
If you looked in, you would have seen me sitting at a hardwood dining
table, my memorabilia spread before me--each sample tucked into plastic
I'm sitting there gazing over the artifacts of my life, smoking a cigar,
listening to Vivaldi's classic The Four Seasons, and sipping a glass of wine...
I am trying different ways to group my samples... arranging and
re-arranging my personal history. A sense of the journey is stretched out
before me, a feeling of satisfaction percolates through the task.
I concluded that portfolio production was a lot like preparing a resume, but
lots more fun.... In fact, I hadn't experienced this much enjoyment in a
project for some time. I went on to suggest to my colleague that the
portfolio-making experience may prove very beneficial in the career
assessment process. Heaven knows that we need to find ways of injecting
the word "fun" into the lives of those looking for work in today's tough
In my workshops, we generally spend the morning discussing issues and
this is followed by a period where people plan and assemble sample or
actual portfolios. At the conclusion of the process we discuss how one
might go about planning a portfolio program in the classroom or at any
other level such as department or district-wide.
I think you will find your efforts and time well spent. To help you get
started on making your own portfolio, do Exercise #1.
A WORD ABOUT PORTFOLIO ASSESSMENT
I must confess my bias right here. I feel that if we limit portfolios to
large-scale assessment, then we may be verging on trivializing the entire
portfolio experience. Evaluators will want to standardize portfolios in
order to make comparisons easier between different classes or schools. As
a result, the content will be standardized and the portfolio will tell a
story more about schools and less about the individual students.
Instead, I wish to advocate for student-centered portfolios where the
choice of what goes into the portfolio is the student's, or at the very
least, it becomes a shared decision between teacher and student.
Portfolios offer their greatest promise when they are used to help
students engage in a meaningful self-assessment of their own talents,
learning, goals, and accomplishments.
In the end, it is worth noting that the word "portfolio" simply refers to
a portable book or holding device. In other words, let us continue to
explore the different uses of portfolios and not limit the concept to
assessment, or employability or any other singular dimension.
I think everyone has a story to tell, and a portfolio is an excellent way
to package the story. For over two decades, I have enjoyed chronicling,
celebrating, and summarizing my learning and talents in portfolios,
resumes, and journals. I know kids will too. And, I believe that
portfolios can greatly enhance the learning and evaluation experience
embedded in the schooling process.
WHAT WOULD YOUR PORTFOLIO LOOK LIKE?
The first step is to review your preconceived notions of portfolios. This
process begins with three lists wherein you outline possible samples you
might include in a professional, personal, and high school portfolio.
Then, you are asked to choose one of the three lists to guide you in
making your own portfolio. As you review the process, you'll have a
better sense of what it takes to make one, the skills you might use or
teach, and the content that could prove meaningful.
1) THE PERSONAL PORTFOLIO
This kind of portfolios is done "just for you." It's like a scrapbook of
things that interest you... Perhaps a graduating student would want to
create a "yearbook" type of portfolio to sum up the years of public
school, an aspiring painter might like to collect photographs of favorite
paintings and paint chips that show you which colors to mix. What do you
think I included in my Personal Portfolio about wood carving?
I included guide sheets for sharpening various chisels, sketches of
designs used by old masters, lists of wood stains and wood types, project
sheets showing how to carve different items like anatomy or flowers,
abstract designs, and personal notes about carving with mixed media. In
other words, some things were models, others instructions, still others
were simply ideas for future work. It became like another tool, sitting
amidst the wood chips on my carving bench.
Think about an area of personal interest which you would enjoy
chronicling in a scrapbook or portfolio. List seven to ten items or
artifacts you might include in a portfolio.
2) YOUR PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO
A professional or expert portfolio might be used in the search for a new
employer or customers. Professional portfolios need to be well designed,
carefully planned, and presented in an organized and aesthetically
Suppose the principal or your supervisor called you in and asked that you
bring a portfolio of your current work. What would you include? What
would a professional portfolio for your job look like? Assume it would be
reviewed by peers and supervisors. What would you want to include?
