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Implementation Overview

Many teachers are using portfolios in their classrooms. (The GSE Portfolio is not meant to be an addition to the existing classroom portfolio, but drawn from it). The classroom portfolio may include as many or as few items as the individual teacher deems necessary. However, the GSE Portfolio requires standardized types of entries for all participants.

Teacher Training and Participation

Early each fall, a letter of invitation will be circulated to all science teachers in California middle and high school districts. After receiving district release and funding approval, participating teachers gather in late September or early October for two days of portfolio training. At this meeting, regional implementation teams are established, and two one-day local winter networking meeting dates are determined. Following the one-day winter regional meetings, all participating teachers are brought together in the spring for two days to learn how to score student portfolios. Participation also includes attending a one-day local regional scoring session in late spring to calibrate portfolio scores to state standards through group evaluation.

It is important to note that teachers who have attended all training sessions during the previous year are considered certified and are only required to attend one winter regional meeting, the spring scoring training, and regional scoring session to submit student portfolios.


The portfolio must remain accessible to the student to ensure that he or she has opportunities to evaluate, exchange, update, and revise the work selected for the portfolio. Additionally, to submit a portfolio, the student must be enrolled in either a biology, chemistry or a second-year coordinated science class and complete the multiple-choice, short-answer, open-ended, and laboratory performance task portions of the GSE in the corresponding subject.


All portfolios are scored by California teachers using a holistic scoring procedure. In holistic scoring, judgement is based on the portfolio as a whole. Holistic scoring guides encourage the evaluator to consider the student's entire thinking process rather than concentrating on the number of points to be marked off according to a predetermined analytic scheme. Each entry is scored by two independent evaluators and where scores disagree, resolution is moderated by highly trained scoring leaders. The guides used for scoring are provided on pages 21 through 25. These guides should be shared with students as part of instruction to encourage students to strive for the clearly specified performance goals of the portfolio.

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