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Portfolios for Student Growth

An Overview and Teacher/Staff Guide: "Everything You Need to Know"

What is Portfolios for Student Growth?
Portfolios for Student Growth (PSG) is a holistic, student-centered, process-led approach to portfolio development.  PSG offers educators a way to guide students to explicitly link academic learning with future planning and goal setting. Through the portfolio process, students develop the self-awareness, goal-setting, and decision-making skills essential for lifelong self-determination.

How Does Portfolios for Student Growth Promote Active Student Learning?
Using Portfolios for Student Growth, students are actively involved in a process of taking responsibility for their own learning and life plan as they:

  • examine a broad range of their own work collected over time
  • analyze and assess their own progress
  • plan and manage their time to complete the work
  • integrate diverse experiences in and out of the classroom
  • make decisions about future goals based on evidence and criteria

How Can Portfolios for Student Growth Apply to Students in My School or Program?
PSG is valuable for:

  • Creating an individual, class, or school portfolio process
  • Enriching a portfolio process already in existence
  • Sharing information about students with families and other educators
  • Fostering student empowerment and self-determination

PSG can be implemented in a variety of schools and program settings. 

  • Residential and day-schools for deaf and hard of hearing students
  • Inclusive and mainstream classrooms in public schools
  • Resource rooms and other support service environments
  • Independent study and senior project courses

PSG can serve a variety of functions:

  • A hub for student growth, reflection, and planning in all aspects of a student's school experience.

PSG is appropriate for use with ALL students.

What Can I Use on This Web Site?
Just below, you will find guides, information, and materials about Portfolios for Student Growth.  All materials here were developed by teachers and staff for use with students.  Included is an extensive collection of reflection forms, rubrics, tips and related materials for each outcome that can be used as is, or adapted to your school or program.  They are a "work-in-progress" and will continue to evolve as we use and refine them to better meet student needs.

(The links below will take you to the appropriate section lower down on the page.)

For High School:

Introduction to the Portfolio

The Professional Process

The Student Process

The Student Portfolio Product

Frequently Asked Questions


Portfolio Forms and Materials for High School

For Middle School:

Portfolio Forms and Materials for Middle School


For Elemetary School:

Portfolio Forms and Materials for Elementary School

Why Student Portfolios?
Portfolios offer the opportunity to observe and document a wide range of student behaviors, skills, and learning over an extended period of time. When combined with our five clearly defined outcomes, they are a powerful tool for analyzing, assessing, and promoting academic progress and personal growth. The portfolio enables the student, educators and families to analyze capabilities, focus on strengths, and develop compensatory strategies for underdeveloped areas, and plan for the future. Portfolios serve as the hub for integrating the diverse experiences students have both in and out of the classroom. Using portfolios, students examine a broad range of their own work, collected over time, to assess their own progress. They then use that information to assist with decision making as they make those crucial choices concerning their future. In this way, students become actively involved in a process of taking responsibility for their own learning and life plan.

Portfolios are a product, and they are also a process, both for the professionals who guide them and for the students who complete them. Portfolios for Student growth encompasses three phases:

  • The Professional Process - discussions among professionals leading to a common understanding of portfolios and the portfolio process
  • The Student Process - the short and long term planning, management, and completion of portfolio requirements
  • The Student Product - the tangible collection of evidence

This guide will provide you with information about implementing Portfolios for Student Growth at your school or program. Each of the three phases will be covered in separate sections with explanations about working with your teams and your students. The main guide is followed by forms and materials containing examples of all portfolio forms and materials mentioned in the text.

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Portfolios begin with the educators in the school. For student portfolios to be a reflection of all aspects of a student's life, a shared understanding about the purpose, value, and process of portfolios is a critical first step.

The professional process is the series of dialogues, work sessions, and hands-on experiences that lead to a common understanding of the value of student portfolios, the role of the educator and the student in the portfolio process, and the portfolio itself. Because parts of the portfolio address all aspects of students' school and life experience, these professional discussions encourage a more holistic view of students.