Do any of the following experiences suggest themselves to you:
List seven to ten things you might include in a professional portfolio.
Your most successful lessons, as measured by student grades.
Your most satisfying lessons as measured by either your gut feeling, or lessons that went smoothly as planned.
Your best lesson based on its popularity with students.
Lessons you liked, but didn't work, and you want to revise. Or your most difficult lesson.
A lesson that might lead to a product for a portfolio.
What about your professional contributions beyond your normal work hours or duties? Do you participate in organizations, volunteer time, sit on advisory boards, attend conferences, train or mentor others, belong to
Could you find samples related to classroom discipline and expectations or working with families and community agencies.
Finally, do you have examples which illustrate how you remain in touch with current teaching practices or new trends? Could you include samples which show your commitment to your own life long learning?
3) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT PORTFOLIOS
The primary purpose of a student portfolio is to demonstrate what has
been learned in a given class or across a certain part of your school
career. Your portfolio might include samples of a process or procedure
you have mastered, an effort you have made, or specific knowledge or
skills you have acquired. Consider the following examples.
Think back to when you were the age of your students. What examples might
you be able to include? Visualize what you have stashed away in old
scrapbooks, yearbooks, or attics.
Think next about students in your school. Consider what students do in
your class and in the school in general. What kinds of general learning
experiences should be documented. For instance, do you want examples of
cooperative behavior, critical thinking, goal setting, study skills? What
about unfinished or rough samples which show how a student improved a
product by re-working or revising it? Will you want portfolios to include
examples of contributions to the school or community and demonstrations of
citizenship or leadership?
Many kids do their most energetic learning outside of school. It might
include independent-study about a sport, music, hobby, computers,
animals, you name it. Likewise, some of their finest examples of applying
knowledge might come from participating in church, scouts, art or music
groups. Will there be an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility
through work inside or outside the home. Some students regularly
demonstrate responsibility at home, pitching in or even playing the role
of a surrogate parent, while others hold down part-time jobs.
List seven to ten things you might want to include in a student portfolio
today at your school. Alternately, you could list samples from your past,
when you were the same age as your students.
4) DESIGNING YOUR PORTFOLIO
Choose from one of the three previous lists (Personal, Professional, or
Student Portfolios) the kind of portfolio you might try next. As an
alternative, you can create a portfolio for a symbolic student who
represents the kinds of kids you teach today. The resulting portfolio
could be used as a sample in your first portfolio lesson. The sample will
heighten the credibility of the lesson.
Spend a weekend reviewing your old clippings, report cards, photos, year
books, college papers, certificates, awards, and other historical
doo-dads. Look through old folders, range through the attic or basement,
and don't forget boxes in the garage. Then, assemble your momentoes in a
portfolio-type-scrapbook. This process will also help you appreciate the
complexity of the challenge. You'll gain a new confidence in teaching
portfolio making skills.
Your portfolio should include the following three elements:
Front Matter includes an introduction and table, acknowledgment, and
a table of contents. The table of contents must reflect some kind of
organizational scheme. Many people simply organize items chronologically.
Others will prefer to group the samples by type of skill or experience.
Still others will organize items by common threads of experience or
themes in their life. The introduction tells the reader something about
the author and gives a brief overview highlighting for the reader the
most important things to be found in the portfolio.
Middle Part contains from 5 to 15 samples or artifacts. Each page
should include a title, the actual sample or artifact, and some
commentary or caption which gives additional detail. If you don't have
room on each page for all of this, just put a title by each sample. Then
place a title page and background or introductory material before each
group of similar samples.
Back matter summarizes the portfolio experience. It often tells what
you learned about yourself in the process of creating the portfolio. This
piece is optional in Professional Portfolios.
5) UPON REFLECTION
We ask students to reflect upon their experiences, to tell us why they
have chosen to include certain samples in their portfolio. At this point,
you are asked to consider what portfolio-making has meant to you. Answer
any or all of the following questions briefly.
