Writing Portfolio

The writing portfolio is a compilation of documents written and submitted while enrolled in LIBA 100 or WRIT 111. See the syllabi for these courses for essay assignment instructions and portfolio submission dates.

The writing portfolio contains:

  • A cover essay introducing the documents in the portfolio
  • At least one thesis-driven essay that exhibits your ability to work with sources and citation systems
  • One or more additional documents that demonstrate your thinking and writing, which may include work you’ve done in other courses at George Fox

Format and Submission

The portfolio should include a 500-800 word cover essay that introduces the documents and provides additional context about the essays to help us evaluate your writing. The portfolio should include a cover page and be submitted as a single PDF document. Further instructions for the portfolio can be found on the Writing Milestone course site in FoxTale.


A portfolio satisfies the requirement if it demonstrates proficiency in essential aspects of college writing. Portfolios are read by two writing faculty, who decide on one of three scores: 

  • Below Proficiency: designates a portfolio that does not meet the proficiency criteria and does not satisfy the requirement 
  • Proficiency: designates a portfolio that meet the proficiency criteria, thus satisfying the requirement
  • Mastery: designates an exceptionally strong portfolio that satisfies the portfolio requirement and receives additional honors (see Mastery)


To satisfy the protfolio requirement, the writing portfolio must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas: 

Rhetorical Adaptability 

Succesful writing (in college and elsewhere) must account for the expectations of a particular audience and situation. Expectations in part are formed by the conventions of writing genres and the meaning those conventions create. The academic essay is one such genre–it comes with its own set of formalities, such as a thesis statement. Understanding and engaging those conventions is essential to success in college writing. 

In particular, college writing requires coherence and intentional framing. Coherence is demonstrated by an easy-to-follow structure and by signposting for your reader what you're saying and why it matters.

  • In sum, we consider how thoughtfully you respond to your writing assignment and how coherent and readable your essays are.
Strategies for Rhetorical Adapatability
  • On thesis-driven essays, write a very clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.
  • Create topic sentences at the beginning of paragraphs.
  • Execute the assignment expectations in a straightforward way.

Critical Thinking

What makes academic writing more rigorous than other types of writing is its logical structure, analytical approach to ideas, and tolerance for complexity. That is, it is a form of critical thinking. This way of writing requires an ability to define and distinguish concepts, make observations, and substantiate claims with the reasoning and evidence.

  • In sum, we want to see that you can form claims and support them with reasoning and evidence.
Strategies for Critical Thinking
  • Define important concepts and distinguish them through comparison: “X is different Y in the following sense: ...”
  • Make claims specific through qualification: “In specific circumstance X, Y is true...”
  • Offer a variety of reasons and types of evidence for key claims.  

Research and Citation

Writing never happens in a vacuum. We think and write with ideas that have come to us from other places. In academic writing, readers expect you to have conscience and direct interaction with your sources, analyzing and connecting them to form new contexts and perspectives. This is called synthesizing your research. It is different from using your sources; it is having a conversation with your sources.

Citation systems are conventional and expected in academic writing. They are part of how writers have a conversation with their research and accurately indicate what they use. Reference systems are always changing, so understanding how reference systems work is important for adapting to future writing situations.

  • In sum, we look to see that you engage meaningfully with research by conscientiously and directly interacting with sources.
  • We also want to see you cite with care and accuracy. We consider how clear and accurate your citations are and how well you follow conventional reference systems (MLA, APA, or Turabian).
Strategies for Research and Citation
  • Paraphrase and summarize often. Paraphrasing and summarizing requires a deeper comprehension of sources and how they relate to the your writing purpose. 
  • Use signal phrases (“According to Smith,…”) to introduce and identify sources.
  • Build your own references, rather than using a citation generator. Citation generators prevent you from developing an intuition about how citations work and when they are inaccurate.


Students with exceptional portfolios earn the special designation of mastery. If your portfolio achieves this score 

  1. You receive full credit for the essays portion of your LIBA grade (LIBA 100 students only)
  2. The program provides a generic letter of reference that speaks to your achievement
  3. Your writing instructor will post a recommendation about your skills on your LinkedIn account

Mastery Criteria

Portfolios that earn mastery have the following characteristics:

  • an interesting research essay that explores a meaningful and well-developed question in a fresh way
  • thoughtful integration of a variety of substantive and credible sources in the research essay
  • an engaging and effective writing style
  • exceptional polish in editing and document design