Date of Award

Winter 1998

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study considered the utility of the teaching portfolio as a structure which might enhance the professional growth of public school teachers. The study was guided by the question: Does the development of individual teaching portfolios support reflection, self-assessment, and professional development on the part of teachers who develop portfolios? Other issues considered were reasons for developing portfolios, the nature of artifacts included in portfolios, structures which support teachers in the development of their portfolios, changes in classroom practice which may result from portfolio development, plans for future portfolio use, and suggestions which portfolio developers might have for others considering doing so.

Three case studies were conducted with the participation of three public elementary school teachers who participated in a year-long teaching portfolio development seminar conducted as a graduate course. A cross-case analysis was utilized to compare cases. Data was collected through an examination of artifacts---journals and the portfolios themselves---as well as through a series of structured interviews with the participants.

Findings included the following: (1) participants reported increased reflection, self-assessment, and changes in classroom practice as a result of their development of teaching portfolios; (2) participants reported an interest in reflection and self-assessment as reasons for initiating the portfolio development process, in addition to other reasons; (3) the participants agreed on a menu of twelve common items for inclusion in their portfolios; these artifacts also included personal reflections; (4) the participants reported that meeting regularly with a facilitator and within a support group contributed to their work in developing teaching portfolios; (5) the participants individually identified other factors which also supported their work in developing teaching portfolios; (6) the participants reported a number of changes in classroom practice as a result of their participation, including a deeper understanding in student portfolios, a greater engagement of students in self-assessment, and others; (7) the participants reported that they expected to continue to develop their teaching portfolios in the future.