What aspect of making a portfolio did you enjoy? How did you feel when
you were done? If you did not enjoy it, tell why. If your attitude about
portfolios changed, tell how.
Who might you share your portfolio with; who might be interested in seeing it?
What skills did you use to make the product? For example, did you use skills related to desktop publishing or design, archiving and sorting, analyzing, writing, goal setting, etc.?
What do you think is the value of making a portfolio?
What do you think might be the benefits of using a portfolio in your class or school?
What skills might you want to teach students who are being asked to prepare a quality portfolio?
6) YOUR DEFINITION OF A PORTFOLIO
We have defined a Personal, Professional, and School based Portfolio.
What is your definition? (To help you think broadly about the topic,
additional information is provided from the dictionary, an NEA portfolio
book, and my own book.)
TRADITIONAL, DICTIONARY-based definition (MacMillan and Webster)
- Port- to move Folio- papers
- A portable case for holding loose papers,
drawings, documents and similar materials.
SCHOOL BASED Portfolios (Taken from the NEA book Student Portfolios)
A record of learning that focuses on a student's work and often on his or
her reflection on that work. Materials may be collected by the student or
in collaboration with teachers, parents, and others.
Literacy portfolio--focuses on literacy or language progress
Descriptive portfolio--demonstrates various skills a student can do,
but does not attempt to evaluate the work according to set criteria.
Showcase portfolio--record of learning that shows or celebrates the
work a student has completed. The student selects what goes into the
portfolio. No evaluation takes place.
Evaluative Portfolio--Every sample (and the entire portfolio) is subject to evaluation.
KIMELDORF LIFE-STORY--The emphasis is on creating a portfolio which
highlights your achievements, contributions, passions, and interests.
A portfolio is a collection of samples that communicate your interests
and give evidence of your talents. You use your portfolio to show others
what you have learned, accomplished, or produced. You can think of your
portfolio as a special-purpose autobiography.
There is no one "right" way to build a portfolio. In the past, most
portfolios came in binders, leather carrying cases, or scrapbooks. They
might have been accompanied by boxes to hold objects. Today you might
include computer disks, multimedia CD-ROMs, videos, and audio recordings.
On the following lines, write your definition, as you understand the word
"portfolio" at this time.
EXERCISE 2 WHAT GENERAL PORTFOLIO SKILLS DO WE NEED TO TEACH?
I have seen two general results in classroom portfolio projects as
represented in the stories of Clyde and Matilda.
Clyde never made it to the portfolio in-service, but he did pick up the
hand-outs. He told his class that they needed to collect their work and
make a portfolio at the end of the term. Every so often he'd write on a
returned paper "put in your portfolio." As midterm approached many
students had fewer than ten samples, and they asked for examples of
things they might include. Clyde suggested that they look for examples
that represented their best work, critical thinking, and a learning goal.
At the end of the term, three days before the parent conferences,
students began to assemble their final portfolios. Most kids had
collected material from Clyde's class. Several folders appeared skimpy,
or simply contained returned, graded papers. During a typical conference,
when asked why a paper was included, they usually replied, "I got my best
grade on this paper."
Clyde's approach is not the recommended one because his students were not
challenged to think creatively nor critically about their learning, their
lives, or their accomplishments. They simply performed a clerical task of
storing and retrieving documents. Clyde employed what I call the
Matilda began differently. She brought in a sample of her own portfolio.
She asked kids to guess what was in it. She got across the idea that a
portfolio is like an autobiography or resume. She asked her students to
collect the following samples: an example of a challenge you had to face,
a paper you had to revise or re-work to get a good grade, proof that you
help others, and three samples of work from her class which represent
learning a new skill, and at least one example of learning or achievement
outside of school.
