by Elvin Klassen

Portfolios are collections of students’ work. Folders to keep the students’ work can be made from materials such as cardboard and heavy paper, or an expandable file can be bought at a department store. A decision must be made on what it is you want to show before adopting portfolios. Care must be taken that they do not merely become scrapbooks.

There are four different types of portfolios that can be developed.

Selected works: In these portfolios, students collect samples of their work in response to a question by the teacher. It becomes a self-reflection portfolio. In responding to questions such as, “What is your best work?” students become more critical and objective. Students have a lot to say about their work if they are given an opportunity.

Passport: Students use these portfolios to collect samples of work that will allow them to go somewhere. They can be used for college entrance, applying for jobs, or moving students from one grade in high school to another.

Sampling of works: These are often used for younger children to compare early writing samples with later samples. They are often kept for the next school year to compare growth.

Longitudinal: These portfolios are oriented toward goals for student achievement and should include beginning-of-the-year and end-of-the-year data.

Portfolios give students opportunities to reflect on their work and they give teachers examples of how students perform over time and in a variety of situations. Therefore this display of students’ work can become an important assessment tool.

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