• Portfolio Assignment Begins at: 3/9 Mon.
  • First Draft Due: 4/27 Mon. – 5/1 Fri. (Conference Week)
  • Peer Review Workshop: 5/4 Mon.
  • Final Draft Due: 5/11 Mon.

Executive Summary

The Portfolio is 50% of your final grade, so clearly it is an important assignment. We will begin discussing the portfolio project early in the semester, but the portfolio isn’t due until the very end of the course. You will select two of following assignments to include in your portfolio: the proposal, the review posts, the analysis, and the argumentative essay. You will also write a reflective essay in which you discuss why you chose the texts you included and your experience of revising them for low and high order concerns.

There are three purposes for the portfolio. First, in asking you to select the texts you will include in your portfolio, you are being given an opportunity to claim an interest in your writing. In the “real world,” beyond the classroom, most writers have limited freedom in selecting their writing tasks. However, they do tend to write in areas in which they have expertise. You should select the texts that connect most closely with your interests and experience. The second purpose is to focus in a genuine and extensive way on revision. Often revision is misunderstood as little more than proofreading or editing, as a matter of fixing problems in a text. We know from research into writing practices that experienced writers approach revision differently from novice writers. Expert writers look at the big picture, considering their overall argument and their audience. They compose, write, and create in and through revision (both high order and low order). Novice writers tend to look at sentence-level issues. They usually type up a full document and then edit for low order concerns and maybe a few high order concerns. The difference is in how the writing process is approached. For expert writers, the process revolves around constant revision: write a small amount and then revise, develop, and build on what was written through reading your composition out loud and using a pen to mark it up with new revisions and developments. Then, compose more of the document. This goes on until they get a polished copy that is then revised at the global level as a whole document. For novice writers, the process tends to fall along the lines of write/type the whole document (whether in one sitting or multiple sittings); then, revise once for both high order and low order concerns. This project will allow you to move toward a more expert view of revision, as you will work on your revision over most of the semester. As such, you shouldn’t pick texts that you think are easiest to fix but rather the ones that you are most interested in continuing to develop. The final purpose is related to reflection. One of the things research tells us about improving as a writer is that advancement is often tied to what is called “meta-cognition.” Simply put, meta-cognition is having an awareness of your learning process, putting into words the experiences you have with writing. Your reflective essay is an opportunity for you to develop an awareness of your learning process with writing.

One final piece of advice: do the work! This is half of your grade for the semester. It should represent half the work you do for the course.

The Process of Portfolio

  1. Selecting Your Texts: though you may ultimately choose any two of the four major assignments, you will begin your revision process following the proposal and review blog assignments, so it is likely you will choose at least one of those to include in your portfolio. You should read through all the comments you receive and meet with me to discuss your revision plan.
  2. Bring Something New: you should not expect that your revision will simply entail fixing or expanding upon your existing text. The best revisions bring new material and/or a new perspective to a text. After all, re-vision technically means seeing again, with a fresh set of eyes. Though you will want to give yourself a week or so before you start your revision, you should not wait too long.
  3. Tracking Your Revision: keep track of what you do as you revise, as you will want to include details in your portfolio. Reflections on your writing and revising process will give you a good sense of how to write your reflection essay.
  4. Putting Together Your Portfolio: you will submit a paper portfolio. Pay attention to how to arrange your works in accordance with your governing theme. This guiding thread will give your portfolio an inner coherence. Following your portfolio theme, arrange each artifact. You can additionally include other materials except the revised versions of your assignments. For example, you may or may not want to make a title page. You can use “postwrite” or “storyboard” to show your progress of writing. You can even include comments that you received from the peer review workshops. Don’t forget that you are the “author” of the portfolio. Your innovative ideas and choices will shine your portfolio.


  • Two writing assignments from this semester substantially revised both at the low order and the high order level
  • A reflective essay that is at least 500 words in length

Evaluation Criteria

You will be evaluated by the following criteria, roughly in order of decreasing importance:

  • Significantly revise beyond sentence and paragraph level (high order revision)
  • Establish the governing principle of the portfolio
  • Introduce new material and/or a new perspective
  • Address the criteria for the original assignment
  • Respond thoughtfully to feedback
  • Reflect on your writing process

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