Q. I want to prepare a portfolio for next year. What do I need to do and how is it evaluated?

A. The law doesn’t address portfolios directly, but they can be used for an evaluation or assessment. Begin by compiling samples of your child’s best work in a notebook or scrapbook from the beginning of the year to the time of the evaluation. Including a language arts and math sample for each week should work. By the August 1 deadline, you must submit the portfolio or an evaluation letter based on the portfolio to the division superintendent.

Submitting the portfolio directly to the superintendent may not be the best way to have it evaluated. The superintendent may evaluate the portfolio by standards that don’t line up with your curriculum or your child’s abilities. Instead, you may want to have the portfolio evaluated by a licensed teacher from any state or a person with a master’s degree or higher in an academic discipline. The evaluation could be based on a review of your child’s work as presented in the portfolio or based on a test developed by the evaluator from the work in the portfolio.

The evaluator would then write a summary letter to the division superintendent and include his or her credentials with the letter. The evaluation letter should indicate that the child is “making progress” if that is the case. This type of evaluation does not compare progress with other students like a standardized achievement test does, but it shows a comparison of the child’s work from the beginning of the year to the time of the evaluation. The superintendent decides if the evaluation is acceptable.