|
 

Portfolios: Types


Page 1 of 2

A portfolio in the context of the classroom is a collection of student work that evidences mastery of a set of skills, applied knowledge, and attitudes. The individual works in a portfolio are often referred to as "artifacts."

Most effective portfolios also contain a reflective element, where the student has in some form contemplated her or his own strengths and weaknesses as a learner. Portfolios can be divided into two groups: process oriented or product oriented portfolios.

Process oriented portfolios

Process oriented portfolios tell a story about the growth of a learner. They document the processes of learning and creating, including earlier drafts, reflections on the process, and obstacles encountered along the way. They may be organized into skill areas or themes, yet each contains a student's work from the beginning, middle, and end of a learning unit. For example, there may be three drafts of a short story: a preliminary draft, a reworked draft reflecting teacher and peer feedback, and a final draft. The student can comment on the ways one is better than the other. In this manner, the artifacts can be compared providing evidence about how the student's skills have improved. In any number of ways, in writing or perhaps during a parent-teacher conference, the student would reflect on the learning process: identifying how skills have changed, celebrating accomplishments, and establishing present and future challenges.

Product oriented portfolios

Product oriented portfolios are collections of work a student considers his or her best. The aim is to document and reflect on the quality and range of accomplishments rather than the process that produced them. It generally requires a student to collect all of her work until the end, at which time she must choose artifacts that represent work of the highest quality.

There are any number of ways to facilitate this process. Students can be left completely to their own devices to choose. A teacher can also establish parameters of what a portfolio must contain and the quality an artifact must achieve to be included. For example, a math teacher may stipulate that a portfolio must contain evidence of the ability to successfully apply the concepts of mean, median, and mode. The teacher may also stipulate that these artifacts must have earned a certain score to be accepted into the portfolio. In this way, product oriented portfolios can be quite effective in holding students accountable for producing quality work. Finally, it is very common for each artifact in a product oriented portfolio to be accompanied by self-reflection, usually in writing, on why and in what ways the artifacts represent best work.

Both kinds of portfolios are used at all grade levels. It does turn out, however, that process-folios are more common at the elementary level. It may be that teachers at these levels tend to be more concerned about individual growth than about determining specific levels of performance. The process-folio may also match elementary teaching methods more readily.

Similarly, product oriented portfolios are more common at the secondary level. This is probably due to two factors. First, the higher stakes of grade point averages and test scores at these levels has created a more final result oriented learning environment. Second, older students generally have the higher thinking skills necessary to choose their best work wisely, as well as engage in self-reflection more deeply. Notwithstanding any of these points, neither type of portfolio is necessarily better suited for any grade level. It is usually a matter of preference, teaching style, or school culture.



 Previous   1   2   Next 


Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial

Highlights

Teaching Racism & Discrimination in America
The issues of racism, prejudice, and discrimination have plagued the United States since it was founded, and racially motivated killings still occur with frequency today. Help your students understand the historical contexts of racism—with references on slavery, immigration, and the civil rights movement—to frame your conversation on modern instances of prejudice.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

July Calendar of Events
July is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Canada Day (7/1), Independence Day (7/4/1776), World Population Day (7/11), Bastille Day in France (7/14), National Ice Cream Day (7/19), First Moon Landing (7/20/1969), World War I Began (7/28/1914), Author J.K. Rowling's Birthday (7/31/1965). Plus, celebrate Read an Almanac Month and Recreation and Parks Month all July long!

Videos
Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: Independence Day, slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, and the environment. Enjoy!