NPS Digital Portfolio

Vision / Assessment / Technology / Logistics / Culture / Samples / Extra



The Mission of the Narragansett Pier School is to guide our fifth-eighth grade middle level students through a period of growth and change intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially.  Our vision is to see that all students become lifelong readers and learners who appreciate diversity, who are responsible, respectful citizens, who think creatively, solve problems effectively and communicate ideas clearly.


·        What should a student know and be able to do?

The Digital Portfolio will allow the school to look at a set of skills that students should be able to demonstrate before leaving 8th grade as well as the content common to many disciplines.


The skills that every student should possess include:

§         Problem Solving is the ability to define a problem, determine what techniques can be used to solve the problem, finding a solution to the problem, and justifying that solution.

§         Written Expression involves many different kinds of writing, including descriptive writing, expository writing, and technical writing.

§         Take and Support a Position is to develop a position on issues where multiple positions are possible, provide a justification for that position, and show supporting evidence for that position.

§         Research a Topic includes the ability to note what is different and what is important about the thing that is being observed, and to use appropriate tools to observe different aspects.

§         Response to a Printed Text may be in discussion, in presentation, or in writing.  The response should refer to the original text, either to support or refute the claims made in the text, or to provide evidence for what the writer wants to say.

§         Artistic / Kinesthetic Performance means using any artistic medium or physical movement to express an idea or accomplish a goal.  This may occur in art, music, dance, or physical education classes; an artistic or kinesthetic performance can also be a part of a performance in another area.


Commonalities in the content across the curriculum areas include:

§         The life Cycle – Student  work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        The universal human experience of birth, growth and death

·        Characteristics of the human body

·        Nutrition, health and wellness

·        Caring for and/or observing other forms of life


§         Symbols – Student work will demonstrate a learning in these areas:

·        History of language

·        Mathematics as a symbol system

·        Symbols as a way of expressing feelings and ideas

·        Speaking, listening, reading and writing across the curriculum

·        Ethics of communication


§         Aesthetics – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        An appreciation of music, dance, drama, and/or the visual arts

·        Performance and/or exhibit experience in the arts


§         Time and Space (Perspective) – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        An understanding of one’s place in time and space

·        Geography and astronomy

·        Influences of other cultures on our own

·        Personal roots

·        Intergenerational connections


§         The Social Web – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        Governmental functions

·        Informal social structures

·        Varieties of groups / families

·        Webs of institutions

·        Cross cultural studies


§         Producing, Consuming and Conserving – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        Simple economics and different money systems

·        How work varies from one culture to another

·        Respect for craftsmanship

·        Producing and consuming products which support and enhance life

·        Conserving natural resources


§         Nature – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        Ecology

·        Human connectedness to nature

·        Principles of science

·        The impact of technology on life


§         A Larger Purpose – Convictions and Commitments – Student work will demonstrate learning in these areas:

·        Special meaning of their life

·        Their own values and beliefs

·        Ethics

·        Respect and responsibility


Source: Niguidula, David, The Digital Portfolio: A Richer Picture of Student Performance,, 1997


Vision / Assessment / Technology / Logistics / Culture / Samples / Extra



·        How can students demonstrate the vision?

The middle school philosophy adopted by the Narragansett Pier Middle school has contributed to its organization and curriculum development.  The school is organized into grade level teams which have in accordance with school improvement planning mapped a curriculum aligned to the New Performance Standards.  Students are regularly asked to complete performance assessments throughout their years at the middle school.  Some projects are done by students working on their own, some in groups.  In all cases, however, the assumption is that students will demonstrate the skills and knowledge that the school thinks is important.


·        Why do we collect student work?

Many faculty members have participated in the New Standards I Professional Development Course in which participants are taught how to incorporate standards into their lessons and to look closely at student work.  Many of the teams are using different protocols to look at student work during team meetings.  All of these efforts are being implemented in an effort to improve teaching and to close the gaps in student learning at the Narragansett Pier Middle School.

The 8th grade Digital Portfolio is designed to show growth over time.  The idea is that students will put work into that portfolio during each of the four years that they attend the Pier School and the culminating portfolio would show a different, more individually tailored view of student work.


·        What audiences are most important to us?

The digital portfolios will be put together as an individually tailored view of student work for the students and as a public document to share with friends, family, and future schools that the students may attend.  The portfolios can be shared by the students annually at the school’s Open House.  College and employers are a long way off, but students will be made aware that the skills that they develop in creating Digital Portfolios will be beneficial in High School and beyond.


·        How do we know what’s good?

Students are given guidelines while developing their Digital Portfolios which remind them that “glitzy technology” can sometimes become the focus of the digital portfolio and take attention away from the student’s work.  The guidelines state that the digital portfolio is a container that stores and presents their work.  The focus of the portfolio should be their work.  A weak piece that is presented beautifully is still a weak piece of work.  Students are reminded to be sure that the portfolio shows their best work.

