‘Convoluted’, ‘Stressful’- Portfolios Rubbing Seniors the Wrong Way

Viviana Tran, Contributing Writer

Thrust upon the Class of 2023 and all the years coming after it, with no warning beforehand, people have strong, vocal opinions on the new graduation requirement. As the entire school is now aware, the state of Connecticut issued a new graduation requirement as of the start of 2020, requiring High School Seniors to submit a “Mastery Based Learning Assessment” in the form of a portfolio that displays at least nine pieces of work the student has completed throughout their high school career. 

The portfolio is meant to exemplify four main skills of a student – creativity, research, community competence, and critical thinking. The main purpose is to help students “reflect upon their work so that they can share their accomplishments with others, including college recruiters and future employers,”  stated Principal Christopher Rau in his introductory PowerPoint. 

At first glance, this seems like a reasonable requirement – it is easy enough that students can finish it within a sensible time period with help from teachers, and it is beneficial for their overall future, considering college recruiters and future employers look at it. 

However, some students, especially the Senior Class of 2023, would beg to differ… 

When asking students to describe the portfolio graduation requirement in one word, the words ranged from, “unnecessary” to “convoluted” and even “stressful”. Almost no students bothered to describe the portfolio in a positive light, not even trying to hide their disdain for it, which is surely saying something. 

And it is no doubt that there are grumblings when Wednesday homerooms roll around, as few in the class of 2023 actually want to work on their portfolio.  

Are there reasons for this unmovable defiance and bitterness towards an innocent graduation requirement? From what we’ve gathered, reasons include portfolios having never been around up until this moment, and the actual time it takes to finish one. Portfolios had unluckily fallen upon the class of 2023, while class of 2022 were allowed to graduate completely portfolio free. In addition, finishing a portfolio is, although easy for some, time-consuming for all. 

Writing reflections on work that you have already completed is not the ideal way to spend thirty minutes of your school day, when you could be worrying about another class or the test you have next period. 

We can only hope that eventually, students will come around to the idea of making a portfolio, that they can seek the help they need on it, and that the portfolio will be beneficial towards every class going forward.