Through the professional process, educators share ideas about the value of student portfolios and their role in promoting student achievement, independence and responsibility. Educators need to discuss their crucial role as an advisor in shaping this process. Clearly defining the concept of the portfolio advisor is a critical part of the professional process.

The role of the portfolio advisor is to guide students through the portfolio process. In order to do this, the advisor must first develop a thorough understanding of the context, rationale, goals, and the overall components of portfolios. To do this effectively, advisors should:

  • have clearly defined student outcomes
  • become familiar with all parts of the portfolio process and product
  • understand your school expectations and procedures - they will vary developmentally
  • assemble a model portfolio with all necessary forms
  • understand the process and product rubric assessment indicators so you can assist students in understanding them

The role of the portfolio advisor is to develop an increasing level of student responsibility and independence. Advisors support students by:

  • ensuring they understand the tasks by providing instruction on portfolio requirements as needed
  • helping students identify and work through their problems to solutions
  • fostering time management skills
  • fostering organizational skills
  • giving students regular feedback on their work and their portfolio process
  • serving as a resource of ideas for students

Students may struggle with some of the work and become frustrated. This is a normal and expected part of the portfolio process. The role of the advisor is to assist students in finding their own solutions to problems. Walk them through a problem solving process:

  • Help them clarify the problem
  • Ask them to explain what they have already tried and why it didn't work
  • Ask them what other ideas or solutions they can come up with
  • Help them choose and apply another solution
  • Monitor their progress

Advisors may need to differentiate requirements to fit student needs. Not all students have developed the necessary literacy and thinking skills to complete all portfolio requirements in the standard manner. As part of the ongoing professional process, advisors will need to discuss how to address this issue with their students. All students are expected to complete a portfolio. Flexibility regarding adapting specific forms or processes may be necessary to address individual needs.

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  • At the beginning of the year, set the tone that the portfolio is a crucial piece of work that requires consistent, concentrated effort. Students will put off doing work because it isn't due until the end of the quarter. Last-minute compilation is not realistic. Students need to develop time-management skills for long-range projects (a skill that will be evaluated using the end-of-the-quarter Process Rubric provided in Forms and Materials).
  • Share the Process and Product Rubrics (provided in the Forms and Materials) with the students at the beginning of the quarter. These are the foundation for the grading process each quarter. Have students discuss the rubric indicators in small groups and rewrite them in their own words.
  • Explain the portfolio process and emphasize its central role in collecting evidence of growth.
  • Help students identify tasks to complete each week to encourage time management skills. Some students may need more assistance and direction in developing this skill. They will need practice and feedback.
  • Monitor overall progress and remind students of deadlines and expectations.
  • Support students as they work through problems, frustrations, and mistakes. Perseverance and problem solving are skills to be developed throughout the portfolio process. Remind the students that their experiences are normal. Share your own experience with a similar struggle.

Since the students will develop a portfolio each year, school-wide consistency in setting up the portfolio helps facilitate the process each time a new portfolio is begun. Every teacher/staff should develop their own "model" portfolio to display to the students. This gives the students a clear idea what is expected and allows those who are capable of working independently to assemble the portfolio on their own. This also allows the teacher/staff in charge to assist those students who need more guidance. It also helps the teacher keep all the necessary forms organized.

Let's start by assembling your model portfolio. The following instructions will guide you through the process.

  1. Design a portfolio cover sheet. The cover should be original and colorful, and should include name, grade, and year.
  2. Create a spine label. The label should include name, grade, and year. Can be colored.
  3. Label the tabs of the five dividers according to the student outcomes, such as: Essential Knowledge, Communication, Thinking Skills, Emotional Intelligence, and Life Planning.
  4. Insert dividers in the portfolio along with sheet protectors following your student outcomes. Ideally, the tabs should be visible. One suggestion is to slip each divider into a sheet protector making a slit in the protector were the tab is located to allow the tab to protrude from the plastic. Do this for each divider until all five are completed. Another suggestion is to purchase self-adhesive tabs and adhere them to the sheet protectors.
  5. Make cover sheets for each of the five dividers made in step 4. These cover sheets should be well designed, show creativity, and match the tabs on each divider. Slip each cover sheet into the appropriate divider/protector.
  6. Separate each outcome into five sections: Permanent Portfolio Materials, Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3, and Quarter 4. This can quickly be done on a computer. Make a cover sheet for each of the five sections: Permanent Portfolio Materials, Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3, and Quarter 4. (Or 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter, etc.). Print four copies of each sheet. Slip each cover sheet into a sheet protector. Place one of each into each of the outcome sections.

