A portfolio should be viewed as an interactive process that engages the student and the department professors in monitoring performance. Students as well as faculty can observe growth in language skills and cultural understanding over time rather than at just one or two points in the student's academic experience. Students are responsible for collecting representative works that demonstrate learning in various ways. These works are not necessarily the student's best work; in fact, less-than-stellar assignments can be wonderful inclusions in a portfolio in that they show how much the student has improved over time.
Click here to see more about the philosophy behind portfolios, as offered by NCLRC (National Capital Language Resource Center).