In the writing classroom, portfolios have the potential to educate students and teachers on exactly what and how students are learning about themselves as writers. The purpose of this study was to investigate student learning based on perceptions of themselves as writers. Data was collected in interviews, on written reflections and through observations of student portfolios in a language arts classroom. Two males and two females were chosen as a typical cross section of my 125, 8th grade students. During the study, the students described good writing, shared their perceptions of their strengths and weaknesses as writers, were observed using the portfolio process in evaluating themselves as writers. Three out of the four students said good writing is writing about what you know. Students identified various form and content issues as their strengths and weaknesses in writing. Each subject used the portfolio process, specifical1y reflective activities, in a unique way to assess what they were learning about themselves as writers. The study illuminated how some 8th grade students would evaluate themselves as writers. They made accurate evaluations of themselves and most were able to identify specific skills or strategies in writing that they were using. Implications of this study are discussed for teachers planning to use portfolios in the grading process; for professional development, as to the support needed for successful implementation of portfolios; and for future researchers, continuing to investigate the portfolio process.
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