By the end of the graduate program in Early Childhood, students should be able to provide evidence of their professional development in a variety of ways. Regardless of whether students elect the research thesis option or the written comprehensive examination, additional means for demonstrating professional knowledge and competencies will be provided through the presentation of a graduate portfolio.
The purpose of the graduate portfolio is to provide a flexible and highly individualized opportunity for each student to demonstrate her/his evolving understanding and mastery of the discipline of early childhood education as well as the ability to carry out multiple roles as teacher, leader, and advocate.
All students will develop, maintain, and submit a graduate portfolio reflecting their professional growth and development during their participation in the graduate program in Early Childhood. Early in a student's program, preferably in EDUC 941 (Diversity in Child Development), students will begin to collect portfolio entries that are both illustrative of and essential to their understanding of their own development. The portfolio will be shared periodically throughout the graduate program. Formal and informal feedback from faculty and fellow students will contribute to the emerging portfolio.
Categories for portfolio entries include examples of theoretical as well as practical knowledge demonstrating your growth and development. Each entry will be accompanied by a brief written caption explaining its purpose and meaning. These reflective commentaries will be more than descriptive, and should reflect thoughtful analysis and interpretation.
While some take the view that portfolios only represent one's best work, our view is that a collection of evidence documenting change, sources for change, and other indications of professional growth and development is equally valuable. Thus samples might include exemplary as well as unsuccessful attempts at tasks of personal significance, evidence of critical and constructive feedback, and evidence of other professionally meaningful experiences.
Additional types of entries include samples of children's work, teacher developed plans and materials, videotaped teaching episodes, and reflections on your own teaching. One required entry will be a 3-5 page (typed, double-spaced) professional statement that combines personal and formal knowledge about development and the field of early childhood.