Bravely Go Where Few Have Gone Before with Digital Portfolios

  • All student names mentioned in the article have been changed, and all student work has been used with permission.
  • Much of the information and worksheets seen in this article are a result of my involvement in several portfolio activities in which I, along with others, created tools to use in the portfolio process including the following:
    The Federal Improvement Plan for Secondary Education (FIPSE) project with Tidewater Community College (TCC) and Salem High School and Landstown High School (2000-2001). This project is going into its fifth year. Its aim is to decrease the number of freshmen going into remedial English. Over the last four years, the program has been extremely successful in lowering the number of students entering remedial English.Virginia Beach City Public Schools Cohort 3 Portfolios Assessment Project (2001-2002). This project was designed to help implement the use of portfolios across the city. Members of all the cohorts were trained in the use and assessment of portfolios. The project is in its fourth year.
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About Elizabeth H. Beagle
Elizabeth H. Beagle has been teaching for nine years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Old Dominion University. Her experience ranges from at risk students (Open Campus High School) to the private sector (Ryan Academy). Currently she teaches at Landstown High School. She has been involved in numerous professional activities including curriculum writing, Federal Improvement Plan for Secondary Education (FIPSE) project (Salem and Landstown High Schools), and Summer Professional Development Academy (SPDA) and Applying Practical Principles with the Learning Environment (APPLE) training. She is eager to integrate technology into her classroom and is continuously seeking new ways to do so.

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September, 2002

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This year we will be compiling a digital writing portfolio. The purpose is for the student to select pieces of writing that showcase his or her growth as a writer. The portfolio will be collected several times this year including at mid-term and the final exam. The portfolio will be used to evaluate student writing and to assess his or her improvement. We will be calling on you to help us in this process. I look forward to working with you in an effort to improve your child's writing.

The portfolio will contain the following:

  • Annotated table of contents
  • Opening reflective piece
  • Two pieces of writing completed in this class and a reflection, for each piece
  • Writer's choice
  • Closing reflection letter

The students will be asked to supply 2 floppy disks (3.5 HD). If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 468-3800 (2010) or via e-mail at

Elizabeth H. Beagle

I have read and understand the attached letter about the digital portfolio expectations.

Student: _____________________________________ Parent/Guardian: ________________________________ Comments:

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May 20, 2002

Dear parents/friends,

Once again we need your help. We are getting ready to add the finishing touches to our writing portfolio. We need your advice in order to make the final selections. Please review the pieces in the portfolio and select two pieces that you feel reflect the writing strengths of the author. You do not have to grade them; just select two pieces that you feel are good and fill in the bottom of this page. Thanks again for your help!

Elizabeth H. Beagle


Title of piece you like:

Reason(s) you liked it:

Title of piece you like

Reason(s) you liked it:

Signature: ______________________________


Title of piece you like:

Reason(s) you liked it:

Title of piece you like:

Reason(s) you liked it:

Signature: ______________________________

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Process Reflection Letter

The purpose of this letter is to elaborate on the process you used in order to write the final draft of your letter. Follow the steps below:

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Above Avg




Below Avg




Shows a mastery of a variety of tasks (4 or more)

Includes an annotated table of contents

Includes hyperlinks


Shows evidence of significant revision

Exhibits evidence of coachability


Used as a means of self reflection

Addresses strengths & weaknesses

Indicates growth in writing

Demonstrates and explains the writing process


Voice is evident

Variety of sentence structures

Shows an awareness of purpose and audience

Texts are relatively free of errors


Effectively used the chosen medium

Includes hyperlinks, graphs, pictures, etc.