I’ve just finished “grading” 41 portfolios, compilations of my students’ work from sixth to eighth grade. At FA, this is standard practice (and I’m proud we’ve been doing portfolios for about ten years now).
But I wonder if our practice of having students print out all their writing is truly the best way. Students in Upper School do an electronic portfolio, so to keep the process different, we have middle school students print and compile their work. Some Upper School teachers have also expressed concern than portfolios kept online might “disappear” and students wouldn’t have a record of their work.
Frankly, that isn’t a concern I have. And after watching them work so hard to print and create a physical representation of their work, I am even more frustrated that their portfolio isn’t a part of their blogs.
Reading David’s post caused me to ponder our choice even more.
When we create projects with students and then share them digitally, who owns the learning?
“We don’t own a student’s learning; It’s their learning. Whenever possible we need to be thinking about how we can provide students with an archive of their work… and that has to include the conversations (or comments in the case of blogs) and the hyperlinks that made the learning experience richer and more desirable to keep,” David says.
My students were not able to “take” or “compile” much of their work. Yes, they created a list of what I asked. Yes, they created a cute “container” in which to hold their work.
But I don’t believe their portfolio truly represents their thinking, creating, and publishing this year.