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Picking Nits

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I took another day off from actual teaching last week to work on the portfolio, and it is nearly in finished form. By “almost” I mean all the entries are in individual manila folders with a litter of yellow sticky notes attached to parts that need attention. I am now in the process of un-stickying. When it’s all sticky-free I can box, send, and drink.

An unexpected favorite part was drawing diagrams of the classrooms to go with the video tapes. A part I still haven’t done yet is to attach typed descriptions to the evidence (assignment sheets, student papers) for the videotaped entries.

In neatening up these last minute details, it became apparent that the bible itself is inconsistent. In more than one instance, two sets of directions from different parts of the bible offer incompatible suggestions about how to properly submit the work.

“Final Inventory” cover sheets are provided for each entry. They are schematic drawings of big stacks of paper, showing what order things go in and where to put the paper clips. Unfortunately, these final inventory cover sheets DO NOT MATCH the exhaustive directions given in earlier sections of the bible. I get the distinct feeling that the bible has been revised and these diagrams represent earlier versions of the portfolio with, in some cases, significantly different requirements from those that exist now.

For example, the Entry 1 Final Inventory suggests that there are three paper-clipped bundles after the written commentary: Assignment #1 with response from Student A and then Student B; Assignment #2 with the same; and Assignment #3, ditto.

In fact, this entry as currently devised calls for four assignments per student, not three, and these don’t even have to be the same assignments. In the bible (EA/ELA 2006 pp108-9), the order suggested under “For Your Entry 1 Envelope” is first a packet with four assignments for Student A, and then a packet for Student B with four assignments.

This is not an isolated incident. Every one of the Final Inventory cover sheets attached in a helpful appendix of forms at your fingertips contains significant inaccuracies, as compared to the version of the entry given in the bible proper. For Entry 2, for example, the Final Inventory suggests that the written commentary can be 12 pages and allows for 6 pages of attached instructional material. The Bible (pp 117-19) clearly states that there can only be 11 and 3 pages, respectively. In fact, the directions include stern language: “If you submit a longer Written Commentary, only the first 11 pages will be read and scored” (boldface theirs).

If, therefore, a candidate were hapless enough to only use the cover sheets from the appendix as a guide, that candidate would fail. However, in a masterful Catch-22, even candidates like me who recognize the discrepancies are required to sign and submit the (incorrect) Final Inventory cover sheets in a “Forms” envelope, representing cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die sincerity that we have not only assembled our portfolio completely according to directions but checked it twice.

Something else about portfolio assembly that bugged me was the dehumanizing aspect of putting a number and a bar code on everything, instead of my name. I appreciate the purpose of anonymity, but the act of actually whiting out one’s own name on emails that show how your dialogue with a parent has changed a kid’s life for the better underscores the irony that these entries are at the same time drenched in blood, sweat and tears, yet devoid of voice and personal identifying characteristics.

9 Comments

Emmet, don't white out YOUR name in your documented accomplishments. I refer you to the FAQ (which yes, is the only place I found this requirement) where it says that your name and the date should be visible on each piece of documentation and that you might need to add verification forms to those pieces that don't include that info. See http://www.nbpts.org/help_and_faqs/portfolio#1746 for the full details -- question #3.

I could certainly identify with your description about the challenging assembly line instructions before sealing those big white envelopes for the LAST time. I nearly wore the sticky part of the seal off, overwhelmed with fear that one sheet might be missing and the whole project would be tossed out with no feedback from the powers that be as to what I did wrong. Tomorrow, I'm taking the BIG BOX to school, along with sufficent wrapping tape...once I grab that final Verification Form, I'll check the Bible rules one more time to make sure it's in the proper lineup, and I'm taking that baby over to UPS to get my tracking bar code and ship BIG BOX to Texas (be sure you don't send it to New Jersey!). PS I paid the local drive through copy shop $7.82 for 10 paper clips and 154 pages of blood, sweat, and tears as back up to the project...all for a worthy cause!

Yes! I've been complaining all weekend to whoever will listen; entry 2 can include 3 pages of materials, according to the instructions, 1 page, according to the "materials cover sheet" and 6 pages according to the entry 2 final inventory sheet. I'm voting for 3. Then, surprise, after I thought everything was written, we need to write a page about our materials for entries 2 and 3, after we already described them in the entry itself. Argggh. And this is making me a better teacher???

I just wanted to send out a congrats to all of you packing and mailing! I am very happy for you! Now, onto the test!

I am at 14 pages (down from 25!!!) for entry 1 - I'm almost there! My self-set deadline is Friday! I absolutely cannot ruin one more weekend of my life working on this! It has to end!

This blog as been a great resource, so thank to you, Emmet, and to all of you who post! May we all receive passing scores in December!

Jennifer

Entry 1 Final Inventory Form mystery solved. . .

Look at the bottom left corner of your form. It should say 47_EA?ELA, because that's our certificate. But...it doesn't! Mine says, "62_AYA/SS-H" I printed the bible off of the Internet, before I got the CD. Our friends at NBC included a wrong form. On the CD, if you go back and reprint the forms, they will have the right info and the right number on the bottom.

This only adds to my general level of hostility towards the NBC people.

Back to numbering forms.

Emmet,
Please review the comments above by Sara. She is correct. You need to have your name clearly visible on this documentation for Entry 4.

The further irony is that the assessors check to see that your license correlates with the person in your videos. Clearly, there is no anonymity present with those entries as well.

I also think the comments by Hillary may help to solve the dilemma with the numbered sheets. This is not uncommon. It’s all part of the NB process that is crazy making at this juncture, but one you will ALMOST forget after you certify.

This is why I suggested in an earlier post that you allow so much time for box assembly. I did NB solo, so I didn’t have anyone to bounce things around with. I’ve heard of others though, who have a big “prepacking party” - just to discern where and what NB actually wants.

Best wishes. You are almost there!

Marybeth NBCT

Commerce Department’s Census Bureau). Even better is the improved ability to contribute in a meaningful way to the health care industry and personal growth

This is NOT connected with the Kennesaw State University Office of the Registrar or with your records in any

This is NOT connected with the Kennesaw State University Office of the Registrar or with your records in any

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