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Portfolios: Assessment Strategies

Learn how to design and implement a portfolio assessment program for your students.
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Portfolios: Assessment Strategies

How does portfolio assessment work?


Advisory (Collection)
Twice a month, advisors guide students in collecting artifacts that meet the criteria outlined for each grade (see "skills checklists" below).

Skills Checklist (Selection)
A checklist of essential skills for 9th grade, 10th grade, and one for 11th/12th grade articulate what is required to complete the portfolio at each level. Many artifacts will satisfy more than one requirement.

Reflection Form (Reflection)
Each artifact submission must be accompanied by an "Artifact Reflection Form" completed by the student. This form guides the student in identifying why they chose the artifact, the essential skills it demonstrates, and how they can improve these skills, while also providing confirmation of the submission endorsement by a teacher. Advisors make sure that the student has sufficiently completed the reflection form before approving the submission.

Exhibition (Connection)
At the end of the year, all seniors present their portfolios at an all-school academic exhibition to which students, staff, parents, and the greater community are invited. Juries consisting of students, past graduates, parents, community members, and faculty evaluate senior presentations to ensure that criteria are met. Members of the juries ask questions, engage in dialogue, provide feedback, and deliberate on the merits of the exhibition.

Skills checklists and reflection forms

When students select artifacts for their portfolio, they will number it and fill out the "Artifact Reflection Form". After they complete the form, they will record that number next to appropriate discipline and skills on the skills checklist. One artifact can potentially satisfy a number of skills.

For example, a 10th grade student has decided to select a painting produced in art class to put in her 10th grade portfolio. After talking with her art teacher and advisor, all agree that the painting satisfies the "Fine arts or other elective" artifact listed under the Knowledgable Person section, the "Invention" skill listed under the Complex Thinker section, and the "Expresses clear ideas visually" skill under the Effective Communicator section, all on the 10th grade Skills Checklist. She completes her reflection form, obtains an endorsement from her art teacher, and numbers it #1. She then goes to the 10th grade Skills Checklist and writes #1 next to "Fine arts or other elective" "Invention," and "Expresses clear ideas visually." When her 10th grade portfolio is complete, every discipline should be represented and every skill, unless otherwise noted, should be numbered.

The checklists were developed by Clear Creek Amana High School, Tiffin, Iowa, based on examples from around the country:

9th Grade Skills Checklist
10th Grade Skills Checklist
11th/12th Grade Skills Checklist
Student Artifact Reflection Form

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