The Plan B – Professional Portfolio is a collaborative process that enables students to show a breadth of knowledge and competency relative to the professional standards for the program.
What is a Professional Portfolio?
A professional portfolio is an organized and annotated collection of exemplars—material evidence of professional endeavors—that provide a comprehensive view of the student’s accomplishments. The portfolio is used to evaluate progress toward meeting the MEd ECE program’s Professional Standards for Early Childhood Educators. MEd ECE Program standards align with the Professional Standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), State of Hawaiʻi, Attitudes Skills and Knowledge (ASKS) for Early Care and Education Practitioners, and E Mālama I Nā Keiki, Common Essential Principles of Practice for Hawaiʻi’s Early Childhood Practitioners and National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. The standards and principles represent areas of competence and commitment that the MEd/ECE program is designed to help students address. The portfolio enables the student to report professional activities in their real-world context.
Portfolio assessment is an option in this program that emphasizes self-awareness, analysis of change over time, and personal reflection. The portfolio should be grounded in research and present a body or work that reflects the student’s of theory and practice. It will include: statement of philosophy relating to early care and education; evidence of workplace and professional leadership activities such as newsletters, curricula, articles, research, children’s work samples; and reflection on these endeavors. The portfolio involves selection—it should not be an exhaustive catalogue of all of the student’s activities and accomplishments. Exemplars included in the portfolio are chosen and arranged to illustrate progress in demonstrating one or more program standards. A statement that explains what the exemplar is will accompany each exemplar and why it was selected, the competencies and dispositions the exemplar demonstrates, what was learned and how it will be applied to future professional practice. A competently communicated portfolio will reveal the complex and integrated nature of the early childhood educator’s work.
In consultation with their advisors, students use the portfolio to assess their current standing and progress towards mastery of the standards. From the start of the program, students will begin to collect exemplars and develop their portfolio, bringing together examples of competency from key assignments as well as exemplars from work or other professional experiences beyond course assignments. The final draft of each candidate’s portfolio is rated by two members of the MEd ECE faculty and collaboration team. Resources and student samples are available in the MEd ECE Laulima site.
The Portfolio Process is an Opportunity for Reflective Practice
- The portfolio provides a way for you to engage in considerable reflection on yourself as a professional.
- The portfolio process can be a powerful professional development tool.
- The portfolio can be useful in selling yourself for a new position or promotion.
- The portfolio makes you organize your teaching/administrative/service delivery resources.
- The portfolio requires scholarly writing that demonstrates the ability to synthesize information from the research base of the field and document in writing how this is applied in professional practices.
The Plan B Portfolio, a Pragmatic Capstone for Working Professionals
- The portfolio requires time, planning, effort, and working with an advisor and second reader.
- The portfolio process is scaffolded with many scheduled opportunities for dialogue, support, and collaboration with cohort colleagues and faculty. Monthly seminars focus on disseminating information about the portfolio and working on pieces. In addition, this is an opportunity to also engage in professional activities that may result in exemplars for your portfolio (e.g. advocating, preparing to host or lead professional development).
- The portfolio probably will likely require less time commitment than original data collection.
- It is less likely that you would need to budget for and complete extra electives or may need to extend your timeline to complete the program.
- The portfolio allows for more of your elective coursework to be devoted to the areas of interest you are passionate about.
- People who are not passionate about devoting a great amount of energy to developing expertise in conducting research and publishing will probably be happier doing a portfolio.