Portfolio Review for ELWR-Required Courses

Portfolio Components
Portfolio Presentation
Portfolio Scoring


Guidelines for Students Submitting Portfolios for ELWR Assessment

All students in ELWR-required classes (ELWR-required Core, Writing 20, 21, and 23) are required to complete a two-part portfolio as a final project for the course and in an attempt to satisfy the Entry Level Writing Requirement. The portfolio must include these two components:

1. A polished, text-based essay of at least four pages in length (up to five pages is acceptable).
Margins should be minimal. The only identifying information on this essay should be your student ID number, your course number, and your section number on the top of the first page. The text you draw on in your essay should be appropriate to a first-year college writing course. Assume that at least one of your audiences for this essay is the readers who will be assessing it for ELWR satisfaction. This means you can assume an intelligent readership, but one that will probably not be familiar with the text you use and that will not have participated in class discussion of that text. These readers will need you to provide sufficient contextual information to allow them to follow the ideas/arguments in your essay. While no specific form of citation is required, you need to clearly acknowledge any source material you use. Readers should be able to easily distinguish between your ideas/words and those of others. In making their assessment, readers will focus on six specific attributes of your essay:

  • the understanding of the text and the assignment topic for the essay—including providing sufficient contextual information for readers

  • the development of your ideas throughout the essay

  • the appropriateness of the essay’s style to first-year college writing

  • the use of examples to support, illustrate, and enrich your ideas

  • the reasoning/logic displayed in the essay

  • the use of conventional written English appropriate to a first-year college writing

This essay must be your own work. While you may work with a writing tutor and/or in writing groups as you develop and revise this essay, you may not have it edited or rewritten by someone else.

2. A self-assessment letter of at least two full pages (up to three pages is acceptable) that discusses your development as a writer and makes specific reference to your learning over the quarter and to the specific ways in which your essay reflects this learning. The only identifying information on this letter should be your student ID number, your course number, and your section number on the signature line. While you are not limited to the following topics, please carefully reflect on your growing skills as a writer in these areas:

  • the understanding of the text and the assignment topic for the essay—including providing sufficient contextual information for readers

  • the development of your ideas throughout the essay

  • the appropriateness of the essay’s style to first-year college writing

  • the use of examples to support, illustrate, and enrich your ideas

  • the reasoning/logic displayed in the essay

  • the use of conventional written English appropriate to a first-year college writing

While your instructor may help you to understand the expectations for this letter, you may not receive instructor or tutor feedback of any kind on this letter. You may work with peers in composing and revising this letter, but you may not have it edited or rewritten by someone else.

After you hand in your portfolio and before it is evaluated, your instructor will complete a brief form attesting to the fact that the materials you submit are your own work and that you have followed class and assessment guidelines for completing that work. 

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Portfolio Presentation

  • Submit your portfolio in a pocketed folder or a large envelope that does not require folding the papers. Portfolios in non-pocketed folders, three-ring binders, or vinyl report covers will not be accepted.
  • Include the following information on the outside of your portfolio: your ID number, your college, your instructor’s name, and the quarter and year during which you are submitting the portfolio.
  • Your portfolio must be submitted by the deadline your instructor sets, fulfill the requirements described above, and meet the criteria for a passing portfolio as described in the ELWR Portfolio Scoring Guide.

Your portfolio will not be returned, so you are advised to keep copies of all the materials you submit. 

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Portfolio Scoring Guide

Holistic descriptors for ELWR Portfolios

All descriptors take into account the point in the academic quarter at which these portfolios are being evaluated. While the portfolio contains only the final version of the paper, readers can assume that the student has received at least one written faculty response to a draft of the essay and has had a reasonable amount of time for revision following that response. The student may also have received instructor feedback during office hours or student conferences. Where the scoring guide refers to “academic writing” readers should not be bound to the specifics of any one academic discipline. Because the student will not have received instructor or tutor help with the self-assessment letter, readers can assume that it may be somewhat less effectively developed and presented than the essay. Most portfolios will not match the criteria for a single score. Instead, they will demonstrate characteristics from two or more scores. The holistic reader should assign the score that most closely matches the overall impression made by the portfolio.

A distinguished pass is clearly competent.

  • The essay in a distinguished pass portfolio represents a thoughtful response to the text. The essay provides readers with necessary contextual information. It moves beyond summary/restatement to thoughtful analysis or purpose of some kind. The essay offers sufficient, well-chosen examples and demonstrates sensible reasoning. The essay demonstrates an ability to use multiple, effective sentence structures. It reflects a solid understanding of the conventions of written English.

  • The self-assessment letter in a distinguished pass portfolio shows a clear understanding of the expectations of academic writing and of the student’s ability to use appropriate strategies to meet those expectations. The student can comfortably discuss topics like development, examples, reasoning, and conventions, making use of specifics from her/his own writing to illustrate this discussion. 

A passing portfolio is satisfactory, occasionally marginally so.

  • The essay in a passing portfolio represents an adequate response to the text. The essay usually provides readers with necessary contextual information. It moves beyond summary/restatement to an analysis or purpose of some kind. The essay offers appropriate examples and acceptable reasoning, though these may be somewhat limited. While the essay may contain some sentence-level weaknesses, it generally demonstrates an ability to construct clear sentences that reflect the conventions of written English.

  • The cover letter in a passing portfolio reflects a developing understanding of the expectations of academic writing and the student’s ability to usually choose appropriate strategies to meet those expectations. The student can discuss topics like development, examples, reasoning, and conventions, though discussion of these topics may be uneven. The letter will make some use of specific examples from the student’s own work in building this discussion.

A developing, but unsatisfactory portfolio is unsatisfactory in one or more ways.

  • The essay in a developing, but unsatisfactory portfolio is unsatisfactory in one or more of the following ways. It may demonstrate a limited understanding of the conventions of academic writing. It may fail to provide readers with some necessary contextual information. When discussing the text it may rely primarily on summary/restatement rather than analysis and it may lack a clear purpose. The essay may offer insufficient or inappropriate examples. It may reflect incomplete or less-than-logical reasoning. The reader’s understanding may be hindered frequent, minor errors or more occasional substantial errors.

  • The self-assessment  letter in a developing, but unsatisfactory portfolio may show limited understanding of the expectations of academic writing or a limited set of strategies to meet those expectations. The student’s discussion of topics like development, examples, reasoning, and conventions may be overly general or incomplete. The letter may not draw on adequate examples from the student’s own writing.

An unsatisfactory portfolio shows serious weaknesses, usually of several kinds.

  • The essay in an unsatisfactory portfolio may present a simplistic, incomplete, or incorrect understanding of the text. It may fail to provide readers with necessary contextual information. This essay is apt to rely on summary (perhaps inaccurate) or unsupported assertion, rather than engaging in analysis of some kind. It may not have a clear purpose. It may lack examples entirely or may use inappropriate examples. Its reasoning may be illogical or confused. The reader’s understanding is apt to be frequently disrupted with significant sentence-level errors.

  • The self-assessment letter in an unsatisfactory portfolio shows a lack of or a very limited understanding of the expectations of academic writing. It may employ ineffective strategies for developing and presenting ideas, and these ideas may often be unrelated to one another or to the text/topic. The student’s letter does not discuss topics like development, examples, reasoning, and conventions or discusses them in a way that shows a clear lack of understanding. The letter does not make use of examples from the student’s writing to illustrate this discussion or the examples offered are inappropriate for the concepts being discussed

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