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The Power of Portfolios: What Children Can Teach Us About Learning and Assessment

ISBN: 978-0-7879-5871-8
176 pages
August 2001, Jossey-Bass
The Power of Portfolios: What Children Can Teach Us About Learning and Assessment  (0787958719) cover image


How should a student's learning be measured and assessed? Standardized tests identify the most knowledgeable child, whereas student portfolios can identify the knowledge level of each individual child. In The Power of Portfolios, Elizabeth A. Hebert offers a practical and imaginative approach for using portfolios with elementary level students and shows how the portfolio process can serve as a powerful motivational tool by encouraging students to assess their own work, set goals, and take responsibility for future learning. Throughout the book Hebert relates stories that illuminate the lessons learned -- by the students, teachers, and principal -- from a school that has used portfolios for more than a decade. Rather than prescribing what the portfolio should contain and how it should be assessed, she offers practical guidance, including classroom exercises, for making the portfolio experience a success for the students, the teachers, and the school as a whole.
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Table of Contents



LESSON 1: Children Can Assess Their Own Learning.

LESSON 2: Children Learn All the Time.

LESSON 3: Teachers Learn All the Time, Too.

LESSON 4: Getting Clear on Portfolio Purpose, Ownership, and Content.

LESSON 5: Portfolios Encourage Children to Think About Their Learning.

LESSON 6: Portfolios Respond to the Individual Needs of Students.

LESSON 7: Designating a Space and Place for Gathering Memories.

LESSON 8: A Celebration Connects Child, Portfolio, and Audience.

LESSON 9: Teaching Parents How to Be Part of the Portfolio Conference.

LESSON 10: Listening for Children's Meaning.

LESSON 11: Creating a Language for Portfolios.

CONCLUSION: Lessons Learned About Portfolios.


The Author.References.
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Author Information

ELIZABETH A. HEBERT is the principal of Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois. She has lectured and written extensively on the topics of student portfolios, school architecture, inclusion of special needs children in the classroom, and school leadership.
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"Hebert writes from experience." (Teacher, 2/1/02)

"...grounded in theory and experience...recommended at all levels." (Choice, 9/02)

"Overall The Power of Portfolios is an excellent book." (Arts and Activities, 9/02)

"Provides vivid examples of the ways in which children can become the curators of their own work, thus not only advancing their own learning but helping teachers and parents understand better what they have learned. It's a fine contribution and one that I highly recommend." (Elliot W. Eisner, Lee Jacks Professor of Education and Professor of Art, Stanford University)

"At last, a book about portfolios that goes beyond the buzzwords. Drawing on fifteen years of `hands-on' experience, Beth Hebert vividly conveys the educational dividends of a genuine portfolio culture." (Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education)

"A practical and inspiring look at how portfolios can help us understand and assess a child's learning. Perfect for use as a faculty book study." (Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian Radford Professor of Education, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas)

"This book is a comprehensive guide to creating an ongoing portfolio from kindergarten to fifth grade. An additional bonus, that can be found in the book, is what can be accomplished when a staff works together for a common goal." (Lucy Biles, media specialist, Gaston County Schools)

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