Sue Demers, Portfolio Coordinator — Scheduling / Reporting
The career portfolio is a compilation of four years of student work requiring teamwork between the student and the vocational and academic instructors. The student is responsible for the contents, and all instructors are responsible for guiding, encouraging, reviewing, and supporting the development of the portfolio. The four-year cumulative portfolio is refined during the senior year and presented for scoring as part of the school graduation requirements. To facilitate the creation of student portfolios, student work that demonstrates advanced or superior technical skills will be recognized by instructors and recommended for inclusion in the portfolio. Students are often unsure as to what qualifies for inclusion. Outstanding projects or skill sets should be photographed or documented and reported in the form of a 350 to 500-word narrative. Community service projects in which students demonstrate high-level technical skills make good entries. The projects chosen for inclusion in the portfolio should demonstrate the student’s attainment of several high-level vocational competencies and life skills. Evidence provided to accompany these projects should be detailed, clearly labeled, include technical terminology, and be accompanied by one or more digital images or drawings that enhance the narrative. Participation in special programs such as Tech Prep should be documented and included in the collection. Remember that the object of the portfolio is to showcase the individual as a motivated and skilled graduate of his or her technical area who is ready to continue on in the world of higher education or to enter the workforce.
Letters of recommendation from placement sites, vocational instructors, and members of the community should be collected for the portfolio. A wards and press releases citing high quality work the student completes as part of a group or as an individual should also be included. Ultimately, the portfolio is an advertisement for the student performing at his or her best. The portfolio, or parts of it, will serve students in the future as they seek access to higher education, quality job placements, and attainment of their Certificate of Occupational Proficiency.
In addition, the career portfolio is an integral part of the Certificate of Occupational Proficiency assessment process. Students competing for the C.O.P. will be required to submit a portfolio that adheres to the guidelines in this handbook. The portfolio will constitute 1/3 of the qualifying requirements for the COP. The remainder of the COP assessment will be the written test and the hands on demonstration of technical skills. The portfolio addresses additional areas of competency not addressed by the written test or the hands on demonstration of technical skills including literacy. It is intended to be a professional document with a serious tone and purpose demonstrating the student’s readiness for higher education and the workplace.
The GNBVT career portfolio will be divided into three sections: I. Employability, II. Credentials, and III. Work Samples. Although there are certain required entries for each section, provisions have been made for individual creativity. This flexibility allows individual technical areas to seamlessly incorporate the portfolio process into their own programs. This guide further attempts to clarify required entries and acceptable variations. In addition, the guide provides lists of entries that may be included in each section to enhance the student’s presentation.
Assessment of the portfolio will take place in the spring of the senior year and scoring will be standardized by means of a rubric. Students will be afforded an opportunity for a second scoring if their first attempt does not meet the standard of “Meets Requirements”; a minimal score of 2. Students will not be eligible to graduate without this piece. A copy of the rubric is included in this guide.
Finally, the assessment process of a wide variety of technical areas requires that the portfolio address skills common to all. Hence, the focus of the first two sections is employability skills. Nevertheless, the core of the portfolio is the Work Sample Section in which students are expected to demonstrate high-level technical competencies (a minimum of 7 work sample – 1 from grade 9, 2 from grade 10, 2 from grade 11 and 2 from grade 12). The scoring of this section is closely linked to the lists of vocational competencies produced by the technical committees and approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Work Sample section of the portfolio tests the student’s ability to communicate his or her skills to a team of experts. The portfolio forces the student to begin the lifelong process of self-evaluation that will assist the student to recognize the skills they have, as well as those they have yet to master, and lead them to become lifelong learners.
Employability skills are those qualities that graduates from every program worldwide must achieve to experience success in the workplace as well as the halls of higher education. They include communication skills, motivation, the ability to be a team player and many other technical and non-technical skills. Without attaining an acceptable number of these skills, students are likely to encounter stumbling blocks along their career paths. Therefore, the Employability section of the portfolio is the first section. This section must include an introductory piece and a list of technical competencies attained by the student and validated by a representative of the student’s school.
This written narrative (Goals essay) is the first document a reader will see when examining the portfolio. The tone should be serious and professional as the audience will be primarily the scoring committee, admission officers, and potential employers. It may be written as an introductory letter in which students summarize their academic and career plans. It is similar in scope to a cover letter for a resume or a college essay. This introductory piece must include a level of detail sufficient to provide the reader with a clear picture of the presenter’s career plan. It will include a sufficient level of detail to indicate that the student plan has been carefully developed and guided by academic, technical, and guidance personnel. Electronic submissions may submit this piece as a voice over for their presentation. However, it must be the opening piece. Goals essay is required Freshman and Senior years.
The competency list must include all competencies designated by the appropriate technical committee and approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Technical areas that do not yet have the required DESE approved lists may substitute the competency list designed in-house. This list must be current, signed, and dated by appropriate instructors. An individual certified in the area of technical study must validate the list. The included list will indicate the student’s skill level in each area. Seniors must include the Competency list senior year.
Massachusetts Cooperative Education Learning Program
Every senior participating in the Cooperative Education Program must include in his or her portfolio Work Based Competency lists validated by the Cooperative Education supervisor and an individual certified in the student’s area of technical study (Career and Technical Program). This list may by designed by the individual school, but must be based on the recommendations of the C.O.P. Employability Skills Committee and approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A copy of the document used by GNBVT is located in the appendix.
