Essay #4: Portfolio and Self-Assessment

The Portfolio and Self-Assessment Essay, required in all sections of composition, are in many ways the most important documents that you’ll create for this class. Assembling the Portfolio will help you to see your progress as a writer over the course of the semester, and the Self-Assessment Essay will give you the chance to evaluate that work based on your own criteria as well as the course learning objectives.

The Portfolio

The Portfolio should include, at a minimum, the Self-Assessment Essay; revised and edited versions of your Opinion Editorial, Visual Essay and Critical Analysis; and any additional documents (or portions of documents) you composed over the semester that help you demonstrate the extent to which you’ve met the course learning objectives and developed your understanding of writing and argument.

For instance, in addition to providing polished versions of your essays, you might want to include drafts of essays, examples from homework, peer reviews, etc. Or, you may want to include copies of your annotations of course texts or copies of the notes you took while reading to demonstrate that you have developed strategies for critical reading. To demonstrate that your drafting process has changed, you might want to include a draft from an early and a late assignment that illustrate changes in your drafting process.

In order to better orient readers of your Portfolio, you’ll also need to compose introductions to (or abstracts for) each of the documents you showcase, including your major essays. Use this same approach for all of the Course Learning Objectives. (Be mindful that the documents you choose to include in your Portfolio should be referenced in your Self-Assessment Essay, which is further explained below. You will describe the documents, and their significance, in your essay. Thus, you’ll need to be very choosy in selecting which documents best represent your learning and development as a writer and be ready to refer to and analyze them in the Self-Assessment Essay.)

The portfolio will be housed on CUNY’s Academic Commons. Be aware of the privacy settings, and make your choices according to your own comfort level. While the arrangement of the portfolio is up to you, it should be easy to navigate. As with any Web site, you want to be able to find what you’re looking for without any interference. This might mean scanning handwritten notes, taking screenshots of annotated Web sites, and turning your essays into .PDFs or Web texts.

The Self-Assessment Essay    

The Self-Assessment Essay is a kind of research paper. Your development as a writer is the subject and the writing itself is your evidence. As you write your Self-Assessment Essay, you’ll be referring to the works you’ve included in your Portfolio. This essay answers two questions: To what extent have I achieved the course learning objectives? In what ways have my perceptions on what writing is and does evolved this semester? This essay will thus provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate how you’ve developed as a writer this semester and will serve as an introduction to your Portfolio.
Here are the Course Learning Objectives: Over the course of the semester, you will

  1. acknowledge your and others’ range of linguistic differences as resources, and draw on those resources to develop rhetorical sensibility
  2. enhance strategies for reading, drafting, revising, editing, and self-assessment
  3. negotiate your own writing goals and audience expectations regarding conventions of genre, medium, and rhetorical situation
  4. develop and engage in the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  5. engage in genre analysis and multimodal composing to explore effective writing across disciplinary contexts and beyond
  6. formulate and articulate a stance through and in your writing
  7. practice using various library resources, online databases, and the Internet to locate sources appropriate to your writing projects
  8. strengthen your source use practices (including evaluating, integrating, quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, synthesizing, analyzing, and citing sources)

The Self-Assessment Essay and Portfolio will not be evaluated on whether or not you have achieved the goals, but on how well you demonstrate your understanding of the goals that you have achieved and your thoughts about the goals that you have not achieved. It will be up to you how to incorporate your response to how your perceptions have evolved regarding the question, “What is writing?” You might want to devote a section of your Self-Assessment Essay to this subject alone, or you might want to weave this discussion into other parts.

Grading Rubric

While you won’t be asked to assess your own Self-Assessment Essay, you should be aware of the criteria that I’ll use when I assess it.

  1. Have you addressed all of the course learning objectives, even those that you feel you did not spend enough time working on?
  2. Have you articulated explicitly the ways in which your perceptions of writing have evolved?
  3. Have you provided evidence, in the form of your own writing and specific learning moments, that you have developed as a writer? Are you able to identify areas in which you have not progressed, either because you didn’t spend enough time with them or you feel that you had a strong start in those areas?
  4. Have you effectively revised and edited your four major essays?
  5. Is your portfolio design effective and appropriate for digital audiences?
    • Is your portfolio design simple and easy to navigate?
    • Have you maintained consistency from one page to the next
    • Have you used color and contrast to make things simple for your reader?
    • Have you considered font and page layout to create a neat, easy to read text?

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