Final Portfolio Assignment

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During one the pro-development workshops this year, we talked about student assessment and portfolios. This is something I have been experimenting with in my class, as part of their final project. I thought it might be helpful to post what I’ve been doing and why as just one possible (work-in-progress) way of approaching this.

I ask my students to hand in the following:
1)  A revised text (and the original version)
2)  3 texts from their portfolio
3)  An author statement.

My goals for assignment:

  1. Get students to look over all the texts they created during the semester, from freewrites to homework assignments to papers. I want them to see how much they did.
  2. Help students see writing as a process (re-vision a text)
  3. Have students consider their identities as authors and reflect on what they learned.

A few highlights:

Revision:
I keep the revision requirements open-ended. The only requirements are this should be a text that a) they care about and b) they believe the piece will be strengthened by another draft. In class we talk about how revision is more than moving commas around. It is about asking, “What is this piece really about?” and seeing new possibilities. They can change the audience, genre, length, etc if they’d like. They describe their choices in their author statements.

Portfolio:
I have students select three pieces for the portfolio rather than hand in everything. I’ve already seen their stuff, and it is too much work to have to look at it all again. Instead, I ask them to choose 3 pieces that suggest something about them as an author. They decide what criteria they use to select the pieces (e.g. best? most risky? represent an ongoing challenge?). They describe how/why they chose these pieces in their author statement.

Author statement:
On the handout, I provide five topics they need to discuss in the statement (including the revision and portfolio). Last semester, this was my favorite assignment to grade because it was fun to hear students talk about themselves as authors. We have already discussed identity, rhetorical situations, etc in class, and for this assignment they need to revisit those concepts and apply them to their own writing.

This is still a work-in-progress. I am curious to hear how others approach this in their classes!

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