The Portfolio Project represents a portable showcase of a student’s expertise in a chosen field. There are two types of portfolio: Best Work Portfolio and Growth Portfolio.
A best work portfolio “highlights and shows evidence of the best work of learners. It can include both product and process.”1 This type of portfolio often correlates with the amount of effort students have invested in their work. An advantage of this type of portfolio is the freedom it affords learners to select items that reflect their highest level of learning. Another advantage of this type of portfolio is that it gives students the opportunity to explain why their chosen work showcases examples that represent their best effort and achievement. Best work portfolios are used to determine student achievement, their preparedness for post-secondary admissions and employability.2
A growth portfolio “demonstrates an individual’s development and growth over time.”3 This development can encompass academic or thinking skills, content knowledge, self-knowledge or any area that is important in a student’s chosen discipline. Growth portfolios aim to provide opportunities for learners to reflect and to see their own changes over time and in turn, share their journey with others. An advantage of this type of portfolio is it allows students to see how achievement is often a result of their ability to self-evaluate, set goals and work over time. Growth portfolios can be used to assess a learner’s knowledge, skills and attitudes, their ability to work in teams and as part of their preparation towards their chosen careers.4
Portfolio projects are valuable tools for building bridges and creating partnerships with varied audiences or stakeholders. Consequently, it results in better learning opportunities for students from across different disciplines. Depending on the purpose of the portfolio, diverse audiences or stakeholders may be enlisted in the portfolio assessment process. To help implement the portfolio process, individuals putting together a portfolio must keep in mind the assessment, evaluation and grading needs and concerns of a portfolio’s primary audience. A portfolio’s alignment with the needs of its audience will usher in a successful result.5
1Carol Rolheiser, Barbara Bower, and Laurie Stevahn, The Portfolio Organizer: Succeeding with Portfolios in Your Classroom (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000), 4. http://www.questia.com/read/119456777/the-portfolio-organizer-succeeding-with-portfolios.
5 Ibid, 5