Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of portfolio use in Tennessee?

Portfolios have been implemented in Tennessee since the 2011-12 school year when the fine arts portfolio was first piloted. In the past three years, the use of student growth portfolios has notably increased (see the chart below). In the 2017-18 school year, the following portfolio options will be available: fine arts, physical education, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade.

What does the research around portfolios say?

Research conducted on the Tennessee portfolio model found that portfolio scores are well aligned to observation scores. In fact, teachers implementing portfolios had slightly higher observation scores than similar teachers not implementing portfolios, particularly in the areas of Activities and Materials, Thinking, and Problem Solving. Roughly 50 percent of teachers who implemented portfolios received higher growth scores than they would have without the portfolio and about 20 percent received the same score. Additionally, teachers on the whole reported that portfolios were more appropriate and understandable as part of the evaluation process than any other measure, aside from classroom observations. For more details, read the department’s report, The Rise of Student Growth Portfolio Models in Tennessee. Additionally, based on the 2016 Tennessee Educator Survey, 83 percent of educators who expected the portfolio to be a part of their evaluation understood what they were being evaluated on. Of that same group of teachers, 75 percent agreed that the portfolio model is appropriate for use in their overall evaluation, and 71 percent reported taking at least some professional development action as a result of the feedback from their portfolio.

What is an approved voluntary pre-K program (VPK)?

Approved voluntary pre-K programs (VPKs) have been awarded funds for the 2017-18 school year because the district has met quality benchmark standards in its VPK application. For more information regarding the application process or high-quality programs, reach out to Candace.Cook@tn.gov.

What is a student growth portfolio, and how will it impact teachers?

The growth portfolio model allows teachers to demonstrate students’ progress towards mastery of student learning standards based on four domains of learning. Teachers collect student work artifacts at two points in time (Point A and Point B) and select artifacts from differentiated groups of students to submit for review via the Educopia system by April 15, 2018. Then, certified peer reviewers score student work based on a comprehensive scoring guide. Implementation of a student growth portfolio model produces an individual growth score, which is used for the 35 percent student growth component of the teacher’s level of overall effectiveness (LOE); as a result, teachers implementing student growth portfolio models have an evaluation composite similar to that of “tested” teachers.

What are the types of evidence that can be collected?

Various types of evidence can be collected to indicate student performance on a standard(s). This evidence, also referred to as “student work artifacts,” can include but is not limited to video segments that demonstrate student action or talk, audio recordings of student conversation or think aloud, photographs of student work, recorded think alouds, videos of students performing a task, conceptual maps, writing samples, and art projects.

What is the time requirement for teachers implementing a portfolio?

The time necessary for portfolio implementation outside of the normal expectations for classroom instruction is minimal. Teachers should gather student work artifacts for the portfolio during the course of regularly planned classroom instruction and assignments—this should not be an extra or different assignment. Teachers submit four portfolio collections (with the exception of CTE - Work Based Learning, which only has one). Each collection includes a Point A (or Early Assessment) and Point B (or Late Assessment) student work artifact from each of the three differentiated groups of student performance: emerging, proficient, and advanced. The additional time required for portfolio implementation is primarily related to the purposeful sampling process. Purposeful sampling refers to the time when teachers select student artifacts that illustrate growth over time for each differentiated group of student performance (emerging, proficient, advanced) for each portfolio collection. For content-specific requirements, please download the relevant Portfolio Resource Guide in the Resources section of this web site.

What steps can districts take to prepare for portfolio implementation?