She found that even these initial directions were not enough. Students
wanted examples of what they could collect to show a challenge they had
faced. The class talked and then created lists of typical problems or
challenges students faced in the social sphere (friends, peers, and
family), academic (grades, deadlines, competition, testing), and the
physical arena (sports, dieting, acne, fitness, addiction). Eventually,
they made the connection to personal challenges they had faced (like
illness, bravery, being lost, rejecting peer pressure, handling tough
assignments, physical labor or jobs, etc.).
Students had to turn in two samples each week to earn points towards the
total portfolio grade. In the fifth week students were shown how to
analyze their samples. They were asked to put them into groups according
to type of skill shown. Students would analyze if a given sample showed
they had demonstrated a skill working mostly with people, information, or
things. In the sixth week each student selected final samples and wrote
an outline. From here they practiced writing descriptions of the sample,
drafted introductions, and wrote in their journal about each sample.
Finally, everything came together. The teacher let each student type
captions and titles on a computer which were laser printed and pasted
onto plastic sheet protectors. Decorated covers came next. During the
conferences students spoke with enthusiasm about their efforts to
construct a portfolio. They explained how each sample demonstrated a
skill, challenge or contribution. They told what each sample had meant to
them personally and they ended by stating goals for either careers or
learning. Students found they could re-use their outlines to guide their
oral presentations during the parent-school conference week.
Matilda recognized that she had to model certain behaviors, teach skills,
edit, and interact with students. Her story is my way of briefly
illustrating the sequence of skills which I have put into my student
workbook Creating Portfolios For Success in School, Work, and Life.
This sequence will now be reviewed, with each step referenced to a
specific set of pages. If you have a copy of the book, you will be able
to find each step illustrated in greater detail. The teacher guide also
includes additional examples and suggestions.
7) SETTING THE STAGE
To set the stage for the learner, you need to plant the seed of
possibilities. I suggest reviewing the different kinds of people who
would benefit from or enjoy making a portfolio. For instance, why would
an athlete want to make a portfolio? Then I ask the class what the
athlete might put in one.
Next, it is critical to help students begin assessing their own interests
and accomplishments. This is like resume writing and as you might recall,
it is not an easy step, but it is crucial. Again, my student workbook
contains several prompts or questions which help students identify their
proudest moments or their passions.
With a sense of purpose and a sense of self established, you can then add
the specific items you would like to have included from your course. It
is at this point where you need to inject specific requirements for your
student's portfolio. Please try to balance your requirements against the
opportunity of letting the student select what is important to him or
her. Keep in mind that the most powerful portfolio includes examples from
both inside and outside of school.
Examples of the types of things that
could be included in a portfolio can be found in the workbook on pages
Questions which help students examine their own talents can be
found on pages 23-29.
The opportunity to spell out specific class
requirements is found on pages 14-17.
In addition, it will be helpful to cover the expectations of their
potential audience. Teachers are advised to think this out in advance.
8) ARCHIVING SAMPLES
The habit of collecting and archiving samples needs to be modeled and
practiced. I recommend asking students to turn in a weekly log (as shown on pages 30-34).
9) ANALYZING SAMPLES
With the samples collected in a working folder, students next select
their final samples for inclusion in their final portfolio. This is a
good time to ask kids to think about criteria which will be used in
judging the final product. First, examine your potential audience and
their expectations (see pages 37-38). Second, consider the grading
criteria (pages 38-39) and finally consider the common skills or traits
in your samples (pages 40-42).
10) SEQUENCING AND ORGANIZING SAMPLES
With samples analyzed and selected, the task turns to sequencing or
ordering the samples. This is an organizational activity. Writing an
outline serves this purpose (and is illustrated on pages 45 to 50).
The most common form of publishing is a printed or hard-copy document,
though portfolios can be organized as displays or embedded in electronic
media. Regardless of the final form or medium, some kind of written
outline or plan forms the foundation for the final portfolio product. One
must decide upon supporting information such as titles and descriptions
of samples which often take the form of captions. (This process is
illustrated on pages 51 to 60.)
