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Julie and others...at our school this past year there was quite a bit of
time spent in staff development inservices talking about alternative
forms of assessment of student performance.  Naturally, portfolio
assessment  was one of the things talked about and considered.  As we
approached the end of the school year, our principal discussed with those
of us in the Department Head meeting that she would like to see this
explored more for next year.  We decided that one way to get people
started would be for each of us to put together a portfolio of our own
work.  In order to make this exercise as non-stressful as possible, it
was made clear to all involved that it would be done as a
self-assessment--no one would be required to share the portfolio, but
every professional staff member--administrators included--would compile
one by the last staff development day of the year (May 5 or so).  Many
teachers were stressed, even resentful, at first because it was such a
busy time of year.  However, with wonderful, humorous, stress-free
guidance from our principal the results were astounding.  People were
amazed at how validated they felt by composing a portfolio.  Dr. Sonnen,
our principal, later stated that the feedback from that staff development
day was probably the most positive  one she had ever had.  (After every
staff development inservice we are asked to fill out an evaluation.)
People were eager to share the contents of their portfolios as we
discovered we each had done some amazing, successful, and gratifying
things with students this year.  I don't think any of us would be afraid
of being evaluated this way in the future.  I also believe many teachers
will attempt to include some form of portfolio assessment of students
next year.

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