General Studies Writing Program
Portfolio Assessment Overview & Video
The General Studies Writing Program at Bowling Green State University, which serves about 4000 students a semester, has developed a culture which is in many ways shaped by portfolio assessment. The General Studies Writing Program—often nicknamed GSW—has a long history of asking students to maintain writing portfolios which provide excellent multiple benefits to GSW students, to GSW’s teaching staff, and to the GSW Program.
In a nutshell, in lieu of giving a traditional final exam, General Studies Writing requires students to save all of their coursework—including notes and drafts—in a portfolio folder. Students and their instructor work extensively with the portfolios throughout the term to monitor each student’s writing progress from paper to paper. However, at the end of the course the portfolios take on yet another important function: the portfolios of students who have met their instructor’s achievement requirements are assessed by another GSW instructor. If a portfolio passes this assessment, the student passes the course. If a portfolio does not pass this assessment, the portfolio is reviewed by a GSW administrator or by a specially-trained writing instructor to determine whether the writing is strong enough to pass, or whether the student is in need of further instruction and practice.
Unlike traditional grading systems—in which final grades are determined by an average of the grades given throughout a semester—GSW’s portfolio assessment allows each student’s writing progress throughout the semester to be considered in determining whether the student has achieved the level of writing proficiency necessary for passing the course. As well, through portfolio assessment, GSW is able to ensure that the program’s standards are maintained every semester.
Please be sure to view our short video or to contact the General Studies Writing office for additional information regarding portfolio assessment.
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