Throughout the semester, students should keep a folder containing all the writing they do for this course. This folder is a “working portfolio.” Toward the end of the semester, the students will study the working portfolio for evidence to support a 3-5 page reflective self-analysis about their writing.  The portfolio grade will be based upon the quality of the students’ written self-analysis, the presence of clear, organized evidence, and the thoroughness of their formal essay revisions. About one month before the end of the semester, instructors will give students a specific prompt for the final portfolio. The portfolio will count for 15% of the course grade.

Keep in mind that

For a guideline for organizing your reflective self-analysis, an example of how to cite your papers, a sample self-reflective essay for WRC 1013 and one for WRC 1023, see The Writing Program Student Handbook.


According to the 2007 Position Statement, “Principles and Practices in Electronic Portfolios issued by Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), “[d]isciplinary practice and research suggest that portfolio assessment has become an important part of the learning-to-write process.” Actually, final essay exams are contradictory to the writing process philosophy while “portfolio assessment is a natural extension of our emphasis on process, reflecting that writing can always be made better and that writers can always improve” (Weiser, “Portfolios” 219).

As Elbow and Belanoff point out,

No matter how accurately we may evaluate any sample of a student’s writing, we lose all that accuracy if we go on to infer the student’s actual proficiency in writing from just that single sample….And even if proficiency exams gave a perfectly accurate measure of writing proficiency, they seriously undermine, by their nature, our teaching of writing and send a damaging message about the writing process … no drafts, no discussion of the issue with others, no trying out drafts on readers, no getting responses. (5)

Writing portfolios, “meaningful collection[s] of selected artifacts or documents  (Reynolds and Rice 1), were introduced in the early 1980s “as a means of assessing writing that support[s] learning through asking students to reflect on and make judgments about their own work” (Cambridge 2). In particular, the revision component incorporated in the portfolios helps students make choices to address the needs and expectations of an audience beyond the teacher (Reynolds 17-18).


[John] “Dewey knew that merely to think without ever having to express what one thought is an incomplete act. He recognized that having to express oneself to others, so that others truly understand one’s ideas, reveals both the strengths and the holes in one’s thinking” (Rodgers 856).  

 When [students] practice reflective learning, [they] focus on [their] own writing and learning patterns, habits, and preferences. The goals are to identify what doesn’t work well…, repeat what does, and develop strategies for addressing or overcoming the parts of writing that are frustrating or puzzling” (Reynolds and Rice 1-2).


In addition to critical thinking and communication, portfolios also address another of our core curriculum objectives. “If we think of portfolios, metaphorically, as a place where writers work, we can also imagine that the habitual nature of their upkeep and maintenance contributes to the character formation of engaged and careful writers….The habit of portfolio keeping is rhetorical because portfolios demand a certain amount of vigilance and responsibility; portfolio learners must pay attention and must treat the portfolio as a process that leads to a product” (16).



Works Cited

Cambridge, Darren.  Eportfolios for Lifelong Learning and Assessment. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco,                         2010. Print.
Elbow, Peter, and Pat Belanoff. “State University of New York at Stony Brook Portfolio-based Evaluation
                Program.”  Portfolios: Process and Product. Eds. Pat Belanoff and Marcia Dickson.                                 Portsmouth, NH:Boynton/Cook, 1991. 3-16. Print.
Reynolds, Negra. Portfolio Teaching: A Guide for Instructors. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2000.    
Reynolds, Nedra, and Rich Rice. Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St.                     Martin’s, 2006. Print.
Rodgers, Carol. “Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking.” Teachers                    College Record 104.4 (2002): 842-866. Print.
Weiser, Irwin. “Portfolios and the New Teacher of Writing.”  Eds. Laurel Black, Donald 
                A. Daiker, Jeffrey Sommers, and Gail Stygall. New Directions in Portfolio Assessment:                             Reflective Practice, Critical Theory, and Large-Scale Scoring. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook,                 1994. 219-229. Print.