Strong, standards-aligned planning and instruction are the best preparation for portfolio implementation. Additionally, there are suggested ways that administrators can prepare teachers in the District Support section of this web site. Other suggested ideas include:

  • Engage teachers in meaningful professional learning communities on topics that will prepare them for the portfolio process. Topics could include building depth of knowledge of the revised standards, scoring guides, and task-based expectations, creating performance tasks, analyzing student work, differentiating instruction, creating high-quality learning environments, identifying developmentally appropriate instructional activities, etc.
  • Review the Portfolio Resource Guides for the subjects and grade levels that are opting into the Student Growth Portfolio process. These guides are available in the Resources section of this web site.
  • Reach out to the TEAM coach, ELA consultant, math consultant, and/or Read to be Ready coach in your area for on-site assistance.
  • Support teachers with existing resources around key instructional practices including learnings from the Early Learning Model (ELM) training. In particular, ELM Chapter 2 built knowledge of strong instructional practices around learning environment, differentiation, and developmentally appropriate practices. You can find more information about the ELM model here.

How will the process for completing the portfolio be different in 2017-18 than in previous years?

In previous years, teachers were asked to upload samples of student work for a Point A and Point B assessment for each of the evidence collections. This part is still the same. Teachers and Peer Reviewers used to download and score student work on paper and then use those scores to calculate the growth for each student to determine the level of growth for each evidence collection and ultimately for the Teacher Effectiveness rating. To simplify this process and reduce teacher burden on this work, teachers and Peer Reviewers will only score the student work for each assessment using the standards-based learning rubrics in the guidebook. Once teachers have entered their scores for each student and assessment, the Educopia system will automatically calculate the growth between the Point A and Point B assessments per student and then average the growth scores to determine the level of growth as defined by the Student Growth cut point ranges.

Do teachers implementing portfolios still have to be observed?

Yes. Classroom observations constitute the 50 percent qualitative component for a portfolio teacher’s LOE, while the portfolio serves as the 35 percent student growth component. The portfolio process is strongly aligned with the instruction, planning, and environment domains of the TEAM rubric that can lead to rich conversations in pre- and post-conferences.

Can teachers select student growth portfolio model for the achievement measure?

Student achievement measures are the basis for setting achievement targets that all students are expected to meet on summative assessments of grade-level or content standards. Because portfolio models provide a growth measure based on a subset of students for a subset of standards, they cannot be used as an achievement measure. However, it should be noted that the 3/4/5 override, outlined in state board policy 5.201, allows student growth data to be used in place of a teacher’s achievement measure if it is a level 3, 4, or 5 and is greater than the achievement score.

Does the 4/5 Trump Rule apply to portfolios?

The portfolio score can be used to activate the 4/5 Trump Rule in districts that have opted into that flexibility. The 4/5 Trump Rule allows teachers who score a level 4 or 5 on individual growth to use their individual growth score for the entirety of their overall LOE.

How does the department ensure validity and reliability of the portfolio scores?

Portfolios are carefully scored based on the scoring guide by certified peer reviewers using a consensus protocol. In the event that a peer reviewer does not have consensus with a teacher’s self-score within one performance level for a given evidence collection, an expert reviewer will be utilized. The expert reviewer's scores will be final for determining the growth score for the discrepant collection.

What is the process for teachers self-scoring their portfolios?

Teacher self-scoring is one of many reflective components of the portfolio. Teachers score Point A and Point B student work artifacts using the scoring guide and task-based expectations. It is this scoring process which will inform the purposeful sampling, which is the selection of students from each of the three differentiated groupings (emerging, proficient, and advanced). Other reflective components of the portfolio include evidence tagging, completion of the context form, and completion of the narrative.

Will portfolio scores be included in school and district accountability?

No. Portfolios are specifically intended to be a teacher-level measure of student growth rather than a school or district-level measure. TVAAS, in contrast, can be calculated separately at the teacher, school, and district levels and thus provides measures that are incorporated in school and district accountability that go beyond a roll-up of teacher-level data.

When should teachers collect Point A and B artifacts to ensure that they are authentic?

As part of regular instructional planning, a teacher should select two points during the school year (Point A and Point B) that would best reflect student growth according to the state standards for the grade level and subjects being assessed. Teachers should then collect the student work artifacts from these two points in time that are the most appropriate for documenting learning. We encourage teachers to be thoughtful in determining what evidence provides the clearest picture of their impact on student learning for differentiated groups of student performance (emerging, proficient, and advanced).