The last step in publishing results in producing front and back matter.
Front matter includes a title, introduction, acknowledgment, table of
contents. Back matter includes concluding materials which engage the
student in self-evaluation and/or goal setting and reflection. (Pages 61
to 67 cover these skills.)
If you want students to orally present their portfolio they'll need
to think about the skills or preparation that goes into a presentation.
(This is covered a bit on pages 69 to 71.) Alternately, one could simply
display portfolios or add a celebration into the agenda.
EXERCISE 3 STRATEGIC CURRICULAR OR PROGRAM PLANNING QUESTIONS
Now we'll examine a set of questions which will help you define exactly
what you want your portfolio program to look like. These questions can
help you summarize your current thoughts about establishing or refining a
portfolio program where you teach or work. After each question you'll
find some examples or prompts, but please don't feel limited to these
13) SAMPLE SOURCES
Where do you think student portfolio samples should come from? Look over
the following examples for ideas.
Your classroom and curriculum.
Your discipline, department or block program.
Outside of school.
14) LIMITS TO SOURCES
Are there any outside boundaries defining the limits of an acceptable
sample? Do you want only samples which show the student's best work,
proudest moments, or highest performance? Alternately, can you consider
rough drafts, "works in progress," beginning attempts, corrected work,
experimental work? Will you allow self-graded work or ungraded work from
school? (Obviously if you allow items outside of school, grades are not a
15) REQUIRED SAMPLES--GENERAL TYPE
Can you think of the general types of samples you would like students to
include in their portfolios? (You need not be specific here because the
next question will ask you to list any specific lessons or learning
samples you want included.) In this question think of the general traits
you hope students will include in their portfolios. This might include
traits related to work habits, citizenship, community, life-long
learning, critical thinking, computing, etc.
16) REQUIRED SAMPLES--SPECIFIC TYPE
Do you have a specific sample or item you want to see in each student's
portfolio? This is the time to prescribe specific assignments or types of
17) PROGRAM DESIGNERS
Who should design the portfolio program? First make a list of all the
people you could invite. Then reduce this list to manageable number
(typically less than ten people). People to consider include:
Team of practitioners (department, committee, block group) school wide
Team of practitioners district wide
College and post-secondary training staff
State education agency
18) ORAL PRESENTATION
Will you ask your students to share or present their portfolios? If you
answer "yes," who would you like to invite to see the student portfolios?
A list of suggestions is found next.
Student creator and teacher.
Other teachers in your discipline.
Other teachers outside your discipline.
Future or next year's teachers
(high school, college, training programs).
Community representatives (ad hoc or from agencies and enterprises).
People invited by the student.
19) AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS
How do you want to involve your audience in the process? What do you want
them to do?
Listen to students
evaluate portfolios or the presentations
Ask questions and offer
20) GRADING PORTFOLIOS
How will you grade the portfolio effort? Some options to consider
The entire product will be graded using a rubric spelling out criteria for appearance and completeness.
Selected samples will
be graded individually
Specific skills will be graded using a rubric
or other pre-determined standard
It will not be graded
student's self-evaluation will be graded for accuracy by comparing it to
a second evaluator's score for a matching validity.
21) GRADING SEQUENCE
Do you want to give one all-or-nothing grade at the end, or use Matilda's
process of grading in progressive steps towards completion (e.g., earning
points along the way for turning in 10 working samples, completing an
outline, creating the entire package, making a presentation, etc.)
22) AESTHETIC STANDARDS FOR THE FINAL PRODUCT
Publishers establish aesthetic standards for their books, and as a
result, their products are recognized or associated with a certain "look
and feel." Similarly, a portfolio may appear more aesthetically pleasing
if the product has a consistent or unified look. Otherwise, it may appear
as a hodge-podge collection. You must address the question of appearance
early on. Just like a publisher, you might want your school's portfolios
to share a similar style or "look and feel." Alternately, you must weigh
this against the point of view states that all portfolios should be
unique both in content and appearance. Begin by establishing a minimum
set of elements for each portfolio. Look at the following list and
consider which items are minimally needed.