Insert the forms from the Forms and Materials that you will need for each section into the appropriate location in your portfolio.

Congratulations! You have now completed your "model" portfolio. With this, and the seven steps just outlined, you are now ready to assist your students with assembling their own portfolios.

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The student process involves short and long-term planning, management, and completion of portfolio requirements. The student process fosters skill development and provides practice in the areas of time and resource management, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, accepting and considering feedback, review and revision, and self-assessment.

Throughout the portfolio process students have the opportunity to learn about themselves in relation to the student outcomes. They assess their skills, interests, and abilities and reflect on their growth and progress in all facets of their lives. Self-reflection is an integral part of the portfolio process and an essential skill for problem solving and life planning.

Students learn responsibility and independence by developing their portfolios. As they learn about themselves and practice the different facets of portfolio development and management, they assume more responsibility for meeting portfolio requirements. If, initially, they do not manage their time well they have an opportunity to reflect on the situation, problem-solve, and make plans to improve. Throughout the portfolio process students have the opportunity to apply what they learn to goals they have set related to their portfolio and, ultimately, to post-secondary planning.

As students develop their portfolios, they learn, first hand, about the portfolio's purpose and their own responsibility in meeting portfolio expectations. They develop a shared understanding with the educators who support them, and apply concepts from the portfolio to school, work, and community expectations.

The portfolio process is designed to help students become self-directed, independent, resourceful learners. The goal is for students to internalize and develop competency in the student outcome areas. At the Clerc Center, we have identified five Student Outcome:

  • Essential Knowledge
  • Communication
  • Thinking Skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Life Planning (see Clerc Center Student Outcomes in the Forms and Materials).

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The goal of the portfolio process is for students to assume increasing levels of responsibility for their own learning and growth. Given the collection of data they amass, we expect students to interact with it to develop a variety of skills.

  • Evidence collection
  • Time management
  • Problem solving/Goal-setting
  • Evaluation and application of evidence
  • Independence of processes
  • Reflection

The skills begin with collecting, keeping track of and categorizing a large amount of evidence. Next, students begin to analyze their own work, identifying strengths and areas needing improvement, setting personal goals, developing action plans, implementing the plans, assessing their own progress, and communicating with others about what they have learned. This process continues with increasing complexity, increasing independence and development of higher-level skills.

The heart of the portfolio process is reflection. Reflection is taking the time to give careful consideration to work and self, to look at the evidence and honestly assess learning and growth. Reflection is a skill that must be developed, practiced and nurtured. It is truly an integration of developing the body of knowledge necessary for understanding self and the world, the communication skills to express thoughts and observations with clarity, the metacognitive skills to examine one's own thinking, the emotional intelligence to be personally honest, and the life skills of taking responsibility and control of one's own life.

Adolescence is a time of great upheaval and change. Teenagers face a multitude of challenges, both emotionally and intellectually, as they mature. At the high school, we have defined the annual knowledge and skills targets for the portfolio process in a developmental way to reflect this. With increasing experience, we expect increased levels of skills, complexity, and independence. The following list of targets indicates the differential focus for the portfolio process on each team.