Student will have to present entry slips which describe why a piece was selected for the portfolio.  The entries in the portfolio are assessed and approved for inclusion by one of the members of the faculty.  Students work with faculty members to determine which pieces should be included in the portfolio.  The regular communication among team members allows for greater awareness and understanding of what is going on in the other classes.  This will allow faculty members on any given team to provide guidance and advice to any of the students in a grade level.  


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·        What hardware, software, and networking do we have?  What will we need?

The school is well equipped with 2 computer labs, an 18 laptop mobile classroom, and at least one state of the art PC computers in each classroom.  Over 75% of the faculty and staff have participated in professional development including Lap Gap and RITTI trainings.  The Local Area Network is used on a daily basis by students, faculty and administration.  The system will soon be expanded to a wide area network allowing for further sharing of information among the three schools in the system.  The software currently available will allow us to pilot the Digital Portfolios immediately.  We will need to assign student Novell login user IDs to facilitate students organizing and saving work over the four years.


·        Who are the primary users of the equipment?

Students, faculty, staff, and administration use the equipment on a daily basis.


·        Who will support the system?

The Digital Portfolio system will be supported by:

o       District Technology Coordinator - Roland Lambert

o       NPS Technology Coordinator - Giulio Lugini

o       NPS Technology Program Leader / Enrichment Teacher - Holly Walsh

o       NPS Technology Curriculum Committee – Ray Birch, Kathy Couchon, Lauren Gabrilowitz, Barbara Hodge, Ryan Kanaczet, Betsy Lee, Barbara Quinn, Denise Rubin, Lennon Schroeder, Cathy Taylor

o       Technology Teachers – Barbara Hodge and Lauren Gabrilowitz

o       Faculty on each of the Grade Level Teams


The students will organize and save their work on the LAN.  The Pilot group will help to establish the particular logistics of saving and organizing work over the four years.  A critical part of the creation of the Digital Portfolio is the selection and approval of pieces to be included.  If the work is not selected before the student sits down at the computer, the focus will be on the technology and not the content.  The support structure requires the individual teams to work closely together so that the students see the Digital Portfolio not as an isolated technology project, but a culminating experience to their work at Narragansett Pier School.



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·        When will information be digitized?  Who will do it?

During the Pilot Project, a group of 8th grade enrichment students will volunteer to put together Digital Portfolios.  Each spring following, every member of the 8th grade class will put an electronic Portfolio together as a PowerPoint Presentation or as a Web Page.  Students will be able to work on their Portfolios during computer class time, “team time”, and any other time deemed reasonable by the team members.


·        Who will select the work?  By what criteria?

Students are responsible for selecting their own work but will given guidance on how to make the best selections.  Portfolio creation will become a matter of reviewing what the students have done, and insuring that the work covers all of the designated areas of the portfolio as students become more accustom to saving work over the years to the LAN. 


Students will receive a set of written guidelines for selecting pieces.  The completed portfolio will look well organized but it takes a concerted effort on the part of the student to make sure all pieces are in place.


The teachers will guide the students in three ways:

1.      Teachers will continually reinforce the idea that the Digital Portfolio needs to be, according to the guidelines, a good presentation of quality work and not just a flashy show of technology.

2.      Teachers will help students understand the medium of multimedia.  (I.E. - an audio recording of a speech is not the same as a live presentation; what would help the reader of the portfolio better understand the gist of the speech?  There are technical limitations; the space on the server is finite and multimedia files can quickly fill up all of the available space; select the excerpts that will best convey the appropriate idea to the reader)

3.      Teachers help the students organize the work.  Students need to complete a Worksheet asking for all information that they are going to need, including file names and titles, before they place an entry into the portfolio. 


·        Who will reflect on the work?  When?

The Digital Portfolio will be a culminating experience for students at the end of eighth grade.  The students will have the opportunity to reflect on their work over their four years at the Pier School.  Their selections will demonstrate a range of skills, as well as the work of which they are proudest.  The teachers, through their assistance and guidance in the creation of the portfolios, will be able to reflect on current practices and will be able to modify and individualize instruction.  The WAN will allow ninth grade teachers at the High School to review student portfolios from the Pier School which will increase vertical articulation among the schools.  Parents will have the opportunity to reflect on student work during the annual Open House.



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·        Is the school used to discussing student work?

The School Improvement Team’s goals of developing comprehensive curriculums across all of the content areas along with the participation in professional development to incorporate the New Standards into classroom units and lessons has provided the opportunity to discuss student work in great detail.  Several teams are using different protocols to look at student work during “student work” team meetings.  Many of the curriculum committees have included rubrics and portfolio assessment in their assessment of student work.



Vision / Assessment / Technology / Logistics / Culture / Samples / Extra



Sample Digital Portfolios

·        Title Screen

·        Main Menu

·        Sample Entry


Supplementary Information

·        Digital Portfolio Guidelines

·        Summary of Process

·        Calendar of Due Dates

·        Planning Sheet

·        Digital Portfolio Entry Worksheet

·        Digital Portfolio Evaluation and Presentation