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Portfolio Assessment Information

by Linda Campbell, Homeschool Consultant

 This article concerns the written narrative or portfolio review, one of four assessment options permitted in West Virginia Code ァ18-8-1. The following are my thoughts about portfolios as an experienced evaluator. Please consult your evaluator for his/her suggestions, requirements, and procedures.

     A portfolio is a collection of samples of work from throughout the year that shows accomplishments, experiences, and progress and abilities over time. A portfolio showcases talents, skills and achievements. The portfolio assessment can complement the overall instructional approach and learning style of the child more than other forms of assessment, and it shows what the child actually did and knows from throughout the year. When a portfolio is assembled periodically, there is a constant review and reflection on the work so evaluation of skills, growth, and pacing is ongoing and can be adjusted as needed.

 Samples of your child痴 work can take many forms: everyday work, not just showcase or "perfect" pieces; work from texts, workbooks, and tests; pictures, products, and presentations as well as community and real world experiences. Some suggestions for items to include in a portfolio: 

         notebooks or folders of work containing daily practice work, rough drafts, completed quizzes, tests, and reports; 

         lesson plans and calendars;

         lists of  reading materials (books, magazines), reference materials, audio and video/visual materials, learning games as well as activities, clubs, and lessons; 

         lists of computer experiences: lists and examples of sites frequented, courses and software used, and worksheet samples; 

         photos of trips, activities, projects, events, collections, and other creations;

         certificates, awards, ticket stubs, programs, brochures and news clippings from events attended;

         samples of art work; 

         correspondence with others (pen pals).

 And don't forget to mention experiences like volunteer work, jobs, community involvement, religious service and life/learning events.

 To demonstrate progress for the year as the law requires, select samples of work that reflect change in skill level and growth in knowledge in the five subject areas named throughout the year. Be sure to include work for social studies and science. The samples and products presented are used to assess the child's progress, skill level, and abilities over time.

 There is no right or wrong way to compile the portfolio materials. The organization and presentation is as individual as your homeschooling. It痴 helpful to date your materials as you go and gather and organize your materials on a regular basis.

During the review itself, items in the portfolio can be used to engage the student in meaningful conversation, which can enhance self-esteem and confidence. The portfolio evaluator can make suggestions concerning materials and methods and offer information to enrich the child's learning. The portfolio review should be a positive learning experience and a time to celebrate. I request that the children themselves be present at the review as it is their day to shine.

To be added to my portfolio information mailing (if I did not do an assessment for you last year), please call Linda Campbell at 304/983-1200 and leave your name and postal address, or email the information to IAL@att.net .

Adapted from an article in WVHEA Report (February 2004). A version of this article originally appeared in the Monongalia Area Homeschoolers Assn. newsletter.

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