NBPTS Assessments: The Portfolio Activities

April 20, 1994 4 min read

Professional-Background Information

Candidate provides information to document participation in communities outside the classroom, with other professionals or students’ families.

  • Reflects on professional experiences and selects a partnership-type activity to describe.
  • Provides information on professional background, either by filling out a form supplied by N.B.T.P.S. or by enclosing resume.
  • Writes a one- or two-page typed, double-spaced description of participation in a learning community outside the classroom.

Student-Learning Exercise

Candidate demonstrates understanding of students as writers, candidate’s own knowledge of writing, and how candidate helps individual students become better writers.

  • Selects a class and period of instruction to feature.
  • Selects three or more students from whom to collect writing samples and gathers instructional materials and teacher’s notes that may help explain the work. Periodically makes notes about the students and candidate’s instruction.
  • Selects three students and five to eight examples of their writing. Should be different kinds of writers and learners.
  • Writes commentaries on each student’s work of approximately three typed, double-spaced pages. Must describe and analyze student’s learning and how instruction influenced that learning. May include “artifacts of instruction,’' including handouts and teacher comments to students.

Post-Reading Interpretive Discussion

Candidate engages students in discussion to help them build interpretations of a piece of literature and develop discussion abilities. The discussion is not to take place during the three weeks used for Planning and Teaching Exercise.

  • Videotapes a discussion that takes place with at least four students after reading the same piece of literature.
  • Prepares a 15- to 20-minute videotaped segment of discussion that shows students engaged in the kind of talk about literature that builds interpretations and is appropriate for this group of students.
  • Writes commentary about the entire discussion providing context, describing how discussion unfolded, and evaluating discussion, in terms of interaction during it and how it helped students build interpretations.

Planning and Teaching Exercise

Candidate documents teaching to show coherent approach to instruction, an integrated English language-arts curriculum, and cultural awareness.

  • Selects one class of students on which to focus.
  • Prepares chronicles of activities that describe what happened each class period for three weeks and collects three samples of instructional materials used.
  • Videotapes one class session during the three weeks that will serve as an example of the classroom in action.
  • Writes commentary of no more than eight typed, double-spaced pages that describes how the candidate organized coherent instruction, used an integrated curriculum, and displayed cultural awareness. The commentary is to include a discussion of the videotaped lesson and the days preceding and following it.

Early Adolescence/Generalist

Professional Development and Service

Candidate provides an overview of his professional career, highlighting the impact of his professional development and service.

  • Reflects on professional growth and contributions to the profession.
  • Selects an area of practice that has been affected by professional development and an area of service that has contributed to the profession.
  • Develops a vita with brief clarifying descriptions.
  • Writes an account of each of the two selected areas.
  • Selects colleagues to submit letters of support.

Teaching and Learning

Candidate prepares a narrative describing her work with a class during a selected period of teaching and learning. The experiences of three students are presented as examples. A collection of exhibits illustrates the teaching and learning.

  • Selects class and featured period of instruction.

  • Selects from this class three students who represent a variety of learning characteristics.

  • Regularly videotapes teaching-and-learning activities and collects samples of students’ work, instructional artifacts, and teaching notes and reflections.

  • Prepares narrative and illustrates it with exhibits.

  • Writes a description of teaching situation and selected class.

  • Writes a description of each of the three selected students.

  • Writes an account of the teaching and learning that occurred over the featured period of instruction and illustrates it with selected exhibits.

Analyzing Your Lesson

Candidate gives an account of a single lesson that occurred during the period of instruction featured in Teaching and Learning focusing on five to seven points of particular importance.

  • Selects an unedited videotape of 30-45 minutes of instruction.
  • Chooses five to seven points of particular importance to highlight.
  • Provides background information that serves as context for the videotaped instruction.
  • At the Assessment Center, discusses the videotaped lesson addressing seleted points and responding to interviewer questions.

SOURCE: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 20, 1994 edition of Education Week as NBPTS Assessments: The Portfolio Activities