Freshman (Establish foundation)

  • Establish a foundation of concepts, terminology and processes
  • Introduce outcomes
  • Introduce evidence forms
  • Emphasize meta-cognition (reflection)

Sophomore: (Introduce Application)

  • Understand expectations of outcomes, as defined through standards and benchmarks, (S/B) and set goals (I'm here and want to get there)
  • Connect Outcomes to post-secondary goals and "real-world"
  • Apply Outcomes to what is happening in school and work-world
  • Demonstrate more independence in acquiring evidence
    • Practice meeting deadlines--collect and interpret evidence
  • Focus on more abstract outcomes--in-depth analysis

Junior: (Application)

  • Relate evidence to Life Plan (structured reflection)
  • Apply and evaluate evidence in relation to Life Plan
  • Focus reflection on student's skills, potential
  • Use more in-depth analysis of evidence and what can student do with it (very specific post secondary possibilities)
  • Manage longer range timelines and modify them to fit own learning styles (learning how to do long-term projects
  • Develop portfolio development plan - goal-setting and action plans

Senior: (Independence and Synthesis)

  • Synthesize evidence in all outcomes & between outcomes
  • Initiate and complete process independently
  • Demonstrate more sophisticated reflection
  • Focus reflection of evidence on "What have I done and why"

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The portfolio benefits each student differently. Some possible benefits are listed below. Naturally, these develop over time as students reflect on their evolving knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

  • assists in planning for the future
  • develops organizational skills
  • develops decision making skills
  • develops problem solving skills
  • develops work ethics
  • develops writing skills
  • develops motivation
  • develops presentation skills
  • develops thinking skills
  • develops self-advocacy skills
  • documents student growth over time
  • encourages students to value their work
  • encourages appropriate time management
  • encourages pride in accomplishments
  • encourages expression of individual creativity
  • encourages better attention to the learning process
  • encourages respect for self and others
  • helps students to make better choices
  • improves time management skills
  • increases responsibility and independence
  • teaches how to communicate with others in a variety of ways
  • teaches students to value self
  • teaches a positive approach to solving problems

The first of two overall student components important in the development and completion of the portfolio is the student process. The student process will be evaluated by the rubric provided in the Forms and Materials at the end of this guide. Here are the indicators of student behaviors that will be assessed throughout the year:

Student Process: The creation and maintenance of the portfolio. The student demonstrates the knowledge and skills of a self-directed, independent, and resourceful learner.


  • Accurately interprets portfolio product requirements seeking clarification as needed Accurately interprets portfolio product requirements seeking clarification as needed
  • Develops a process plan to complete portfolio product requirements (evidence).
  • Follows process plan
  • Monitors progress and revises process plan as needed
  • Maintains evidence so that it is neat and retrievable

Time Management

  • Develops timelines to finish portfolio product requirements on time
  • Meets established deadlines
  • Makes effective use of class time
  • Completes portfolio evidence as needed outside of class time

Attention to Tasks

  • Gives time and attention to produce quality work
  • Revises and edits work to improve quality

Use of Resources

  • Locates and uses a variety of quality, relevant sources of information
  • Applies relevant information to evidence completion
  • Seeks and utilizes feedback from a variety of sources: advisor, other adults, and peers

Problem Solving

  • Identifies and clarifies problems that impede completion of evidence
  • Attempts multiple solutions until problem is solved


  • Assumes responsibility for portfolio product completion
  • Establishes priorities leading to evidence completion
  • Maintains motivation throughout the portfolio process
  • Initiates and maintains attention and focus throughout portfolio work time
  • Demonstrates care and responsibility with portfolio product and evidence
  • Works in a way that supports and does not distract others

Goal Setting/Self Assessment

  • Puts effort into achieving portfolio process goals
  • Identifies strengths and areas for improvement for portfolio work habits
  • Enhances/improves portfolio work habits

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Portfolios are assembled each school year. The student's portfolio from the previous year should be stored over the summer and returned to the student in the fall. It will be used to help reflect on current level of skills and knowledge while working on the new portfolio. Advisors should designate a safe and secure place where the students can keep both their old and new/current portfolios. At the end of the year, the current portfolio is stored at school for the following school year and the previous year's portfolio is taken home. The following is a list of permanent materials that we ask students to transfer from last year's portfolio to the current one:

  • Essential Knowledge
    • IEPs (for all years)
    • Graduation Requirements
    • Copy of graduation tracking form
    • Final (end of the year) report card with reflection
    • Standardized Test scores reflection with graph
    • Final writing sample with reflection
    • Final best work from each class with reflection
    • Computer Technology checklist
  • Communication
    • Final communication feedback with reflection
  • Thinking Skills
    • Portfolio goals review with end-of-year reflection
  • Emotional Intelligence
    • Final EQ reflection
    • Completed Community Service Forms (for all years)
  • Life Planning
    • Final summary of Residence Education Activities with reflection of contributions to the school
    • Final Life Plan reflection with update (including Internship Journal Summary)
    • Hometown Resources
    • Certificates and Awards

Use the provided Student Guidelines for Last Years' Portfolio in the Forms and Materials to assist students with transferring these materials to their new portfolio.

