Using Portfolios for Gifted Students

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The Two Portfolios

There should be two portfolios in the classroom for gifted students. One portfolio should be quantitative that includes progress reports, specific academic work with grading that addresses the specific learning disabilities and challenges, and learning objectives detailed and outlined as part of the student’s IEPs (Individual Education Plan). The second portfolio should belong to the gifted student and contain the creative pursuits specific to the expected learning objectives. The following outlines will show each portfolio and the contents:

Portfolio 1

  • Progress reports-quarterly and as defined by the District
  • Diagnostic reports-testing in specific areas as defined in the student’s IEP
  • IEP summaries-a copy of the actual IEP should never be kept in the student’s portfolio, but a summary of IEP learning objectives should be available for lesson construct and assessment growth
  • Logs-parent phone calls, conferences, IEP team conferences, counseling check-in and student conferences should be included in the portfolio in case specific dates and times are needed for an IEP amendment conference or parent conference
  • Subject content artifacts-sample contents of academic content areas and their grading should be included to show definite gains or deficiencies in a student’s work performance
  • Notes- teacher notes and evaluations should be included in the portfolio along with copies of student reflection notes (with student permission)
  • Rubrics-a sample of specific rubrics used for grading should be included in the portfolio

Portfolio 2

  • Learning objective-the gifted student’s creative portfolio must have a learning objective and a focus for creative content
  • Creative content-students should be allowed to pick their best works and include samples of their least favorites as a comparative
  • Rubrics- student created rubrics should be included in the portfolio. Gifted students should be able to connect a rubric with a specific creative artifact to show if he/she met learning standard and how the work could be improved if standards were not met
  • Reflections- gifted students should journal consistently and provide sample reflections on whether they feel they are meeting learning objectives and what additional challenges they would like included in Portfolio 2.
  • Presentations- students should be given periodic opportunities to share their portfolio with their peers, parents and other interested adults for feedback and celebration

The use of portfolios for gifted students can greatly enhance the learning experience for them along with providing opportunities to challenge and motivate beyond the classroom. When students are able to have ownership of their learning using portfolios and evaluate their creative work with real world applications, the learning becomes truly individualized and proactive.