Magazine article Techniques

Student Portfolios 101

Magazine article Techniques

Student Portfolios 101

Article excerpt

As a follow up to our well-received articles on portfolios in the May issue of Techniques, here is some more helpful information on student portfolios.

Student portfolios can offer great benefits to both high school and postsecondary education programs. They assist instructors in determining the progress of a student's performance and provide students with a vital self-promotion tool for job searches or the higher education application process.

Portfolios can take many shapes and sizes. Therefore, developing a formal student portfolio program that is easy to execute and has the most impact on students can take a good deal of planning. Following are a few key considerations to help you get started on incorporating student portfolios into your curriculum.

Host Portfolio Seminars

Many students are not familiar with the purpose or content of portfolios, especially as they relate to the particular industries of the students. Therefore, it's important to provide seminars that detail how to put together portfolios that professionally demonstrate the students' skills and give them time to pull together work examples.

It's key to instill the importance of portfolios early on with students. This will encourage them to save and improve upon key work samples and to constantly take a critical look at their work as to how it will help their growth and future.

Have Multiple Reviews

It's best for instructors to provide multiple reviews of a student's portfolio prior to its completion. This allows instructors to give constructive feedback, so students can further hone their work.

Each review should be based on a set list of criteria that corresponds with the student's level of studies. It is helpful to give students a list of these criteria prior to reviews, so they can better plan for their portfolios throughout the year.

Encourage Well-Rounded Work

A portfolio should be a personal expression of the student that reflects his or her values and individuality. In addition to featuring the skills the student learned in class, portfolios should include hobbies or extracurricular activities related to the student's chosen industry.

For example, students entering design-focused industries, such as architecture or engineering, should include work such as photography, paintings or freehand drawings to demonstrate that they have a broader creative ability outside their class work. …

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