A math portfolio contains samples of a student's work that is collected
over a given length of time. A good portfolio offers insights to a
student's thinking, understanding, and mathematical problem-solving skills,
and thus offers a picture of the student's progress in math. Following are
some suggestions on how you can incorporate the use of portfolios in your math
Explain to your students what a portfolio is and how
it will be used.
Provide students with portfolio envelopes. They should be large enough to
hold various kinds of work.
Make sure that your students understand that they are to select their best
work for their portfolios. Because one of the purposes of the portfolio is to
show individual growth, all papers should be dated.
Portfolios may be one of two kinds: an assessment portfolio that shows
particular growth, or a work portfolio that contains various projects and
activities. Generally, papers from the work portfolio are selected to go into
the assessment portfolio.
While you may guide students in their selection of material for their
portfolios, they should be the judges of what actually goes in.
The material that goes into a portfolio should help the teacher and others
to understand how students see themselves in the learning of math.
Many papers, activities, and projects are appropriate for inclusion in a
portfolio. Following are some suggestions:
A table of contents
Solutions to difficult problems that detail problem-solving abilities
The use of mathematics in another discipline
Problems created by the student
An example of the student's group activity
A written report on a major topic in math
The student's written account of his or her growth in mathematics
Responses to challenging questions and problems
A written explanation of the contents of the