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Portfolio Documenting Professional Development


The use of portfolios is seen by many educators as a more “authentic” method to document personal professional growth and development of students and teachers. The success of this practice has been documented in many instances. The Graduate Education Department at Westminster College believes the portfolio can be a useful tool in the assessment of those pursuing the master degree or administrative certification. When used in conjunction with competency examinations and exit interviews, a more accurate picture of the student emerges.

We believe the portfolio to be a documented history of the graduate student’s or aspiring school administrator’s progress agains t a set of standards. It provides a clearer assessment of an individual’s performance in pursuit of a degree or certificate. In addition, the portfolio provides an individualized portrait of the student as a professional. The portfolio toward can benefit both the faculty and the individual student in assessing one’s progress toward a graduate or a career in school administration.


For the graduate faculty, the portfolio serves to:

  1. Provide a more authentic assessment and documentation of experiences
  2. Become a summative record of a student’s performance over time
  3. Become a monitoring instrument requiring more attention to the personal needs of the student and
  4. Facilitate development of positive faculty-student relationship

For the graduate student, the portfolio serves to:

  1. Provide the opportunity for self-evaluation
  2. Provide for reflection of one’s philosophy and practice
  3. Select artifacts which will be used for assessment and
  4. Become a resource file for future job searches

Portfolio Requirements

  1. Each student admitted to the administrative certification program will begin development of a portfolio which will be periodically monitored.
  2. It is required that a final review of the portfolio by faculty representatives be completed prior to approval for graduation or recommendation for issuance of an administrative certificate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the State of Ohio.
  3. The student will be responsible for the collection of artifacts for inclusion into the portfolio. An artifact is defined as any evidence used to document how standards are met. In addition, a student may include materials deemed to be useful in appraising a student’s growth as a graduate student or aspiring school administrator.

Portfolio Artifacts

Artifacts are part of a collection of professional documents that help to inform others about the individual. The following artifacts are required for all portfolios.

  1. A current professional resume
  2. Credentials
  3. Transcripts
  4. Educational platform- an individual’s personal belief in specific areas Sergiovanni and Staratt recommend the following for consideration:
    • Aims of education
    • Social significance of learning
    • Curriculum value
    • Image of learners
    • Image of teachers
    • Preferred pedagogy
    • Preferred student-teacher relationships
    • Preferred school climate
    • Administrative goals
    • Preferred administrative processes
  5. Professional development plan as identified for use during the internship of appropriate
  6. Documented field experiences, simulation, projects, and other practical activities related to superintendent’s specialization courses: The Superintendency, School Business Affairs and Resource Management, School Plant and Demographics, Collective Bargaining and Human Resources.

Other artifacts are highly recommended and are to be self-selected:

  1. Letters of recommendation or references
  2. Awards or honors
  3. Lists of professional accomplishments
  4. Work samples
  5. Research samples
  6. Exemplary projects
  7. Communication samples
  8. Personal writing or reflections
  9. Committee participation, curriculum or program design, etc.
  10. Professional membership

Evaluating Questions

  1. Does the artifact selected represent who I am as an educator?
  2. Does the artifact represent who I am as an administrator?
  3. Does the artifact reflect professional growth?
  4. Does the artifact reflect academic growth?
  5. Does the artifact reflect successes?

Advisory Comment

Be cautious in attempting to include too much material in a portfolio. The lack of experience or growth will be evident to the reviewer. Avoid the trivial. The inclusion of questionable material can only detract from a professional and useful portfolio.

“Thoughtful reflection, not a color printer, is the key to portfolio success.”

-Bryan Painter, Educational Leadership, V. 58, No. 5, 2001