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What Are Potfolios?

What Are Portfolios?

A portfolio is an interrelated collection used to demonstrate a student's efforts, progress, and achievements. The portfolio should communicate what has been learned and should include the student?s comments on why the selected items are important. 

The portfolio has a variety of purposes:to enable reflection on the quality of the work 
  • to compile a permanent, long-term record of progress 
  • to provide an understandable picture of the process of the work 
  • to allow the student to share what he/she has learned with other 
  • members of the class or viewers of the portfolio

What Should be in a Portfolio?

Must Have:

  • Evidence of self-exploration or reflection
  • Marks Summary Sheet that includes attendance and lates
  • Table of Contents
  • Label indicating subject and student name
  • Visitor remarks sheet
  • Variety of materials reflecting range of work done in course
  • At least 50% of the portfolio items selected by the student
  • Items that reflect the work of the entire term
  • Career Exploration/World of Work component
  • Take-home Portfolio Evaluation form for all students who do not attend the student-led conference
  • Evaluation component, for the portfolio, built into the overall marking scheme for the subject (weighting determined by department)

Should Have

  • Samples of peer evaluation
  • Decorated title page
  • Take home evaluation sheet to be used at the end of the semester when the student presents the completed portfolio at home
click image to enlarge

Self Assessment in Portfolios

  • Self-reflection develops a set of critical life skills
  • These skills must be taught
  • Selection of material is the beginning of self-reflection. Encouraging the student in this may be accomplished through self-reflection statements, personal checklists, and journal writing
  • Self-reflection makes a portfolio more than just a collection of work.
  • Reflective comments are essential in allowing the viewer to understand the learning process.

Self Reflection Starters

  • This is what I learned...
  • One thing I will do differently is...
  • I selected this for my portfolio because...
  • When you mark this, I want you to notice...
  • I value this piece of work for the following reasons...
  • One thing I can do better is...
  • This assignment shows that I can...
  • Three things I learned in class today...
  • Three things I learned in class yesterday...
  • One thing I learned in this class I will remember 10 years from now is...
  • I would put this mark on this assignment because...
  • Next time I should...
  • If I had to do this over, I would...
  • I plan to...
  • I would like to...
  • I wouldn't like to...
  • I liked doing this because...
  • I can use what I learned to...
  • I still don?t understand...

Sample Reflective Comments

"I didn?t really study for this"

"I am pleased with my success"

"This was the best that I could do"

"This was so easy"

"I did a great job"

"This was the hardest thing I ever did"

"I loved doing this"

"Sorry Mom. This is not something I am proud of"

Hot Ideas

  • Increase the use of peer and self-assessment strategies
  • Take a camera into the classroom
  • Establish what ?quality work? is
  • Encourage students to establish and articulate student-led conference goals
  • Have students include an item from another course in their portfolio showing the application of subject material, skills, or concepts learned in 
  • Find opportunities for students to demonstrate practical skills
  • Role-play a student-led conference
  • Return inferior work with the mark "Not Yet" or "nc."
  • Have students write a thank you letter to the person they did the conference with. 
  • Ensure that the letter includes some reflection in it

Criteria for Assessment

  • Portfolio Cover
  • Table of Contents
  • Completeness
  • Sequence
  • Marks Summary
  • Presentation
  • Grammatical Precision and Format
  • Content of Personal Reflections
  • Personal Reactions to Reflections