Table of contents
Introduction or overview
Page number or other navigating system for accessing samples.
Conclusion or reflection statement.
23) AESTHETIC STANDARDS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL SAMPLES
What about individual portfolio samples, should they have a unified style
or common look? Are there certain things you want included in each
sample? What must minimally accompany each sample?
Student evaluation of the sample's value or purpose
24) ARCHIVING FREQUENCY
How often should students be expected to archive materials or add to
25) ACCESS TO PORTFOLIOS
Who will have access to portfolios?
Who is responsible for storing portfolios? Where will this be done?
27) WORK TIME OPTIONS--WHERE
When will students work on their portfolios?
In a specific class like __________________________ (e.g., English).
In a block class like __________________________ . During a
special activity or advisory period like _______________________ .
Totally outside of school.
28) WORK TIME OPTIONS--HOW OFTEN
How much time should students be given to work on their portfolio in
One period or hour per day.
One period or hour per week.
One period or hour per month.
29) CULMINATING EVENT--YES OR NO?
What kind of culminating event would you like to see?
Parent and teacher conference
Peers or class review
Review committee (chosen by school).
Review committee (chosen by student).
Review committee (chosen by ______________________)
Presentation and celebration.
30) CULMINATING EVENT-WHEN
When could portfolios be shared, evaluated, and presented?
During teacher prep periods?
Special days where school closes down and conferences are scheduled?
EXERCISE 4 STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR A PROGRAM PROPOSAL (OPTIONAL)
This is your chance to do some strategic planning, analyzing debits or
obstacles and benefits. As a result, you'll be able to develop a rational
or proposal for more resources, times, or training to support the
planning, design, and coordination of your portfolio program. This is an
important step if you are planning anything beyond a single classroom or
single discipline such as a school-wide portfolio program.
31) OBSTACLES AND CHALLENGES
Every new undertaking has obstacles or challenges. List issues or
problems which you feel might come up, or which need to be addressed. A
sample list of thorny issues follows (see items labeled a to d). Look
over the list and try to identify 3 to 5 of the most important challenges
or issues which must be addressed. After you review the three groups
shown next (a to c) underline the three to five most pressing challenges
you will face. Put them in order of difficulty. Starting with the least
difficult challenge, get input from others or brainstorm alternatives for
each problem. This does not mean you have to solve the issue, only that
you need to be able to pose the problem and begin investigating your
creative options or work-arounds.
Leadership & Time Issues
The program needs to have a leader or coordinator who is given some time
off from classroom duties to get our portfolio project off the ground.
We do not have a clear place in our current curriculum or schedule where
portfolio making skills will be taught.
We need an alternative schedule or some special non-teaching days which allow community people to participate in portfolio presentations.
We need an alternative schedule
or some special non-teaching days which allow us to community people
participate in portfolio presentations. We can't teach and host
presentations at the same time.
We need time to evaluate portfolios,
especially if we involve a team.
We are experiencing resistance or
reactions to the "mandating" of portfolios.
We are not getting support
There is not enough time to assess portfolios. We need time to more
clearly define what should go in portfolios as a
We need to establish criteria if we are
going to grade or compare portfolios.
Parents, colleges, or the school
district want hard data like standardized scores. This limits portfolios as a means of
evaluation. Therefore, we need to consider ______________.
Technique, logistics and confidence issues
We feel that we need from more training or technical assistance.
We would like to team teach portfolios as we build our expertise.
We are still feel a bit unsure about the details pertaining to the "how,
where, who" of storage.
32) BENEFITS ANALYSIS
In the end, what do you hope will be the final benefits of your portfolio
program? Some examples are listed next.
Reinforces instruction and
Makes evaluation more meaningful.
develop school or career goals.
Showcases student talents.
Promotes self-evaluation and self-awareness.
