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What you ask your students to include in their learning portfolios will of course depend entirely upon the work you have them produce. When deciding what to require of students in their portfolios, be sure you have a clear idea of your instructional objective for each assignment you require. Quickly and clearly answering the question "why do we have to do this?" will help your students understand how they themselves will benefit from having completed that work and included it in their portfolio.
Crocket (1998) organized these kinds of evidence into five categories.
1. Found samples - Work done to fulfill class assignments, no different than might be done in a class that does not use portfolios, and likely has been graded and returned to the student already.
2. Processed samples - Work that has been graded and returned to the student, but then has been further attended to via a response to the teacher’s comments, analyzing which areas are stronger or weaker, plans for improvement on the next assignment, etc..
3. Reflection assignments - Some kind of reflective statements are included in most portfolios, either assignment-by-assignment and/or as a culminating statement integrating the experience of the course overall.
4. Revisions - After being graded and returned to the student, not every assignment needs to be revised and re-submitted, but for some assignments this makes sense: for example, iterative drafts of papers, designs or artwork.
5. Portfolio projects - These are assignments completed exclusively for inclusion in the portfolio, perhaps to round-out the portfolio for final grading or perhaps because the project took the entire term to complete.
Crockett (1998) offers this list of things you might consider including in your portfolio assignment:
Adapted from: Crocket, T. (1998). The portfolio journey: A creative guide to keeping student-managed portfolios in the classroom. Englewood, CO: Teacher Idea Press.