Additionally, we want the students to see value in developing a new portfolio each year. Thus, advisors should encourage students to continuously refer to their old portfolio throughout the year as they develop their current portfolio. While developing their portfolio for the current school year, students will use their portfolio from last year to reflect upon past work and to help them improve the quality of their work. Some suggestions on how to accomplish this with your students are outlined below:

  • Reflecting: When doing any of the required reflections ask the students to look at their work from the previous year. Do they see growth or improvement in their knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes? If not, encourage more thought.
  • Best Writing Sample Reflection: Ask students to compare their best writing sample from last year with their new sample. How have their skills improved in the current writing sample that they have chosen?
  • Thinking Skills: When filling out any of the five Thinking Skills forms ask the students to look at their responses from last year and encourage them to complete the forms with more details/information than they did the previous year.
  • IEP Reflection: Ask the students to look at previous IEPs to help them comment on what improvements they have made from year to year. If they notice that some goals are the same from one year to the next, have them reflect on why they may not have met that goal yet and what they can do to improve in that area.
  • Work Experience Journal: Prior to writing the first journal entry ask the students to look at last years' work experience journal. Which areas of their written entries need more focus? Encourage them to improve in those areas when writing their entries.

See the Teacher/Staff Guidelines for Last Years' Portfolio in the Forms and Materials for suggestions on how to facilitate this.

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The student portfolio product is the tangible collection of evidence. It is what most people think of when they think about portfolios. The product is the book, CD, or box of artifacts and materials that demonstrate student learning and growth. Students complete a student portfolio product each year.

Used collaboratively by the student and advisor, the student portfolio product serves as a springboard for facilitating and documenting student growth in knowledge, skills, and attitudes. It is a well-planned and organized collection of artifacts, evidence, and student work as well as reports regarding academic progress and individual behavior. The evidence in the portfolio reflects a student's ability to meet requirements for completeness and quality. The student portfolio product will be used to develop the end of the year student presentation.

The student portfolio product is also an effective communication tool. It can be shared with a variety of audiences. It is a valuable compendium of data to be used with families in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings. It assists future teachers and staff in understanding present levels of achievement. In addition, it may be useful in assisting with college or post-secondary program applications, job interviews and when seeking assistance from adult service agencies.

The student portfolio product is contained in a 3-inch 3-ring presentation binder that each student assembles at the beginning of each school year. On the outside are a student-designed cover sheet and a label on the spine. On the inside are five tabbed dividers, quarter separators for each outcome, and plastic sheet protectors. Ideally, the portfolio should be put together during the first few weeks of school.

Students need to have the following supplies to assemble their portfolio.

  • 3-inch 3-ring presentation binder
  • 100 or more medium or heavy weight sheet protectors
  • Five notebook dividers with insertable tabs
  • Five computer disks
  • Disk sleeves/pockets (where students hold disks in notebook)

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The portfolio student product will contain some pieces selected by the students and some pieces selected by the teacher/staff. Students are expected to meet specific requirements each quarter. (See the sample Portfolio Requirements by Quarter located in the Forms and Materials). These requirements may vary from year to year.

