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Portfolios (e-Portfolios)

Portfolios are used by learners to document progress and achievements.  The evidence contained in a portfolio provides the resources for verifying competencies that have been achieved and are able to be equated with requirements for an individual’s program. Typically, a transcript will suffice as documentation for relevant college and seminary courses. More extensive documentation is necessary to verify the achieving of competencies through informal and non-formal learning experiences. Portfolios provide this documentation.

Portfolio is defined by MacIsaac and Jackson as a collection of materials that represents a learner’s work.

… a portfolio is defined as the structured documented history of a carefully selected assembly of coached or mentored accomplishments substantiated by materials (artifacts and attestations) that represent a learner’s work. These materials are accompanied by descriptive explanations and commentaries in which the learner defines, describes, and reflects on the accomplishments represented in the portfolio (Assessment Processes and Outcomes: Portfolio Construction by Doug MacIsaac and Lewis Jackson, pp.63-72 in Experiential Learning: A New Approach, Jackson, Lewis and Caffarella, Rosemary S. eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Number 62, Summer 1994, p. 64).

Artifacts and attestations in a portfolio are materials created by the learners or verified by others. 

Examples of artifacts are:

Examples of attestations are:

·         written correspondence

·         workshop and seminar notes

·         memos

·         term and research papers

·         video/audio tapes of teaching and preaching

·         journal and book reviews

·         published articles and books

·         reports

·         test results

·         lesson plans

·         meeting agendas and minutes

·         budgets

·         job descriptions

·         strategic planning reports

·         letters of recommendation

·         job performance evaluations

·         peer critiques

·         newspaper and other media accounts

·         honors and awards

·         certificates

·         licenses

·         diplomas

·         transcripts

·         membership in professional organizations

·         records of employment


The participant’s portfolio is representative in nature.  It is used to demonstrate the accomplishment of learning competencies in an individual’s training plan. Academic transcripts are used to provide documentation of courses taken at the college or seminary levels.

Portfolio development is for the purpose of communicating what has been learned to a designated audience.  In this case, the audience often includes a mentor, supervisory team, congregation, or regional or denominational group. Portfolio development is the responsibility of the participant.  It is done by the participant, not for the participant or to the participant.  It is an expression of an individual’s values, reflection, self-initiative, and it is strategic for the accomplishment of her or his program. The portfolio is developed to demonstrate the accomplishment of competencies.

Portfolio materials are to be saved in two ways: hard copy and electronically.  First, as hard copy: these documents may be organized in a three-ring binder or in file folders. Use of a three-ring binder should include index tabbed sheets for the different sections. If file folders are used, they may be organized in an accordion case or other type of portable organizer. Second, all documents are electronically archived in portfolio folders and files on the designated web site.

Portfolios contain the following parts:

·         Preface, with an autobiography and informal statement of professional goals;

·         Main section, divided into categories according to the competencies of the individual’s training plan. At the beginning of each category, there should be a statement that summarizes any documents that are to follow and explains what was selected and why it was selected as evidence;

·         Conclusion, in which the primary characteristics of the portfolio are summarized.

The main sections of a portfolio are developed to provide evidence that the training plan has been accomplished. Typical portfolio categories include the following (a file folder for each):

·         Faith and Calling

·         Bible

·         Theology and Church History

·         Church and Denominational Characteristics

·         Leadership and Organization

·         Pastoral Care and Ministry

·         Preaching and Worship

·         Teaching and Groups

·         Other

The participants give permission to their supervising team, and other accountability partners to have access to the portfolio. Portfolio resources are also shared between individuals. A completed portfolio is the basis for recommendations for program completion, competency, and certification.