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Portfolio Considerations

Instructors use portfolios very differently. This section includes rationales and notes for using portfolio grading from Anne Gogela, Marisa Harper, Christina Holtcamp, and Kate Kiefer. You might also see Randy Fetzer's discussion (in Steve Reid's office) of Laura Thomas' portfolio system as it was used in CO300 during the Spring, 1995 term. Kate also has an article on using portfolios to enhance revision as well as a variety of bibliographies on portfolio evaluation.

It is important to explain your portfolio system clearly and give your students something tangible to refer to. Most instructors put a brief description of the submission requirements in their policy statements. Nevertheless, come submission time, you will probably be barraged with questions about what the portfolio should include. Some instructors reduce the questioning by providing students with checklists that let them know exactly what the portfolio should contain and ask the students to submit the checklist (checked off) with their portfolio.

Even though students in CO130 will be doing a reflective piece at the end of the course (Essay 6), postscripts can be especially fruitful when using portfolios. Students have usually had a large amount of time to draft, workshop, and revise each piece they submit and usually have a pretty good idea of what the pieces do well and what they still need. Consequently, you can ask your students to consider their writing process in some depth and can ask them to direct your reading and commenting toward specific strengths and weaknesses in the portfolio as a whole.

If you'd like to see sample checksheets and postscript questions, please look in the OWC module on teaching CO300.