Process Portfolios

Instructor: Katelyn Burton Prager
Course/Department: English
Institution: Fashion Institute of Technology
Subject: Composition


A portfolio-based writing course exemplifies many of the goals of social justice assessment in shifting the focus of the course from product to process. When I teach first-year writing, I like to use writing portfolios throughout the semester, as follows:

Process Portfolios: For each major projects, students develop their writing through the brainstorming, drafting, and revising process and, at the end of each unit, submit a process portfolio for “grading.” These portfolios evidence the work students put into each major project, allowing for the instructor to see the students’ development and learning and provide feedback on the student writing in process. Moreover, these process portfolios are typically graded on a pass/fail basis for completion, shifting the focus from the numerical grade to the instructor’s feedback.

Product Portfolio: At the end of the semester, students select which pieces they’d like to revise and include in their final portfolio as evidence of their learning throughout the semester. These pieces are included along with a writer’s reflection or letter detailing their learning and how it is illustrated through the pieces they’ve included. Though the final portfolio is assessed in a more traditional way, students are able to delay the traditional grading until they have worked through multiple drafts of writing, received ample feedback, and can control the narrative of their own learning.

Recommended Number of Students:
Time Requirements (Approximate): One semester


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