Portfolio Development

What is a Portfolio?

  • A collection of evidences in pre-determined categories that reflect professional growth
  • A showcase of job skills and experiences
  • A visual picture of achievements and contributions
  • Documentation of professional experiences
  • Self reflection and self assessment of professional attitudes skills and goals
  • It will grow and expand as one's career develops (keep updating by adding new and deleting some old materials)

What might be in a Portfolio?

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Resume or vita
  • University transcripts
  • Related work experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Targeted letters regarding coaching, team work, etc.
  • "Test scores Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST in math, reading, and writing, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) etc."
  • Certification, certificates, licenses
  • Professional evaluations (ex: co-op, co-op/internships, practicum, student teacher)
  • Record of in-service training
  • List of professional and other organizational memberships
  • Leadership roles
  • List of conferences, conventions, and workshops (attended or presentations given)
  • Publications
  • Grants or proposals
  • Special projects or activities
  • Photographs with captions, newspaper articles, etc.
  • Samples of your work
  • Documentation of technical and computer skills
  • Evidence of senior design or capstone projects
  • International travel experiences
  • Language skills
  • Journal of travel or study abroad experiences
  • Goals - short term and long term
  • Evidence of successful teamwork
  • Samples of writing/reports
  • Community service activities
  • Thank you's and congratulations notes for professional achievements/activities
  • Honors and awards
  • Interests
  • Evidence of life long learning
  • Personal statements alluding to professional accomplishments/activities

Teacher Portfolios (in addition to above items)

  • Lesson plan (add critique and reflections)
  • Curriculums/block plans
  • Videotaped lesson
  • Philosophy of education
  • Related work experience
  • Samples of student work
  • Photographs with description
    • bulletin boards
    • working with students in the classroom
    • community involvement
    • success activities of students
  • Class newsletters
  • Notes to and from parents (thank you's, etc.)
  • Assessment techniques
  • Classroom management philosophy and specific strategies
  • Written reflections
  • Extra curricular activities
  • Leadership activities at the university or in the community
  • Learning activities packet, including activity sheets and evaluation tools
  • Multicultural activities
  • Involvement with special needs populations
  • Teacher exam results
  • Case studies, Individual Education Plans (IEP's)
  • Camp counseling (paid or volunteer)
  • Summer school teaching
  • Student teaching evaluations
  • Cross referencing teaching standards and competencies with exhibits
  • Organization of field trips
  • Honors and awards
  • Note:  Do not use commercially made materials, items should be designed by candidate

Students and Alumni in all majors have used portfolios. Some comments include:

"I was the only one of six candidates who had a portfolio, and I think that made a big difference."

"There were two of us as finalists - we were both rated high, but I had a portfolio and the other candidate did not. I got the job!"

"I was very nervous about interviewing, but put together a portfolio which included photographs of  machines I had worked on.  Interviewing was much easier when I could 'show and tell' about the experiences. Yes, I got the position."

Employer Comments

"I was especially impressed with one of your students who showed me her portfolio, and also had a  'mini portfolio' of several pages to leave with me.  I'm leaving with many resumes, but only one 'mini portfolio'. Guess who I will remember!"

"Glitz doesn't count, but authenticity does. Portfolios can be used as a teaching tool during an interview, so they should be well organized and manageable."

"I'm impressed with candidates who have cutting edge computer skills. They will be able to assist some of our current staff move ahead in technology."

How do schools use portfolios?

The Menomonie School District has used portfolios in their application process for a number of years. They use the following categories:

Student, parent, staff orientation 25%
Community Involvement 10%
Professional Performance 30%
Directing Extra Curricular 10%
Life-long Learner 10%
Team Work 15%

They developed definitions, lists of what candidates must know, lists of what candidates must be able to do, and some suggested samples of information that might support the evidences.

Another school district used the following categories for their staff during their yearly evaluations:

  • Professionalism
  • Writing
  • Philosophy
  • Professional growth plan

  • Instructional Methods/Strategies
  • Lessons
  • Photos/activities
  • Videotapes
  • Samples of student work and reflections

  • Professional Relationships/Environments
  • With students
  • With parents and community
  • With colleagues
  • Teams of professionals/others