Promotes creativity, self-expression.
Encourages critical thinking.
Recognizes learning outside of school.
Links learning to "real world" activities.
Satisfies a mandate.
EXERCISE 5 DETAILED LESSON PLANNING
If you are a teacher, and if you get this far in this document, then you
are probably ready to consider the scope and sequence of future portfolio
33) SCOPE AND SEQUENCE OF INSTRUCTION
What might be a general sequence of portfolio lessons you'd like to
follow? If you work with teaching staffs describe the process you will
use to create a portfolio system. (This general list should include about
10 to 15 steps).
You might want to review the skills listed in "EXERCISE
2--WHAT GENERAL PORTFOLIO SKILLS DO WE NEED TO TEACH?."
34) THE FIRST LESSON
What would you do for your first lesson or sessions? How will you
introduce the topic? (Will you use your own portfolio? What will you tell
students? What activity might you use?) Three recommended activities are
- Discuss the different reasons why people keep portfolios.
10 to 11 in the student workbook)
- Demonstrate what a portfolio could look like.
Show your samples or
those of other students.
Just show the title or cover and ask people to
guess what is inside.
- Spell out any specific samples you will want included in the
END PIECES (Bibliography & Author Note)
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF USEFUL INFORMATION
Articles and monographs by Judith A. Arter: "Using Portfolios of Student
Work in Instruction and Assessment," Educational Measurement: Issues and
Practice, Spring 1992, pp. 36-44. "Portfolio Resources" (an annotated
bibliography of information about portfolios), Northwest Regional
Educational Laboratory, 101 S.W. Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204.
Career-Technical Assessment Project (C-TAP) Portfolio Guidebooks (San
Francisco: Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development.
1994). Together this student-and-teacher guidebook and teacher's guide
form a comprehensive program which can be used by teachers and schools to
help develop a portfolio-assessment system which demonstrates how
student's talents translate into career and work world realities. Copies
are available at a nominal price. Write to: Far West Laboratory for
Educational Research and Development, California Department of Education,
730 Harrison St., San Francisco, CA 94107.
How To Prepare Your Portfolio by Ed Marquand (New York: Art Direction
Book Company, 1981). Originally written for students and artists.
Although it emphasizes pre-desktop technology, it includes many good tips
about organization and assembly.
Portfolio News. A quarterly publication that includes articles about
portfolios in various disciplines (Elementary through University), book
reviews, resources, and listings of portfolio projects around the
country. For subscription information, write to: Editor, Portfolio News,
Teacher Ed-UC at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093-0070
Portfolio Portraits by Donald H. Graves and Bonnie S. Sunstein (Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann Educational Books Inc., 1992). Covers a wide range of
portfolio issues and topics; examines classroom practices from elementary
school through college; includes individual case studies and an
interesting chapter about definitions of the word "portfolio." The
opening essay by Donald H. Graves is must reading.
Process and Portfolios in Writing Instruction, edited by Kent Gill, and
Portfolios in the Classroom, edited by Kathleen Yancy (Urbana, IL:
National Council of Teachers of English, 1993). Compilations of ideas
from various teachers about using portfolios in the classroom; different
models; types of assessments; and the connection between portfolios and
Creating Portfolios For Success in School, Work, and Life;
Teacher's Guide to Creating Portfolios. Martin
Kimeldorf. Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 400 First Avenue North, Suite
616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730, or call 1-800-735-7323.
Portfolio Power : The New Way to Showcase All Your Job Skills and Experiences. Petersons. This book is intended for an adult audience
serving new graduates to professionals with much work experience.
Petersons, Princeton, NJ. 1-800-225-0261.
