Designing Portfolios to Capture Learning


This toolkit provides a simple portfolio roadmap that helps students document and reflects on their ongoing journey toward life-long learning. Oftentimes, students do not have a system and approach to see their growth over time. This may cause them to be over-reliant on the teacher for praise and the next steps to further their success. The narration of their learning is told through carefully selected work, reflections on why they chose that work, next steps they commit to for improvement, and direction to help shape career aspirations. Students can use the processes of this toolkit as a self-reflection guide for conferences with their parents or guardians.

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How can learners examine their work to tell the story of what they have achieved and where they want to grow next? This toolkit guides the collection, selection, reflection, and direction for your learners. Teachers can use it in conjunction with any digital platform.

Tool 1: Collecting Student Work

This collection is intended to be a record that documents student growth over time which should be progressively driven by learners taking a leadership role in what is worth collecting. This tool helps educators as they guide students in using an established system (e.g., software program, categorized folders) anchored by key evaluative criteria to collect and save both formative and summative work samples over time.

Tool 2: Selecting Significant Work

Learners already have a collection of work samples. In this phase, they need to limit their choices and identify which pieces tell their story of continuous learning and are worthy or reflection and commentary.

Tool 3: Reflecting on Selected Work Samples

Learners explain why selected work samples were chosen and identify what patterns are emerging in their learning.

Tool 4: Directing What Will Drive Future Learning

Learners develop next steps to guide future learning based on what they have documented and reflected on to date. They consider alternate approaches and seek consultations from others as they continue to shape next steps.

Tool 5: Appreciative Inquiry

This process invites learners to articulate their thoughts through writing about their personal strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and desired results.


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