Students may include any similar documentation used by their school to provide evidence of their acquisition of workplace skills, for example, the Massachusetts Work Based Learning Plan, career-planning profiles, or employee skill plans. All submitted documents must be validated in order to appear in the portfolio. Also, students must include the Career Transition Plan that they work on with their respective guidance counselor.
Attendance Record (optional)
Students may wish to include a copy of their attendance record as evidence of their reliability. Students should include this only if they have really good attendance practices. This may be obtained in the Guidance Department.
The credentials section will showcase further evidence of student’s readiness for entry into the workplace environment. Student candidates for the Certificate of Occupational Proficiency will prepare this section as if they were at the beginning of a job search. Required elements include a professional resume and references. Additional entries may include a variety of awards, recognitions, and licenses. This section is also the location for documents related to participation in special programs such as Tech Prep or Skills USA. Transcripts may also be considered for students with exemplary documentation. In general, this section of the portfolio is the location for any validated record that further proves a student’s readiness for the workplace.
Resume- There is no standard format required for the C.O.P. portfolio, however, the resume should adequately summarize a student’s marketable skills. The resume is, in fact, a one-page encapsulation of all other documents. It includes a clear and specific objective, personal information, education to date, marketable skills or qualifications, and references. Any resume format adopted should be professional in tone and appearance. Samples are included in the Appendix.
References- Candidates must submit (3) references with their portfolio. References will be held to workplace standards, i.e. references from family members or individuals who cannot truly validate a student’s qualifications for the workplace or higher learning are not acceptable.
Licenses- Students who obtain professional certifications or licenses should include them in this section of the portfolio. These documents make the student more marketable and validate the student’s attainment of benchmark skills. Licenses and certificates should be appropriately grouped.
Transcript- The inclusion of the transcript is optional, however, students who wish to demonstrate a strong academic history as well as a challenging course of study should be encouraged to include the transcript. A copy of a student transcript may be obtained in the Guidance Department.
Awards- The inclusion of awards is optional. However, students may wish to include them as further evidence of their personal commitment to high standards in all areas of their life. The awards should follow the licenses and be appropriately grouped. Suggested groups are academic awards, community service awards, special organizations (Boy Scouts, 4H, various religious organizations), and athletics. Students should carefully review these awards and avoid repetition (28 basketball participation awards) and quality. It is important that awards selected for inclusion provide evidence of accomplishment rather than participation.
Community Service- A log of all community service hours is mandatory. A career and technical teacher should sign off on the checklist that you have met the minimum 20 hours and a separate tab of all community service hours dated and signed by community service organizer must be maintained in the career portfolio for all students beginning with the class of 2012 and each graduating class thereafter.
Students are required to submit a minimum of seven substantial work samples that provide evidence of their acquisition of high level technical skills identified by the technical competencies of their respective technical areas. Work samples may be presented in a variety of formats, but must include clear explanations of 350- 500 words and visual evidence. Some technical areas may require drawings, calculations, and materials lists accompanied by narrative. Others may be narrative based with images added to enhance understanding. Electronic submissions may substitute voice-overs for written narrative or narrated video clips of technical demonstrations. Each entry in this section must be visibly labeled in order that a nontechnical reader or viewer of the portfolio is able to understand the submission.
Career portfolios are intended to demonstrate technical growth over time; therefore, students who accumulate work samples over the course of their four-year program should be directed to include all of their work samples. These work samples should be logically organized (freshman samples, sophomore samples, junior samples, senior samples) to avoid confusion during the scoring process. Only students who demonstrate growth over time in the Work Sample section of the portfolio will be eligible for a score of “Advanced” (4). However, the Occupational Competency score in the rubric is based on the four substantial samples gathered from the junior and senior years.
In general, all work samples should be clearly organized, provide adequate detail, include visuals, and provide evidence of the attainment of complex technical skills.
Samples are available in the appendix of this guide.
Senior technical instructors are responsible for guiding the students as they select work samples for their portfolios. Students should be directed towards showcasing the highest level of technical skill they have attained. All work samples must be read for technical content before the portfolio is submitted to the scoring committee.
The portfolio rubric targets six categories for assessment, employability, occupational competencies, credentials, work samples, design quality and organization, and written communication. Each category will be measured against anchor portfolios. Students must meet a minimum standard of “meets requirements” (2) for the portfolio to be considered.
Electronic Portfolios must meet the same requirements and will be scored with the same rubric.
Scoring will begin in the spring of the senior year. The Portfolio Scoring Committee is comprised of the Scheduling / Reporting Coordinator (Portfolio Chair person) and two Career and Technical Teachers (Portfolio Readers). Students may present their own electronic portfolio if need be. Portfolios failing below the minimum standard will be returned to the student for revision. The student will be provided with the necessary support and direction to improve the portfolio before the second round of scoring.
After each technical area has completed the first scoring cycle, students who failed to meet the minimum standard during the first cycle will be eligible to resubmit their portfolio. Students who do not meet the minimum standard by the deadline set by the school administration will not be allowed to attend graduation. However, students may submit their revised portfolios during the summer school session following graduation in order to be awarded a diploma. Questions arising from special situations should be directed to the Scheduling / Reporting Coordinator.