School-Wide Student Portfolio Product Requirements

Essential Knowledge:

  • Graduation Requirements
  • Graduation Tracking Form
  • Transfer Transcript
  • Standardized Test Scores with graph (SAT-10, ACT, SAT)
  • IEP with reflection
  • Report card from preceding quarter with reflection **
  • Best writing sample with reflection **
  • Best work from each core class and electives with reflection **
  • List of books read with reflection **
  • Technology checklist (Completed by senior year with progress indicated annually)


  • Communication Profile
  • Communication Reflection
  • Communication Feedback with reflection **
  • Family Newsletter articles
  • Collection of communication evidence
  • Video of communication skills

Thinking Skills:

  • Portfolio Goals Form with quarterly reflection **
  • End-of-year Portfolio Reflection **
  • Work Experience Journal
  • Critical Thinking Evidence
  • Problem Solving Evidence
  • Creative Thinking Evidence
  • Decision Making Evidence
  • Metacognitive Evidence

Emotional Intelligence:

  • EQ Self-assessment
  • EQ Student Life-assessment
  • EQ Home-assessment
  • EQ reflection and goals **
  • Discipline Incident Reports with reflection and plan for improvement *
  • Completed Community Service forms

Life Planning:

  • Personal Profile
  • Résumé and Cover Letter
  • Quarterly summary of Student Life Activities with end of year reflection on contributions to the school
  • Work Internship Self-evaluation
  • Work Internship Supervisor Evaluation
  • Hometown Resources
  • Life Plan with quarterly update (and Intern journal summary)
  • Awards, Honors, Certificates

** Reflections are in integral part of the portfolio process. To assist teachers/staff with helping students with this process, a list of suggested Reflective Prompts is provided in the Forms and Materials.

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The student portfolio product is the second component of the overall portfolio that will be evaluated by the rubric provided in the Forms and Materials at the end of this guide.

Student Product Goal: The student develops greater understanding of his/her knowledge and skills in the outcomes through the collection and review of evidence in his/her portfolio. This will be assessed according to the following criteria:


  • Section markers are well designed and labeled with dividers
  • Evidence is logically organized
  • Evidence is labeled and placed in the appropriate section Evidence is labeled and placed in the appropriate section


  • All required evidence is included
  • Evidence meets criteria
  • Evidence reflects attention to detail: edited, free of errors, complete
  • Evidence is interesting, thought-provoking, and demonstrates critical and creative thinking
  • Evidence selected is representative of student's best knowledge and skills
  • Evidence incorporates selected feedback from educators and peers
  • Evidence reflects student growth

Quality of Reflection

  • Reflections indicate the ability to analyze and critique own work
  • Reflections are well-written including details and examples
  • Reflections are linked to and supported by evidence in the student's portfolio
  • Reflections demonstrate understanding of relevant Outcomes
  • Reflections identify and justify areas of growth and/or learning
  • Reflections include steps for growth/improvement
  • In comparison to past quarters, reflections demonstrate increased complexity of self-assessment and meta-cognition (** Does not apply to new students during their first quarter

Overall Appearance

  • Portfolio reflects time and care invested in preparation
  • Portfolio is easily readable and pleasing to the eye
  • Portfolio evidence is maintained in good condition
  • Portfolio demonstrates creativity and originality
  • Portfolio design is well-balanced, artistic, and indicative of individuality

Goal Setting/Self Assessment

  • Student puts effort into achieving product goal
  • Student identifies strengths and areas for improvement related to portfolio product
  • Student improves portfolio product

Forms to assist with completing portfolio requirements are provided in the below. Forms can be modified to meet the needs/challenges of individual students. For example the Emotional Intelligence Quarterly Reflection form would be appropriate for some students to complete while others can be asked to write a reflection.

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Advisors will be responsible for evaluating individual student portfolios.

Grading portfolios can be a challenging task at the end of the quarter, especially when teachers/staff are also computing grades for their other classes. When grading portfolios it is necessary to very carefully read the work that each student submitted in order to evaluate their processes and to determine how well they can reflect. This is a time consuming task when one has several portfolios to grade.

