5 Steps to Building a Student Portfolio

How to Effectively Design a Student Portfolio

Implement a student portfolio program into your classroom. &copy Berry Austin Getty Images

If your looking for a great way to assess students while keeping them aware about the work they produce, then creating a student portfolio is the way to go. Portfolios can be best described as a collection of student's work that represents an assortment of their performance. It's a way to monitor their progress over time. Once students see the portfolio process and a visual of their accomplishments, they develop an awareness about the work they produce.

How to Build a Student Portfolio

The following suggestions will help you effectively design and build an effective and efficient student portfolio.

Set a Purpose for the Portfolio

First, you need to decide what your purpose of the portfolio is. Is it going to be used to show student growth or identify specific skills? Are you looking for a concrete way to quickly show parents student achievement, or are you looking for a way to evaluate your own teaching methods? Once you have figured out your goal of the portfolio, then you think about how to use it.

Decide How You Will You Grade it

Next, you will need to establish how you are going to grade the portfolio. There are several ways you can grade students work, you can use a rubric, letter grade, or the most efficient way would be to use a rating scale. Is the work completed correctly and completely? Can you comprehend it? You can use the grading scale of 4-1. 4 = Meets all Expectations, 3 = Meets Most Expectations, 2 = Meets Some Expectations, 1 = Meets No Expectations. Determine what skills you will be evaluating then use the rating scale to establish a grade.

What will be Included in it

How will you determine what will go into the portfolio? Assessment portfolios usually include specific pieces that students are required to know. For example, work that correlates with the Common Core Learning Standards. Working portfolios include whatever the student is currently working on, and display portfolios showcase only the best work students produce. Keep in mind that you can create a portfolio for one unit and not the next. You get to choose what is included and how it is included. If you want to use it as a long-term project and include various pieces throughout the year, you can. But, you can also use it for short- term projects as well.

How Much Will You Involve the Students

How much you involve the students in the portfolio depends upon the students age. It is important that all students should understand the purpose of the portfolio and what is expected of them. Older students should be given a checklist of what is expected, and how it will be graded. Younger students may not understand the grading scale so you can give them the option of what will be included in their portfolio. Ask them questions such as, why did you choose this particular piece, and does it represent your best work? Involving students in the portfolio process will encourage them to reflect on their work.

Will You Use a Digital Portfolio

With the fast-paced world of technology, paper portfolios may become a thing of the past. Electric portfolios (e-portfolios/digital portfolios) are great because they are easily accessible, easy to transport and easy to use. Today's students are tuned into the latest must-have technology, and electronic portfolios are part of that. With students using an abundance of multimedia outlets, digital portfolios seem like a great fit. The use of these portfolios are the same, students still reflect upon their work but only in a digital way.

The key to designing a student portfolio is to take the time to think about what kind it will be, and how you will manage it. Once you do that and follow the steps above, you will find it will be a success.