The Rationale and the Reflection

The rationale is a justification for using a particular piece of evidence to illustrate achievement of a specific Standard. The reflection is a personal consideration of questions such as "What I did, "What I learned," and "What I would do differently next time." The rationale should be placed before the pieces of evidence to introduce and justify them. The reflection should be placed after each piece of evidence to contemplate and consider the significance and purpose of each artifact. The reflection refers to the philosophy and self-evaluation of progress toward the Standards.

1. Fundamental reasons; the basis

2. An explanation of controlling principles of opinion, belief, practice, or phenomena. ( Merriam-Webster Online)

The rationale statement is a very important part of the portfolio. For each artifact/illustration you include in your portfolio, you must write a brief rationale statement about why you chose it. A rationale begins with a description or summary of the artifact, provides an analysis of the essential elements of the artifact, and then provides an adequate justification as to how the artifact demonstrates proficiency in the corresponding Standard.

The purpose of the rationale statement is to inform the reader why the illustration was selected, and how it relates to a given practice. The rationale statement should be a brief justification about why the selected illustration or evidence demonstrates proficiency in a given practice. This is a personal statement giving insight about a specific student and his/her work. Students may find it helpful to discuss their rationale with peers and/or professors before writing them.

When you write your rationale statement, answer the following questions:

*What is the artifact? (Describe or summarize the artifact)

*What are the key elements that made you select this artifact? (Provide an analysis of the essential elements of the artifact)

 *What is your argument for the artifact based on professional knowledge? (Draw on professional literature and personal practical knowledge)

*What is (or are) the connection(s) to the Standard?

An online tutorial with an example of a rationale statement is located at the University of Florida.

The Reflection

1. Mental concentration; careful consideration.

2. A thought or an opinion resulting from such consideration. (Merriam-Webster Online)

For each artifact/illustration you include in your portfolio, you must write a brief reflection (Guidelines) about how the artifact demonstrates your growth toward the Standard. The reflection is an argument that you are building based on professional knowledge and personal practical knowledge. A reflection is not a description nor is it a summary of the document. Instead, it addresses how and why your illustration exemplifies your best work. The reflection should show your reader that you understand the Standard, how you have chosen to illustrate that understanding, what you are capable of doing in regard to the Standard.

When you write your reflection, answer the following questions:

Why did you choose to use this artifact?

What is (or are) the connection(s) to the Standards?

What does the illustration say about your understanding and demonstration of the Standards?

What does the illustration say about your understanding and demonstration of the Standards?

Rubric for scoring a reflection

Reflection is another key ingredient in a professional portfolio. For Winsor(1995) the use of portfolios “involves inseparable processes and products” and portfolio means “fusion of process and product”. Teaching, learning, reflection, and assessment are intimately related in the portfolio model. The portfolio allows teachers to display their growing strengths rather than expose their weaknesses. Reconceptualizing what professional development is and learning is the metacognitive part of teacher education. The portfolio provides an alternative mode for reflection; for contemplating what is good teaching and what represents my best work and what is truly important for learning. Reflection on concrete examples documented in the portfolio provides a secure base for experimentation and innovation.

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