How do teachers decide which students’ artifacts to include in the portfolio collections?

From each differentiated group of student work artifacts, teachers choose the student work artifacts to include in their portfolio collections through a process called purposeful sampling. Teachers examine the growth of each sample in the differentiated group using the Point A and Point B student work artifacts and select the student whose work most accurately represents the growth of students in that differentiated group. This process is repeated for each differentiated group to complete the four required portfolio collections, which are then submitted into the Educopia system.

Can team teachers submit the same collections?

Teachers who team teach or co-teach cannot submit the same student work artifacts for their portfolio collections. Student work artifacts that most closely represent the individual teacher’s impact should be chosen for each collection and can contain similar evidence in terms of formatting and types of student work artifacts.

Where can I find examples of collections?

Examples of task-specific expectations for PreK/Kinder will be released in the Portfolio Resource Guide for ELA. When available,  portfolio resources for all subjects and grade levels will be posted on the Team TN web site.

What technology is required to implement portfolios? Is the district required to provide this technology?

Portfolios were designed to be implemented without an additional investment in technology. For portfolios that include video collections to demonstrate student growth, teachers have used a variety of district-owned devices (e.g., tablets or video cameras) and low- or no-cost downloadable software. Some districts have found tripods to be helpful. Teachers and Peer Reviewers may use their laptops with a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari) to access the Educopia system to upload student work products and score the assessments. The department will provide the Educopia system for portfolio submissions at no cost to districts. A document on the Technical Requirements is in the Resources section of this web site.

When should teachers submit their portfolio collections into the online platform?

Teachers should complete all four evidence collections via the Educopia system by April 15, 2018.

Where should teachers keep student work artifacts as they are being collected?

Teachers will be able to securely utilize the Educopia system beginning in October to upload student work artifacts for the differentiated sample collected throughout the year for each assessment and evidence collection. Then, when teachers have finished uploading work for a given student and assessment, the Educopia system will allow teachers to self-score the work and submit each assessment as they go. Peer Reviewers will not be able to access any evidence collections until after the April 15 deadline. From the beginning of the school year until the Educopia launch date in October 2017, teachers can also store student work artifacts using any district-approved storage resource (e.g., free, cloud-based storage service, external hard drive, classroom files or folders, etc.). Teachers who are using Google Drive may also access and upload their samples directly from Google Drive into Educopia.

What are the expectations for special educators?

There are no plans to develop and implement a student growth portfolio model for special educators for the 2017-18 school year. The department will facilitate the development of a special education student growth portfolio model for inclusive special educators during the 2017-18 school year.

How do we manage transitional classes that include pre-K and kindergarten?

All student work submitted within a collection must represent one grade level (either pre-K or kindergarten). However, a teacher may submit all pre-K collections, all kindergarten collections, or a combination of pre-K/K collections. A minimum of three students must be rostered within a grade level in order to submit a complete collection. When registering and enrolling for the Educopia system, transitional teachers will be asked to select which grade level (pre-K or Kinder) they will focus on for each evidence collection.

What happens if a teacher does not submit a portfolio?

Per the Pre-K Quality Act, districts that receive VPK program approval must utilize the pre-K and kindergarten student growth portfolio models approved by the State Board of Education in the evaluation of pre-K and kindergarten teachers. Teachers who do not submit portfolios put districts out of compliance with state law, and districts may dismiss or suspend the teacher for neglect of duty as per T.C.A. § 49-5-511. When available, more information regarding the process for exemptions will be included in the Administrative Guidelines for Portfolios in the Resource section of this web site.

Will district leads receive reports that provide details on the where teachers are in the process?

There will be monitoring reports that identify the status of each teacher’s platform activity throughout the year.

Can Windows Movie Maker files be used?

