What’s so important about the portfolio?
The portfolio assessment is an attempt to evaluate your entire writerly self. As you’re well aware by this point in the term, I’m not as concerned with your finished products as I am concerned with your development as a writer and work through writing tasks on your own. My philosophy on teaching and language has me stress individual writer development as opposed to focusing on rigid, artificial formats or rote memorization for later regurgitation.
The portfolio is supposed to show me your ability to go through the writing process, to make edits, (re)visions, and reflections. As you revise your assignments, I want you to be conscious of your process. The reason I didn’t give you many comments on grammar and mechanics all semester is because I feel that those are not as important (notice I didn’t say NOT important; I said not AS important) as comments about structure, organization, and content. Although I hope you leave this class with better skills to think about writing, I also hope you leave with more of a sense about your writing choices. Therefore, I’m asking you to include a reflective letter about those choices and your feelings as a writer.
What’s a Reflective Portfolio Cover Letter?
Your reflections in the reflective cover letter should include an introduction of yourself as a professional writer. Don’t tell me the grade you feel you deserve in the class; instead, explain that you understand that you approached the revisions considering audience and purpose. How did audience and purpose influence your choices? Don’t just assume I’m the audience. What is your beyond-the-classroom, assumed audience?
Additionally, you should briefly discuss the assignments you revised—what you changed, why you did the changes, what effect did the changes have on the paper. Aim for discussing higher order concerns and major, overall revisions; please don’t tell me you added a comma here and there—consider the larger picture. In fact, you should have a reason for the changes you discuss. Again, small changes such as, “I added commas where Dr. Toscano told me to,” aren’t worth mentioning. Instead, comments such as, “I paid close attention to my overusing prepositions and nominalizations and revised to have a more efficient prose style,” are more substantive. Truly reflective revision means you’re thinking about how your document best meets audience expectations and fulfills its purpose.
Specifically, I want you to describe the following:
- How you revised your cover letters and résumés to show that you are the ideal candidate for a particular job.
- How you incorporated a more efficient prose style in your work and/or how you thought critically about choosing the revised prose we discussed in class or choosing not to revise based on our class activities.
- What choices you made to best reach your assumed audience for your Set of Instructions.
- What communication means to you and how your understanding has changed (assuming it has; if it hasn’t…well, that would be interesting).
This reflective letter is very important to your portfolio because it tells me how you’ve been thinking about the writing you’ve done this semester. Remember, I’m not grading products; I’m grading your entire writing processes. Not including a reflective letter will adversely affect your final grade.
What to include in your portfolio?
Your portfolio should include the following items:
- Reflective Portfolio Cover Letter (very important)
- Cover Letter Assignment
- Set of Instructions
Please do not change your original assignment topics. I grade based on your process, so you must hand in the original papers to me in a folder (or bound together securely), so I will be able to see your improvement. Please don’t use 3-ring binders because they take up too much space. A folder (with pockets) is good enough.
When’s All This Due and How Do I Turn it In?
You should hand in your portfolio on Thursday, August 3rd. Remember, you must turn in the original papers I commented on.
Remember, your final grade is based on your work, effort, and participation.
What about Late Portfolios?
Late portfolios will not be accepted. Portfolios attached to e-mails will not be accepted. Let me repeat that: Portfolios attached to e-mails will not be accepted. Work out all computer and printing issues before the due date—August 3rd.