Every state does their version of Alternative Assessment and in our state we do portfolios. Each student grade 3-8 and grade 10 must submit a portfolio. In general students submit portfolios in English, Math and Science and Technology. (Massachusetts is re-writing the history test so we don't have to submit that right now.) Each portfolio must contain at least (and if you stick to the minimums your score will be lower) two work samples and a data sheet or graph with 8 different dates that data was collected presented on it in three different "strands" within each subject area. So bare minimum that is 27 work samples and 72 data points. (I submit three or four work samples and a data sheet or graph with 10 different data points on it. Thus 36-48 work samples and 90 data points.) All of this evidence, as they call it, must show that the student is addressing grade level appropriate skills, progressing in his or her learning, participates in making decisions and/or evaluating his or her learning and attempts the skill being learned in multiple environments.
I could digress right here about what it is we end up doing to align work that is appropriate and meaningful to our students to what the Alternative Assessment scorers want, but I will refrain. Instead I will tell you that this year I took the only one of four portfolios my students submitted last year to earn top marks from the scorers and I analyzed it cover to cover. I set about to use the same curriculum areas, strands and goals in this years portfolios and I attempted to make sure I had similar work samples from my students (times two because I want to submit 3-4 samples per strand). I logged all of this into the MCAS Online App and made matching data sheets. Once every other week or so I would go over what I had.
Which leads to right now. We are about a week and a half from the due date and my student's portfolios are coming along. Phew.