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					                                      Writing Portfolio Proposal

                  Kimberly Sink           kimss@vt.edu             November 3, 2011

(I) .Introduction
Portfolios provide a way of understanding students’ mastery of a particular content or curriculum.
Higher levels of learning are assessed through the use of portfolios because students have to
evaluate, reflect, and provide artifacts that learning is evident.

(a). Need for the Portfolio
Writing is a concern for fifth grade students in Pulaski County Schools. The Virginia Standards of
Learning data for the county reflects there are deficient’s in the writing and editing process.
Utilizing the concept of a portfolio for assessing students’ writing needs will provide an assessment
tool that will allow administrators and educators to understand the gaps students may have in their
writing skills and determine the proper interventions for improving students’ writing skills. A
writing portfolio will also require students to reflect upon their own understanding of writing.
These reflections will allow students to determine their own learning needs which may motivate
them to improve their writing skill.

(b,c). Standards Addressed by the Portfolio
Virginia Standard of Learning – You may select the link to access the citation of the standards.

Writing 5.8
The student will write for a variety of purposes: to describe, to inform, to entertain, and to explain.
a) Choose planning strategies for various writing purposes.
b) Organize information.
c) Demonstrate awareness of intended audience.
d) Use precise and descriptive vocabulary to create tone and voice.
e) Vary sentence structure.
f) Revise writing for clarity.
g) Use available technology to access information.

(II).Portfolio Description
(a). Students will be developing a working portfolio. They will be collecting samples of their best
written work they have developed. This will help identify students’ writing strengths. It will also
help teachers identify intervention needs for students as they develop their skills in writing. The
portfolio will also be used as evidence of the students’ learning that will be shown to parents.

Students’ portfolio will be kept in a three binder. The binder will have a table of contents and tabs.
This will help the students and teachers find desired information within the portfolio. The portfolio
will be a work in progress. It will begin at the beginning of the school year. It will be completed one
week prior to the Virginia Standards of learning writing assessment. This assessment is typically
given the end of March. The evidence placed in the portfolio will be assessed for the purpose of
providing students ample opportunities to understand the writing process. Effective feedback will
continually be given to aid the students in improving their writing skills for the objectives.



(b). Portfolio Objectives
The portfolio will:
     Demonstrate mastery of the skill of writing topics to describe, inform, entertain, and explain
     Identify intervention needs for students
     Show parents and teacher the student’s ability to write

(c).Portfolio Components
The portfolio will consist of the four sections listed below.
1. Topics written to Describe
2. Topics written to Inform
3. Topics written to Entertain
4. Topics written to Explain

Each section will include artifacts that show the student has completed the following objectives:
    Choose planning strategies for various writing purposes
    Organize information
    Demonstrate awareness of intended audience
    Use precise and descriptive vocabulary to create tone and voice
    Vary sentence structure
    Revise writing for clarity
    Use available technology to access information

Each section will also include reflections written by the students based on the following:
    What did I know about the objective before completing this artifact?
    What do I learn by completing the artifact?
    What did I do well with on this artifact?
    What areas do I need to improve on with this artifact?

Feedback provided by the teacher, parent, or other student peers will be listed at the end of each
section. The beginning of the portfolio will have a table of contents listing each section and their
required components. The sections will be divided by tabs.

The components listed above will allow students the opportunity to gain understanding of the
writing process and master the required objective through completing the artifacts required,
reflecting on their learning of the writing process, and conducting self evaluations and evaluations
of others. This process will help students completely understand the writing process because they
require the student to perform at a higher level of learning.
(III). Support Activities
(a). Students who will be completing portfolio will be enrolled in the fifth grade in a public
education setting. They will have had five years of writing instruction prior to beginning the
process of developing their writing portfolio. A majority of students will be knowledgeable in basic
writing skills such as basic sentence structure grammatical correctness. Many students will have a
basic understanding of the structure of paragraphs.

(b). A variety of activities will be designed to support the development of the portfolio. They will
include instruction of the varies types of writing, samples of the various types of writing,
instruction on how to develop a reflection paragraphs, and explanation of desired expectations of
using a writing rubric to perform self-evaluations and peer evaluations of writing samples. These
activities will be delivered at the beginning of the school year. They will also be consistently
reviewed throughout the process of developing the writing portfolios.

Students will receive basic information about portfolios. They will understand the purpose of a
portfolio, the required components, and information on how to begin assembling the portfolios.
Teachers will provide step by step instructions on assembly procedures.

Instruction on how to develop the various types of writing required to master the objective will be
given to students for the purpose of providing a deeper understand of those particular types of
writing samples. This will help the students understand how to get started with their writing. It
will also provide the teacher with information on students who will need additional support and
interventions in order to be successful with their artifacts. Providing samples of the writing and
instructions on how to develop reflections paragraphs will give the students a model of what a
completed artifact would look like. This helps build motivation and understanding of expectation
for students. Providing students with a writing rubric will help students understand the
expectations and requirements of each writing sample. Allowing the students to evaluate their
writing and writing of others will help them understand the components writing. The reflection
paragraphs will guide the students to a deeper understanding of what they have learned about the
writing process. Students will be provided feedback consistently when developing their artifacts
for the portfolio. The written feedback students receive will be placed at the end of each portfolio
section. This purpose of this activity is to help students reflect on what they have learned and how
their writing has improved.