You may use Windows Movie Maker or iMovie to create your video, but you must export the video from Windows Movie Maker in one of the supported formats to upload the exported file.

Is there a limit to the size of an audio or video upload? What are the size limits on documents and images?

There is a 5 GB limit per video or audio. There is a 200 MB limit for documents and presentations. There is a 5 MB limit on images.

Will GLE/CLEs be listed in Educopia, perhaps as a drop down box, or do teachers define/state them?

While tagging evidence, the GLE/CLEs will be provided in a tag panel that will enable you to select the appropriate GLE/CLE. In the Context Form, teachers are given a box for them to write in the domain and GLE/CLE that is being assessed in that sample. For the ELA collections in the early grades, the Literature or Informational integrated option standards will be listed. For the Math collections in the early grades, the standards will be listed within a certain domain.

How do you tag evidence within a PowerPoint? Will the PowerPoint not have to be open in a new window by the reviewer?

Videos, audios, documents, presentations, and images can all be tagged.  PowerPoint presentations can be tagged in similar ways as documents and images. All uploaded files are transformed for the web, so that you do not need to open the presentation in a new window.

If our district only allows people within our district to access Google Drive, will we be blocked in the Educopia system?

You will be asked to log into Google Drive and give permission to have your selected file uploaded when you click on the Google Drive icon. So it is secured to your account. The district’s domain should not limit access.

Is there a limit for how many documents can be uploaded for each student at each point?

No there is no limit on how many work samples you upload for a given student. You may add work products beyond the required Context Form and one Student Work Sample.

How can teachers reset passwords if they can't remember?

Users can select the Forgot Password link on the Sign In page, which will send them a Reset Password email for them to create a new password that they can remember

If there is an issue with uploading work to Educopia, whom do we contact?

All technical questions can be sent to tnsupport@educopia.com

Do I have to have Google Drive downloaded on my computer?

No. You can always upload directly from your laptop.  Google Drive is web-based storage that allows you to store your files in the cloud without having to have a local version of Google Drive on your machine.  However, if you do download Google Drive to your machine, the advantage is that you can start uploading large files and continue work on other things while it continues to upload.  This is entirely your choice as to whether you wish to download Google Drive.

After receiving activation email, can I save it and do it much later or will it expire after a set amount of time?

Emails will be sent to teachers on October 9. We recommend that teachers at least register (i.e. set their password) upon receiving their activation email. They may wait until later to log into the system to complete their profile and select which portfolio they would like to submit for the 2017-18 school year.

What role should the Tech Lead choose when completing the profile?

When completing the profile for the teacher account, tech leads should select Teacher and Other as their roles.

Is each district required to have peer reviewers this year and where do they go to apply?

Each district will provide one peer reviewer per ten portfolio users, per content area. In previous years it has taken approximately 1.5 hours to score an entire portfolio (four evidence collections) and slightly longer than that for the review of PE portfolios. We expect the time to shorten since peer reviewers are just scoring student work this year. If each peer reviewer scores a minimum of 10 portfolios, then it can be expected that each peer reviewer will spend approximately 18 hours in peer review.   Portfolio users have the opportunity to show interest in being a peer reviewer by clicking the “Apply to Be a Peer Reviewer” button on the TN Student Growth website, however, this is only showing interest. A formal application process will be shared by the state through the TEAM website and through communication with district portfolio leads.

Can we upload an entire ppt (PDF) file with all evidence included, instead of doing each independently?

Each student must be uploaded independently so that the growth can be calculated from Point A to Point B. However, all work for an individual student for each assessment (i.e. Point A or Point B) can be submitted as a single PDF.

Can the Point A and Point B be uploaded within the same PowerPoint? Will Point A and Point B not have to be uploaded in separate sections of the platform?

Point A and Point B will continue to be uploaded separately for each student sample. Point A and Point B should not be uploaded as a single file.

What is the deadline for submitting the TN Student Growth Portfolio?

