This article gives a snapshot look at the process of evaluating portfolios. It is particularly focused on the negotiating conversations that occur around more controversial/borderline portfolios. They believe that their portfolio evaluation process serves “as an important means of faculty development, can help ease anxieties about grading and passing judgment on students’ work, and can provide a forum for teachers and administrators to re-think the goals of a freshman English program” (219).
In their snapshots they look at two different conversations. The first one is a group of TAs that are new to the program (and probably new to teaching as well). The second group is comprised of experienced teachers, primarily adjuncts. The main purpose of these transcribed conversations is to illustrate the difficulty of coming to consensus regarding grades, and to flesh out some of the differences between graders.
In the conclusion, the authors argue that, “Just as process approaches to writing have allowed us to externalize and make available to observation some of the stages of composition, our continuing work in portfolio teams will allow us to study in more detail the layers of competing claims that struggle in the judgments that we make when we assess student writing” (229).