More about Portfolios

Previously I had discussed how teachers are being pushed now more than ever to create individualized student plans. In this creation of individualized planning, many suggest tracking your students’ progress through portfolios. While there is much research to suggest that portfolios do provide benefits to both teachers and students, many teachers are reluctant to begin them with their class. I had begun talking about some of the reasons that teachers are hesitant to use portfolios in my last article.

Another reason why some teachers do not use portfolios in class is because they are uncertain how to assess them or grade them. They worry that if they focus on portfolios then they will not have enough grades to fill up their grade books. They also worry about the time that it will take to look through and grade all of the portfolios. They often perceive the task as being a he undertaking.

Many teachers may find it helpful to begin with shorter projects instead of jumping into longer projects from the beginning. However, most teachers find that with some practice with portfolios, their students develop more efficient study skills, more self-discipline, motivation, pride in their work, better retention of information, and also have a higher level of critical thinking skills.

With time and effort, your students can build up to portfolio projects that last for several weeks or months. Some teachers assign projects such as writing, editing, designing, and even publishing a newspaper. Others may have their students take part in literacy by creating a magazine or performing a play.

When creating these longer projects, it is very important to consider timing. You want your students to be able to work on the task uninterrupted. Therefore they should not be planned during vacation time or holiday breaks. The students are likely to lose interest or forget about their work during these periods.

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