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New Jersey Department of Education
Division of Academic Standards, Curriculum and Assessment
Office of Language Arts Literacy Education

January 18, 2011

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has implemented a NJ literacy portfolio (BEST WORKS Portfolio) that will follow students from preschool through third grade.  At the end of third grade, students will share their growth and accomplishments as readers and writers at a “graduation” ceremony or other school-level celebration.

The portfolio would include (all or several of) the following:

  • Student work samples chosen by students to demonstrate their writing at various stages and times throughout the year (minimum of one per year)
  • Student work samples chosen by teacher (to represent student work that demonstrates growth along a developmental continuum- minimum of 2 per year)
  • Observations by teacher (anecdotal notes, reviews of work)
  • Transcripts of conversations (related to reading, writing)
  • Recordings of student’s oral reading at each grade level (suggested)

The samples will be collected over time and will be the products of typical daily classroom activities.  Samples will not be the product of whole class assignments, but rather collections of student work that demonstrate both student strengths and interests over time.

The student portfolio was made available to districts on a pilot basis for first grade classrooms during the 2010-2011 school year.  Feedback will be solicited in the spring from users of the portfolio. 

It is the intent of this portfolio initiative that teachers, students, families and administrators share in the growth of students in a way that is developmentally appropriate and in ways that demonstrate the process each child takes to become a reader and a writer.  By empowering students through the selection of their work for inclusion in the portfolios, both students and teachers will become more reflective and will engage in meaningful conversations that take each child from where he/she is to reading and writing at grade level by the end of third grade.