ENGLISH 494: Writing and Tutoring

Spring, 2002

Guidelines for the Portfolio


Overview. The portfolio represents the culmination of your work in this course. Its primary purpose is to provide you with an opportunity to reflect on and document your learning in the course and to demonstrate the various competencies in writing and tutoring that you have developed during the semester. As you'll see in reading these guidelines, the portfolio is not merely a collection of work you have done throughout the semester; rather, it is a demonstration of your readiness and competence as a tutor.

This document contains the guidelines you should follow in putting together your portfolio. It is important that you familiarize yourself with these guidelines early in the semester so that you can engage in the appropriate activities during the semester and gather the necessary materials to document your work throughout the semester. An important rule of thumb to keep in mind is this: save everything you do for this course; you may need it for your portfolio in May.

Contents. For the most part, the materials you choose to include in this portfolio will be up to you. In general, you should select materials that will reflect what you've done in the course and the progress you believe you've made on specific topics, as listed below. However, you will need to include a few specific kinds of documents, according to the guidelines below, that will serve as evidence that you have developed specific competencies and/or completed specific tasks.

In particular, you will need to include the following four sections in your portfolio:

1. Writing. Evidence of an understanding of writing as a process, and as a social and cultural activity, and as a technology. Some possible documents:

2. Tutoring. Evidence that you have learned to respond carefully and thoughtfully to the writing of others and that you have developed an understanding of and competence in working with student writers in the context of a one-on-one tutorial. Note that the tutorial report is a required part of this section of your portfolio; please follow the guidelines for that assignment. Some other possible documents:

  • your analysis of a student text for Essay #3;

  • copies of critiques you have written of your classmates' writing;

  • relevant Writing Center commentaries that address issues in tutoring, describe your own tutoring experiences, and/or reflect your learning about tutoring;

3. Diversity. Evidence that you have developed a deeper understanding of diversity in writing and have gained some knowledge about second-language writers and non-mainstream dialects. Some possible documents:

  • relevant materials from in-class exercises related to ESL and similar issues;

  • Writing Center commentaries in which you discuss ESL or other diversity issues in writing or tutoring;

  • relevant passages from your tutorial report or other course assignments in which you address issues of diversity;

  • a written discussion of your experiences in working with a second language writer in the Writing Center or a writer who speaks a non-mainstream dialect;

  • copies of or references to in-class exercises related to diversity.

4. Language Conventions. Evidence that you have enhanced your knowledge of the conventions of written English and that you have developed the ability to identify and address matters of grammar, usage, and style in your own writing as well as in the writing of others. Some possible documents:

  • revised versions of your essays that are free of errors that appeared in the original versions;

  • a description of the errors you have tended to make in your writing and how you've addressed them;

  • a discussion of how you addressed matters of grammar, usage, and style in tutorials you conducted;

  • relevant passages from essays #1, #2, or #3;

  • your grammar presentation paper (which you can choose to revise).

You should include in your portfolio brief introductions to each of the four sections described above; these section introductions should explain why you selected the documents in that section and what those documents reflect about your learning in the course.

Please note that you should incorporate discussion of technology wherever it is relevant throughout your portfolio. Specifically, you may want to address matters such as the uses of technology for writing; the influences of technologies like computers on the writing process; online tutoring; technological resources for writing and writing instruction; and so on.

In addition, you will need to include the following documents in your portfolio:

  • An overall introduction and table of contents in which you describe clearly what your portfolio contains and explain its contents.

  • A conclusion in which you offer an overall self-evaluation of your work in the course, specifically with respect to tutoring. (You may include a grade if you like.)

To summarize, then, you will need six sets of documents in your portfolio:

  • an introduction and table of contents;
  • documents for each of the four sections described above along with brief introductions to each of these sections;
  • a conclusion with a self-evaluation.

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Organization. Obviously, your portfolio can potentially contain a lot of different documents. You will need to organize these documents carefully so that the purpose of each is clear and so that it is easy for a reader to understand what is in the portfolio and what you intend to demonstrate in each section. The rule of thumb is to organize your portfolio in a way that makes it easy for someone to read through it and see that it meets the stated requirements for this assignment.

As noted above, you should include a brief introduction to each section in which you explain precisely what is in that section and what you intend to demonstrate in that section. These introductions need not be lengthy, but they should help a reader understand how you have set up your portfolio and why you have included the documents you have selected.

It may also be helpful to include relevant discussion of specific documents (such as copies of your essays or Writing Center commentaries) so that I understand exactly what these documents are intended to demonstrate.

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Format. You should submit your portfolio on a computer disk that contains only documents (files) you wish to include in your portfolio.

All documents should be Microsoft Word documents except, of course, those that were created for other purposes, such as a Powerpoint document, or hard copies of documents such as student texts that you may have collected in your work in the Writing Center.

Please make your introduction and table of contents a separate Microsoft Word file and title it "Contents." That will be the first file I open when I review your portfolio. Be sure to explain the file names of each of the other files on the disk so that I understand exactly what is included and in which order I should read the files.

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Grading. Your portfolio will be graded on the basis of thoroughness, the quality of the documents you provide for each section, and the appropriateness of the evidence you offer in each section. In addition, the following criteria will affect your portfolio grade:

  • The thoughtfulness and depth of your self-reflection evident in the documents and explanations included in the portfolio.
  • The organization and overall presentation of the portfolio.
  • The general quality of the writing contained in the portfolio.

It might be helpful to think of your portfolio as an extended effort on your part to demonstrate to a reader what you have learned about writing and tutoring in this course and to persuade that reader that you have indeed engaged in substantive learning during this semester and are prepared to be an effective tutor in our Writing Center.

The portfolio will count for 50% of your course grade.

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In-Class Work on Portfolios:

Weeks of April 22 and April 29

Optional Conferences:

Week of April 29

Final versions due:

Thursday, May 9

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