A method that works well is to post a daily checklist/chart in the classroom. This chart lists all the portfolio requirements for that quarter with the names of each student in the group (see example copy in the Forms and Materials). As students submit work, the advisor is able to review it for completeness and thoroughness. If the work is incomplete or requires more effort, the work is returned. When the work is satisfactorily completed, the requirement is checked off on the chart. An advantage to this procedure is that it provides the students with immediate, ongoing feedback of their work. It also allows students to monitor their own progress and keep track of what they have yet to complete. The biggest advantage of this arrangement is that it is a tremendous time saver for the portfolio advisor. By reading, reviewing, and grading portfolio requirements at intervals during the quarter the advisor has only to transfer the already completed grades to the portfolio grade form at the end of the quarter. When the portfolios are collected at the end of the quarter, it may be necessary to go back and skim some of the items for quality of reflection to assist with evaluating the process and product components of the portfolio. Overall, however, it greatly reduces the amount of time spent on reading and reviewing portfolio requirements at the end of the quarter.

As the culminating event of the portfolio process, all students make an annual presentation about themselves in relation to the outcomes. This is an essential final piece in the process of placing the responsibility for learning and growth squarely with the student. After collecting a body of evidence about themselves during the year, reviewing it at defined intervals, reflecting about what it says about themselves and refining personal learning goals, the student must summarize all that and share it in a professional way with an audience. The presentation forces students to synthesize information from a collection of sources, note and explain patterns, celebrate successes and growth, explore ongoing challenges, and apply that knowledge to setting goals for the future. We believe strongly in developing active learners and the final presentation is a cornerstone of that belief.

Students begin to seriously prepare for the annual presentation during the 4th quarter. They are given developmentally appropriate assistance to prepare for the presentation. Younger students are given more structure and guidance in helping them prepare to participate in a formal interview. Older students develop a 20-25 minute presentation. Whatever the format, each student must give a brief introduction of themselves, address each outcome specifically with supporting evidence of their growth, tie things together in a conclusion and address judges questions.

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Teachers/Staff are accustomed to students questioning the work that we give them. Here are some of the questions that portfolio advisors have received or may receive from students in relation to portfolios. Possible answers are provided to assist with answering these if they should come up.

Q: Why do I have to do a portfolio?
The primary reason is to document your growth each year in the outcomes and use that information to make good decisions and plan for your future.

Q: Why do I have to keep last year's portfolio and make a new one this year?
To give you the opportunity to reflect upon your growth in the outcome areas and assist you with improving in these areas each year. Last year's portfolio also helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses as you continue to grow each year. It also helps your new teachers know your skills better to focus their instruction where you need it.

Q: What will I learn from the portfolio process?
Organization, time-management, and planning skills. You will become a better problem solver, learn how to make good use of resources, and learn how to take charge of your own learning by reflecting upon your growth both academically and personally.

Q: Will the portfolios be graded? Why?
Yes. Portfolios are a school-wide requirement and the grade that you earn provides you with feedback on your progress in meeting the expectations in different skill areas.

Q: My disciplinary reports are private. Why do I need to include these in my portfolio?
Your behavior and attitude in school are part of the development of your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills. Reflecting upon your mistakes helps you to develop a better awareness of yourself and your attitude. It will help you make better choices in the future.

Q: Do students in other schools have to do portfolios?
Yes. The use of portfolios is becoming more widespread in other schools, colleges, and in many professions.

Q: What is the end of the year presentation?
All students are required to do an end-of-the-year presentation. The purpose of the presentation is for the student to show growth in the five outcomes through evidence collected throughout the school year. It is your opportunity to show what you have learned and how you have grown.

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  • Benson, B., & Barnett, S.  Student-Led Conferencing Using Showcase Portfolios.  Thousand Oaks CA: Corwin Press, 1999
  • Fogarty, R. (ed). Student Portfolios: A Collection of Articles.  Palatine IL: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing, 1996
  • Hebert, E.  The Power of Portfolios:  What Children Can Teach Us About Learning and Assessment.  San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2001
  • Rolheiser, C., Bower, B., & Stevahn, L.  The Portfolio Organizer: Succeeding with Portfolios in Your Classroom.  Alexandria VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000
  • U.S. Department of Education.  Student Portfolios: Classroom Uses.  Office of Education Research Consumer Guides, Number 9, 1993.  Office of Research, Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI)

Web sites:

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Related Forms

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Overview for Educators

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Overview for Educators