ENG 12 Collaborative Portfolio Assessment (CPA)

Collaborative Portfolio Assessment (CPA)

Background and Overview of Portfolios in English 12

English 12 is the first half of the required 2-semester Composition sequence at Kingsborough, and, as such, it occupies a prominent place in the educational experience of all Kingsborough students.

For many years, students completed their experience in English 12 by taking a common, timed departmental writing exam.  Several faculty members were dissatisfied with the timed exam and expressed a strong desire for a more communal, shared system of final assessment that would provide more substantial and useful feedback for students and teachers.  In the Summer of 2009, a group of full-time faculty met voluntarily to craft a system of portfolio assessment that would better meet our needs as educators and our students’ needs as learners. The, in the Summer of 2015, fourteen faculty met to reconsider and revise the original policies and practices with an eye to sparking more interest among other faculty who teach English 12 regularly.  We created the current system of collaborative portfolio assessment with these goals in mind:

  • to provide students and teachers with clear, shared criteria for passing English 12;
  • to offer greater support to teachers in making final assessments of their students’ performance;
  • to make judgments of passing and failing English 12 collaborative judgments based on the perspectives of more than one instructor;
  • to incentivize students to take revision seriously as they prepare their final portfolios;
  • to bring more collaboration and social interaction to the experience of teaching English 12; we believe this makes teaching a more pleasant and rewarding profession.

The collaborative portfolio system in English 12 has been in place since the Fall of 2009.  Since Fall 2010, it has been mandatory for all new faculty teaching English 12, serving as a form of course-specific mentoring. Portfolio assessment also replaces the CUNY-wide, timed writing test for all ALP sections of English 12. It remains voluntary for all other faculty. It is independent from the Course Review Committee (CRC), but faculty are welcome to volunteer to serve on the CRC while also participating in collaborative portfolio assessment.

Our current practices for conducting collaborative assessment aim to keep things simple.  Faculty are grouped into small teams of 3-5 faculty members, and we ask that these teams meet twice during the course of the semester: at least one meeting before midterm to share approaches to teaching English 12 and plans for the Capstone project. Teams hold another meeting at the end of the term to discuss final assessments of students’ portfolios.

Here’s a breakdown of how the final assessment process works:

  • Team members schedule a meeting early in the semester to share syllabi, course calendars, and major assignments for ENG 12.  Everyone shares their plans for the Capstone assignment, as well as any questions and concerns they have about the course.  The goal of this sharing is to make each faculty’s approach to the course explicit and to provide an opportunity for faculty to support each other in the early weeks of the course.  In addition, at this meeting faculty should review the Final Portfolio Assessment Criteria document and should discuss their thoughts and feelings about the criteria (see link below).
  • On or around the last day of class, group members exchange their students’ portfolios for assessment.  It’s important that all members agree upon and commit to this date since it is vital that faculty have adequate time to read and respond to the portfolios.
  • Group members read students’ portfolios, completing feedback forms (see links below) for any that they think should fail English 12.  Please note that instructors needn’t do anything for portfolios that are clearly passing.
  • Teams meets to exchange assessed portfolios, to discuss the assessments that have been made, and to handle any appeals.  If one member disagrees with the initial assessment of a student’s portfolio, one of the other teachers will act as a “second reader” and provide their honest assessment.  If two instructors concur on an assessment, it should stand. Appeals should be handled by the faculty in an assessment group and should not be submitted to the directors of the Composition program for review.  Please note that failing the portfolio means failing the course.
  • During Kingsborough’s finals week, instructors set up a two-hour window during which time they can return portfolios to students and hold conferences with students who failed this process.

Participants in portfolio assessment (who are not teaching an ALP section or in the CRC) are paid as follows: part-time instructors receive 6 hours of pay at their non-teaching rate, full-time instructors receive .25 credits toward their annual course load.

Creating and Exchanging Portfolios during Remote Teaching

How you manage the portfolio exchange when teaching online is also something you should decide in your cohorts. Here are some approaches for sharing portfolios with your group members at the end of the semester. (See the page on digital portfolios in the menu for more resources.)

  1. Google Drive: Each student creates a folder that includes their drafted assignments.  Folders could be shared with members of your group.
  2. Dropbox:  Similar to Google Drive, each student shares a file folder with their drafted work.
  3. Google sites: Students create individual google sites and then share those with the instructor and outside reader OR instructors could create a class google site with individual pages for each student.  
  4. Granting Blackboard access: Each group member is given access on Blackboard to their other members of the groups. Faculty would look in the gradebook to find students’ assignments. Here’s a link to a short video to help you give other instructors access to your course. 
  5. Blackboard portfolios: Students create portfolios of their assignments to be shared with the reader. 
  6. Emailing: Students create a formal email with attachments of clearly labeled drafts to be forwarded to portfolio readers
  7. Hard copy option: There is always the old fashioned, low-tech option of printing out all the drafts. You would just need to find a way to get the portfolios to your group members. 

Whichever method you pick, remember that you will need to share detailed instructions with students and be sure your cohort members know how to access student portfolios. Please make a plan to meet with your portfolio cohort to 1) review your plans for the teaching the course; 2) review the Assessment Criteria document, 3) discuss how you will have students assemble portfolios; and 4) make a plan for exchanging and cross-reading portfolios at the end of the semester.

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