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Q&A #1625


Portfolio Assessment in Geometry

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 02, 1999 at 22:50:44
Subject: Re: Portfolio Assessment in Geometry

As Gail expressed, I am also impressed that you are preparing! My school year
will not be over until June 18 and I guess my mind set right now is not quite
on preparing but finishing.

I am a seventh grade middle school teacher in Southern California and I teach
general math but I think the techniques for using portfolios are similar
whether you are teaching geometry or algebra or general math. I think the
main reason for keeping portfolios is to encourage self-assessment. On
Houghton Mifflin's page on Portfolio Assessment

http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/literacy/assess6.html

they mention that "A portfolio is not a random collection of observations or
student products; it is systematic in that the observations that are noted
and the student products that are included relate to major instructional
goals."

That page is actually describing a literacy portfolio but I think you can
easily adapt their ideas to work within a mathematics classroom. The
mathematics department at my site has agreed in general the minimum products
that should be included in each student's portfolio. So, we have a list of
these that we staple in the front of the manila folder that each student
has. At the end of each quarter when we spend time selecting samples to add
to the portfolio, the list is considered. The idea is that the students see
the process of meeting those instructional goals. In addition we have
"reflection sheets" that the students fill in. Those reflection sheets are
quite interesting to read. I always learn a lot about what my students really
think of themselves and their work when I read their responses.

Another page that has a detailed description of a portfolio is one from San
Diego:

http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/notes/5/portfolio.html

The student's role is very important in both of these contexts. My team went
a step further and we do something called "Student Led Conferences." It is a
culminating activity at the end of the year that has the student pull from
their working portfolios in language arts, mathematics, science and history/
social science and then have a conference with a parent/guardian. If you are
interested in that idea we have some of the components available on the web:

http://www.rialto.k12.ca.us/frisbie/coyote/interdisciplinary6.html

I don't really think that there is a "wrong" way to use portfolios. However,
you decide to start will be something that you will build on as you gain
experience. Good luck and keep us posted on what works for you!

 -Suzanne A., for the Teacher2Teacher service

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