The deadline for all evidence collections is April 15, 2018.

What happens if a teacher selects the wrong grade level or course for their portfolio?

Contact tnsupport@educopia.com for assistance in making the change.

What happens if a teacher writes down the wrong domain or GLE/CLE on the context form?

Teachers should change the context form and reupload it.  Teachers have until the April 15th deadline to recall and resubmit any work that is incorrect.  We highly recommend that you preview your work after uploading it to ensure the proper information is provided.

What happens if a teacher changes their mind about the domain or GLE/CLE they want to score?

Teachers can recall and start over with any evidence collection as long as it is before the 4/15/2018 deadline.

Is there a more permanent/final ""submit"" once all is complete? Or do you just view what is there by deadline in April?

Yes, there is a big blue Submit button that is only selectable once all three samples are done.  So, you cannot click on it until you are ready to submit the entire assessment.  You may recall the samples up until the April 15th deadline if you need to make a change.

Do you have an approximate time that it takes to complete a portfolio? Also, has anyone calculated the time it takes to review with this new process?

Most of the work for a portfolio is actually done offline as part of discussions in grade level or subject matter teams or PLCs and in collecting and scoring the work for your students to determine your purposeful sample.  The time to actually complete the upload and scoring of all samples in Educopia takes on average, 6 minutes per Point A or Point B assessment depending on the number and length of work products submitted by the teacher.

When a context form is created for a differentiated collection, can the same form be used for all emerging, proficient, and advanced student samples or is it necessary to complete a different form for each student?

You may upload the same Context Form for all of your samples if in fact there is no specific information you wish to share about the sample itself.  However, the Narrative portion of the context form provides an opportunity for teachers to share specific information about the student and therefore, may be individualized for each student sample.  The approach to how to use the context/narrative form is a district or school based decision.

Does the scoring discrepancy mean off by more than 1 on the scoring guide?

Discrepancy between a teacher’s self score and the peer reviewer score is defined as more than one level on the scoring guide.

What is the review process if there is a discrepancy between the self score and the reviewer score?

Teachers will continue to self-score as they have always done. Once peer review begins, Peer Reviewers will also score the student work as in the past.  If there is a discrepancy between the teacher's self-score and Peer Reviewer, then the evidence collection is sent to an Expert Reviewer for a third scoring.  Discrepancy is defined as more than one level difference between the teacher’s self score and the peer reviewer’s score.

Will scores be an average of the student growth?

As in previous years, the student growth scores are based on the average growth of the differentiated samples.

Do you score one work sample using all three standards?

For the early grades (Pre-K, Kinder, and Grade 1), teachers do score all three standards in the Option selected per sample.

Do I have to tag? Do Peer Reviewers have to tag?

The webinar demonstration of the Educopia shared that tagging was optional, because the demonstration was about the system, not the process of best practices of the portfolio.  The online platform will allow teachers to submit without tagging, but the expectation is to tag because it annotates the portion of the student work that is most effective in demonstrating a performance level.  Tagging is a mandatory part of peer review and will inform the feedback that teachers receive. In addition, teachers can reflect upon their own tags and the tags of the peer reviewers after the process is complete.

Will reviewers see the tags that are linked to the scoring guide levels? Will teachers see the reviewer tags?

Reviewers will not see teacher tags while scoring to reduce bias and have them focus on their assessment of the student samples; however, when teachers receive the scores back, they will see the peer reviewer tags to facilitate their own reflection and analysis

Any thoughts on what to do when your evidence collection (point A) are similar, for example they are mainly emerging?

Often, Point A student work artifacts demonstrate limited variance in performance levels across the cohort of students. For example, all student work artifacts might score at performance level 2 (emerging) for the writing standard. In these instances, the task-specific expectations should be utilized for categorizing student work artifacts as emerging, proficient, and advanced within a performance level. More information about task specific expectations can be found in the Pre-K, K, and First Grade Scoring Resource Guides.

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