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Inside the Writing Portfolio: What We Need to Know to Assess Children's Writing

Inside the Writing Portfolio: What We Need to Know to Assess Children's Writing
Author: Carol B Jenkins
ISBN 13: 9780435088934
ISBN 10: 435088939
Edition: 1
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication Date: 1996-04-01
Format: Paperback
Pages: 282
List Price: $38.75

In the final analysis, it is teacher knowledge that will make or break the promise of portfolio assessment. If we are to understand children's portfolio selections and reflections, and if we are to bring a sophisticated level of analysis to children's writing, we need to possess a working knowledge of what the research tells us about the nature and development of children's writing.

Inside the Writing Portfolio addresses the primacy of teacher knowledge in the portfolio process. It seeks to answer questions such as:

  • What do we need to know in order to assess the personal narratives, stories, and nonfiction pieces that children choose for their portfolios?
  • How do we mark progress in children's stories or nonfiction reports?
  • What do we need to know to assess the conventions of spelling, punctuation, and handwriting in their selected pieces?
  • How do we assess children's self-assessment insights and their goals for future learning?

Jenkins makes the case for the collaborative portfolio--a portfolio that merges the selections, reflections, and goals of both the child and the teacher. In the collaborative portfolio model, the child retains ownership of his/her showcase portfolio. At the same time, the teacher creates a school-based collaborative portfolio which contains the child's assessment decisions as well as the teacher's selections, reflections, and goals. This book takes the stance that if portfolio assessment is to stand as a viable alternative to standardized measures, it is essential to capture the insights of both the child and the teacher in order to illuminate the full extent of a child's learning--past, present, and future.

Jenkins walks us through the collaborative portfolio of Shane, a third-grade student, following his progress through grades four and five. Research findings are presented in conjunction with Shane's writing record, writing samples, excerpts from his interviews and surveys, and other materials. Jenkins also provides additional analysis of work from both younger and older children to illustrate the development of writing across a broad age range. She completes the assessment picture with writing samples from both home and school, highlighting the expansive nature of literacy.

Inservice and preservice teachers will find this an ideal resource for bolstering their knowledge about the developmental nature of writing in the genres of personal narratives, story, and exposition.