Senior Portfolio Project

Senior Portfolio Project

NOTE: I am heavily (and gratefully) indebted to CSN-HS teacher Gary Havener for almost all of the following information.

What is the Senior Portfolio Project?

  • Each CSNHS senior English student on all campuses is required to assemble and to present a portfolio as an exit exam. 
  • The portfolio needs to be linked by a focus, a theme, or other method of artistic unity. 
  • An oral presentation is also required and must address what you have accomplished in school and outside of school,  what goals you have set and attained, and what you plan to do following your graduation.
  • You are encouraged to be creative in your assembly but must include the following sections in a three ring binder using plastic dividers. Neatness counts.

What are the required sections for the project binder?

I.       Table of Contents

  • The Table of Contents, as the name implies, is a table detailing the specific contents of each section of your binder and where those contents may be found.  This should obviously be the first or second page in your binder — the first if you include no cover page, the second if you do.


II.      Educational / Career Section

  • Résumé  (must be a clean ungraded copy).  NOTE: See this page for help in writing your resumé.
  • Personal Essay  (must be a clean copy of the paper done for this class).  NOTE: See this page for examples of outstanding personal essays.
  • High school transcript  (unofficial)
  • College transcript  (unofficial)
  • Goals statements  (must be a clean copy) NOTE: See this page  for help in writing your goals statement.

Helpful Guide: The rubric for grading this assignment may be viewed for your convenience here:  Senior Portfolio Grade Sheet – Education Section.

 III.     Writing Portfolio

 Collect your best writing samples to put into your writing portfolio. Because no single type of writing adequately displays a student’s ability, you need to assemble a variety of writing. Your writing samples can be from this year as well as previous years. Some  pieces of writing may be taken from your English classes, but some may not AND you can use high school or college assignments both.

            A.  Introduction  (due with portfolios)

Prepare an introduction. This introduction should be about two pages typed, double-spaced. Since it is difficult to “introduce” a body of materials before   the materials themselves are finished and in place, you will want to compose your introduction last. Your introduction should focus attention on the positive aspects of your writing and educational career. Here are several points to address specifically in your introduction.  You won’t be able to do them all; focus on the ones about which you have the most to say:

  • Introduce the various selections in your portfolio and explain why you included them
  • Explain in what ways your approach to reading and writing has evolved over your high school and early college career
  • Discuss and illustrate two specific strategies or techniques of writing that you have used and found especially helpful
  • Describe the single most important insight or realization you have learned from your writing
  • Discuss something you have read that has had a positive influence on you
  • Identify the one aspect of your reading and writing behavior that you would most like to improve.


       B.  Three Writing Samples, i.e. your collected wit and wisdom

Any 3 of the following from any class, graded or not:

  • Personal essay (NOT the one included in the “Education” section of your portfolio — if you choose this option, this personal essay would be different)
  • Research paper
  • Literary analysis essay (e.g., the sonnet paper, a paper on Shakespeare or another author, a paper on a work of literature)
  • A short story, comic, or play or any other creative genre including poetry  (Note: these samples do not have to be class assignments.)
  • A lab report or other technical report done for a class
  • Any other academic or professional writing that demonstrates your communication skills

          Sections IV, V, and VI are not mandatory, but you should include anything that reflects well on you.

IV.     Other fields of endeavor

  •  Often it is the case that our interests, hobbies, friendships, charity or community work, involvement in religious life, or other fields may be more important for an understanding of your essential self than just your As on a report card.  Here is an opportunity to let the general public get a look at what you, Wonderful Student, do in your spare time.  You may wish to focus on hobbies, outside interests, causes, issues you are interested in exploring or talking about, classroom-appropriate ways you spend your spare time, or other information you would like to include that gives us a fuller picture of the person you are.

V.      Certificates, acceptance letters, scholarship notifications, (and any other official recognition of your wonderfulness)

  • This is fairly self-explanatory — any letters of acceptance to college, acknowledgements of your volunteer work or community service, et cetera, should be put in this section to give us a fuller picture of your hard work.


VI.     Photos

  • Obviously, all photographs need not only to be classroom-appropriate but also professional in tone: they should reflect a positive and professional image of you at your best.  You may (of course) include candid shots.  In short, do not include photographs that you would not wish to have published all over the Internet, on your grandma’s Facebook feed, or attached to an email in a college recruiter’s inbox.

What are the requirements for the oral presentation?

Your presentation will be from 5-6 minutes long and organized into three main sections: Where you came from, where you are, and where you are going.  After your presentation, you will have a 4-5 minute impromptu question session with judges from the Las Vegas community who will be assessing your oral presentation. 

  • May we use notes?
  • Yes — brief notes contained on no more than 3 index cards.
  • May we use props, visual aids, or PowerPoints?
  • PowerPoints are to be presented as visuals ONLY — no sound!  (You’re not putting together a music video.)  Any visuals are intended only as background and should not replace your speech. 
  • Is this graded?
  • Yes.  The grade you earn on the senior project will be your grade for the second semester final exam.

Suggested Outline for Oral Presentation

I. Where You Came From

  • What events shaped your character and personality?
  • What relationships with others shaped you?
  • What else made you into the individual you are today?

II. Where You Are

  • What have you accomplished in school?
  • What have you accomplished outside school?
  • What goals did you set for yourself before you came to CSNHS?
  • Why did you come to CSNHS, and how did your education help you?

III. Where You Are Going

  • What are you going to do after you graduate?
  • What goals have you set for yourself after graduation?
  • Conclude with a look toward your future

Presentation Pointers

  • Be early.  You will be given a specific time for your presentation; please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Wear “business professional” attire.  Dress as if you were interviewing for a job at a bank.  See this picture or related images on Google for “business attire.”
  • During the impromptu question session, the judges will (obviously) ask questions.  Please respond to the best of your ability, always being honest, polite, and positive.  Please avoid getting off-topic or including too much informatin.
  • Anticipate the questions the judges will ask you and develop a response beforehand.
  • Your portfolios will be in the room in which you will be presenting.  The judges may or may not have looked at them.
  • Courteously thank the judges for their time.  They are doing you a favor by helping you complete your requirements for graduation and to become a better speaker.

Will we be practicing this?

Yes.  You will deliver a practice presentation as a graded assignment in early May.

How will this be graded?

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