The ScrapBook Curriculum ToolKit by Emery Roth II. A carefully indexed,
70-page reference book describing the online "ScrapBook Writing Project"
The work is richly illustrated with numerous examples of students'
writings and teacher observations. This book is now being transformed
into a new format on the Web. For information about this project and the
latest creative meanderings of Emery Roth contact him at ESHTooter@aol.com
Student Portfolios by Laura Grosvenor, et al. (Washington, DC: National
Education Association, 1993). The first in a new series of NEA
Teacher-to-Teacher Books, published by the NEA Professional Library,
presents six first-person stories of classroom teachers using portfolios
for both presentation and alternative assessment.
The Walkabout Papers:
Challenging Students to Challenge Themselves by Dr. Maurice Gibbons
(Vancouver, BC: EduServe Inc., 1990). Describes the "challenge" method of
education wherein students develop expertise and confidence in the
pursuit of a personally chosen challenge.
What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed
Press, revised yearly). The best selling (and best) book on the topic of
"parachuting" onto your best career path. Must reading if you want
students to include occupational or career samples in their portfolios.
Write Into a Job by Martin Kimeldorf (Bloomington, IL: Meridian Education
Corp., 1990). This book on resume writing is a natural follow-up to
OTHER BOOKS BY KIMELDORF
Community Service Learning Packet is a 30-page booklet designed to help
students identify the benefits of volunteering, assess their community
service interests, and develop a personal vision of how they can make a
difference. The material is based on the author's research about youth
service in Washington State as reported in Imagine...Youth Service. For
more information, write to the author c/o Free Spirit Publishing Inc.,
400 First Avenue North, Suite 616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730.
Educator's Job Search is a quick-and-easy, step-by-step method for
job-hunting teachers. The steps and examples illustrate how to identify
marketable skills, network for leads, write effective rŽsumŽs and
letters, prepare for interviews, plan effective follow-up, and more.
Write to: National Education Association. 1201 16th St. N.W., Washington,
Expanding Work Opportunities is a series of three mini-workbooks which
helps young people explore and identify their talents in three different
areas: finding neighborhood employment (grades 6-9), introduction to
volunteer service (grades 7-12), and an exploration of entrepreneurship
(grades 9-12). Write to: Educational Design, 345 Hudson St, NYC, NY
Job Search Education effectively translates the self-directed job club
model into a classroom-tested curriculum. Includes detailed instructions
about all phases of job finding: self-assessment, networking, writing
letters, collecting important documents, telephoning for job leads,
interviewing, etc. Write to: Educational Design, 47 W. 13th, New York, NY
Looking for Leisure in All the Right Places is a workbook about expanding
leisure opportunities. It helps students focus on healthy choices in a
world plagued by drug abuse, unsafe sex, gang affiliation, teen suicide
and alienation. After teaching students about the dangers of poor
choices, we need to help them discover what they can say "yes" to.
Work Journal helps students sharpen their critical observation and
reflective-thinking habits about the success factors needed on a job.
Students analyze employers' personalities and evaluation roles, coworker
relationships, stress and humor on the job, and various job survival
tactics. Write to: EBSCO Curriculum Materials, Box 1943, Birmingham, AL
Exciting Writing, Successful Speaking: Activities to Make Language Come
Alive and A Teacher's Guide to Exciting Writing, Successful Speaking
(both Free Spirit Publishing, 1994) explores various applications of
writing and speaking including cooperative learning projects, creative
visualizations, poetry games, theater games, script writing, journal
writing, short report writing, designing surveys, advertising,
speechmaking, newsletter publishing, and student-oriented composition
topics. Available from Kids In Between 1-800-481-2799.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martin Kimeldorf is the author of over 15 books and reports on the topics
of job finding, leisure finding, community service, journal writing, and
recreational drama, and portfolios. He holds Bachelor of Science degrees
in technology education and in liberal arts from Oregon State University and
a Master's Degree in special education from Portland State University. He
has taught in public schools, prisons, and colleges. He received the
Literati Award from the International Journal of Career Management for
Best Paper of the Year and has won other awards for teaching and
playwriting. His hobbies include wood carving, painting, and magic.
Martin lives with his wife, Judy, and their dog, Mitzi, in Tumwater,