Learning Portfolio Assignment

English 102: Learning Portfolio Assignment

For a printable version, click here: portofolio

The portfolio serves as a take-home final exam. Your portfolio should be presented in a 3 ring binder (your paper folder may work just fine).  It must have a Table of Contents and dividers for the different sections.  Remember that the portfolio counts for 20% of your grade in this course.

Read Chapter 30 in Writing Today. The purpose of the portfolio is for you to have the opportunity to review the work you have done this semester and reflect on it and on your progress as a writer and a critical thinker.


1.     Demonstrate your achievements as a writer and critical thinker during your first year of college writing.

2.     Enable assessment of your work as a writer and critical thinker.  This includes your own self-assessment as well as assessment by your instructor.

 Strong portfolios are built through a process of collection, selection, and reflection.  In other words, the portfolio is more than just a showcase of your work; it is a location in which you make judgments about how best to present yourself as an academic “composer,” and in which you provide reflective writing that helps you and your readers better understand how the portfolio was developed.

The portfolio has five parts. Each of these should be separated by a tab so that I can quickly find them.

Section A

            1. Letter of critical self-assessment

The first section of your Portfolio is a letter introducing yourself to your instructor and offering a critical self-assessment of your work as a writer during your first year of college.  A portfolio is more than the sum of its parts; its real value lies in its ability to demonstrate the meaningful connections between its parts. Your reflective letter is your opportunity to articulate and deepen your readers’, and your own, awareness of those connections.

Audience and tone.  Address your letter to the Instructor. The tone of your letter should be moderately formal.  In other words, assume that you are addressing faculty, but don’t feel you have to take a highly formal or distant tone. Write in the first-person singular (“I”).  Be as candid and specific as possible.

Structure.  The structure of your letter should be clear and simple.  This is not an academic essay, so you don’t need a thesis.  If you wish, you may answer each of the questions in order.

Content.  It’s fine to address topics not included in the following questions.  However, do be sure that your letter, at a minimum, provides a full and detailed response to each of the following questions.
1.    Why did you choose the two papers in Sections 4 and 5?  What do they demonstrate about you as a writer that you would like your instructor to notice?  Be specific about what you accomplished in each of these papers.

2.    During your first year at college, what writing skills have you acquired that you will carry forward into future classes?  Among these skills might be ways to draft and revise; come up with ideas; formulate a thesis; organize; use evidence; and seek out feedback.  Explain exactly how you acquired each skill you mention.
5.    During your first year at college, what writing skills have you realized you need more work on?  How will you get the ongoing support you need?  Explain exactly how you plan to improve each skill you mention.
6.    How is writing and/or critical thinking relevant to you as a student moving into your major?  How might one or both these abilities be relevant to you after you graduate?

Put a divider here:

SECTION B: Answer the following questions: your responses should be ONE PAGE EACH, typed,

2. World’s Shortest Research Paper

In this section of the portfolio, write a page about a problem you encountered in writing your World’s Shortest Research Paper, how you discovered the problem, and how you went about solving it.  Look at your invention and planning notes, drafts, and revisions. 

Then include your final graded paper.

 Put a divider here:

3.      Literary Analysis

 In this section, write a page about a problem you encountered in writing your Literary Analysis of a film/novel. Did you have trouble determining which film/novel to analyze? Did you have trouble identifying an interpretive question? Did you have trouble determining the features of an effective film/novel that related to your interpretive question, rather than simply retelling the story?  How did you solve these problems?  Did you encounter problems with your research?  Describe the process you used to solve this problem.

Then include your final graded paper.

 Put a divider here:

 4. Report on Proposals OR Position Paper

For this section, you have 2 choices. Write about either.

 In this section of the portfolio, write a page about a problem you encountered in writing either your Report on Proposals OR on you Position Paper How did you discover the problem, and how did you go about solving it.  Look at your invention and planning notes, drafts, and revisions. Consider how you applied the Classical Oration format to your paper.  You may choose to write about the challenges you had applying this new format to your writing.  Consider your research process.  What problems did you meet and solve?

Then include the final graded copy of your paper.

 Put a divider here:

 SECTION C: For this section, you have 2 choices.

 5.      Student Choice: Choose a paper to revise for a final time and new (perhaps) grade OR choose your favorite paper.


 1. Choose an essay to revise a final time.  Make sure to include a copy of the last graded draft, with my comments.  Revisions should be substantial enough that another reading will be productive for both of us. In other words, just a few changes will not change your grade. Really fix it up! Include your sources as well.


 2. Choose your favorite paper, or one you feel is your best, or one you liked writing the most. Include all invention work and my responses.  Write one page detailing why you believe this is your best or most enjoyable work.  Consider: Did you make a great deal of progress from rough draft to final draft?  If so, how?  Did you explore a new writing style or technique? Is there something special you learned about the subject or the writing process through writing this particular essay?  What was the process of writing this essay like for you?  Did you find this type of paper to be especially challenging?  Or did it flow very easily for you?  Why or why not?  Did you enjoy working with your group?  Why?

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