Creating the subject of portfolios: Reflective writing and the conveyance of institutional prerogatives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This article presents research from a qualitative study of the way that reflective writing is solicited, taught, composed, and assessed within a state-mandated portfolio curriculum. The research situates reflective texts generated by participating students within the larger goals and bureaucratic processes of the school system. The study finds that reflective letters are a genre within the state curriculum that regulates the substance and tone of students' reflections. At the classroom level, the genre provides a mode that students adopt with the assurance that their reflections will meet state evaluators' expectations. At the bureaucratic level, the genre helps to continually validate the state's portfolio curriculum through its strong encouragement of stylized narratives of progress. The study demonstrates the importance of understanding how large-scale assessments shape pedagogy and students' writing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-35
Number of pages33
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Accountability
  • Genre
  • Kentucky portfolio
  • Large-scale assessment
  • Portfolios
  • Reflection
  • Reflective writing
  • Writing assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Creating the subject of portfolios: Reflective writing and the conveyance of institutional prerogatives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this