In order for students to assemble the portfolios they must have the provided resources. They will
need to collect a three ring binder and divider tabs. They will spend the time frame provided
developing the artifacts that are required of the portfolio. These artifacts will go into a working
portfolio as they are created. This will allow students the opportunity to review and select their
best artifacts for final evaluations. Students will be provided a portfolio rubric when they are
assembling their presentation portfolio. This rubric will help them analyze and evaluate their work
to determine their best selections. Once they have made their selections, students will write
reflections about their experiences they had during the writing process.
(IV). Portfolio Format
(a). The portfolio will be in typed and written format. It will be kept in a three ring binder tabs to
divide the different sections. Student may also provide an introduction at the beginning of the
portfolio. This may help the student build ownership of their work. There will be a table of
contents located in the front of the binder that explains the contents of the portfolio.

(b). Students will be the ones to select the artifacts they wish to place in the portfolio. This will
build a greater understanding in the students of requirements for well written pieces of work.
Allowing students to self select their artifacts also gives them a sense of ownership and pride for
the work they have completed. This typically motivates the students to complete the work with
their best ability. Without motivation, completion of the portfolio will become a daunting and
worthless task for the student with very little learning occurring.

Technology will be incorporated in the portfolio through the use of computer software. Students
will be required to publish certain works through the use of word processing software. Students
will have the opportunity include graphics along with their typed artifacts. Both formats will be
included in the portfolio.

(V). Portfolio Assessment
Portfolios will be assessed for the inclusion of artifacts that demonstrate mastery of the required
standards of learning objectives. Artifacts will show evidence of students mastering concepts of
the required standards of learning writing objectives. The portfolio will also be assessed to
determine the students’ ability to write.

The review process of the working portfolio will give students ample opportunity to revise the
works in it until mastery is achieved. All revisions will be included as artifacts. Parents will be able
to understand the growth their child has made during the writing process through comparisons of
previous work. The feedback sections included in the portfolio will provide them an informal
assessment of their child’s strengths and weakness with the writing process. If parents understand
what their child needs to work on, then they can provide support to their child’s needs. Teachers
will be able to identify and target specific strengths and weaknesses in the students’ writing
abilities through the revision process. Teacher will have a greater understanding of learning gaps
each student may have. Understanding those gaps helps the teacher determine what intervention
needs to be used in order to help the student master the objective. When students are promoted to
the next grade, the portfolios may also serve as a pre-assessment for the required writing objectives
for that grade.

(VI). Conclusion
(a). Students benefit from developing portfolio. They provide opportunities for students to master
the required objectives at a higher level of learning. Students are motivated to self-select their own
artifacts which are motivating to students. They take pride and feel a sense of accomplishment
when the portfolio is completed. Due to the assessment system of the portfolio, students aren’t
allowed to only meet minimum requirements. They have to use the feedback and suggestions
provided to revise their work until the objective is mastered. Providing peer evaluations and self
evaluations with the portfolio allows the students to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of
others. It also models for them how to become critical thinkers.

(b). ITMA Reflection
The ITMA portfolio process was a bit overwhelming to me in the beginning. I personally had a hard
time envisioning what my finished product was going to entail. However, through the process of
being provided samples and ample of resources, I discovered the developing portfolios to be one of
the most powerful assessment of my learning. The process of developing a portfolio taught me to
be critical of which artifacts to select to make sure it matched the objectives. It helped me to
become reflective in my learning. I never understood how powerful reflections are to learning.
Through the process of developing my own portfolio that included reflection of each artifact, I was
able to evaluate the knowledge I have acquired. Portfolios are more than assessing a students’
knowledge of an area. It assesses students’ understanding and mastery of the concepts. It is the
understanding of the concepts that allows me to apply the knowledge to other areas of my
profession and life. Basic knowledge is nothing without the understanding. I feel test would only
evaluate my knowledge. However, the portfolio experience provided me the opportunity to apply
my understandings. Those understanding I will have for the rest of my life.

Peer and self evaluations are also an important component in assessing portfolios. It was nice to
have others reflections, opinions, and suggestions for improvements. They provided me another
way of viewing concepts that I might not have viewed in that particular manner. With each
evaluation, I feel my portfolio became better and better and with each revision, my understanding
became greater and greater.

I feel portfolios are an authentic assessment that allows students ample of opportunities to master
the required objectives. They set high expectations from the beginning, provide ample of time for
the objectives to be mastered, and give students the one opportunity test don’t always allow for; the
chance to prove their deep understanding of the concept. I am grateful to the ITMA program for
providing me those opportunities.

References
Kimball, M. A. (2003). The web portfolio guide: Creating electronic portfolios for the web. New York:
       Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

				
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