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English Major Exit Portfolio Requirement

Dear English Majors:

The English Department is committed to providing our students with the best possible educational experience, helping them to develop valuable knowledge and skills. To support that ongoing commitment we regularly evaluate our success. One key form of evaluation is through the collection and examination of representative student writing. Therefore, the department instituted a requirement that each English major turn in a writing portfolio as a graduation requirement.

The results of the portfolio assessment will not affect your GPA or course grades in any way. We read the portfolios to determine how we are doing in achieving the goals of the English major and to help us plan for ways we might improve what we do in the future.

To be considered complete and meet the graduation requirement, your portfolio must include the following elements:

  • This checklist (completed) indicating that your portfolio is complete.
  • At least seven pieces of finished and fully edited writing (artifacts).
    • One of these must be your capstone project (senior seminar paper, ENG 499 thesis, or Honors thesis).
    • At least one artifact must be work from a writing intensive gateway course (ENG 203, 204, or 205).
    • At least one artifact must be work from a 300-level ENG course.
    • Include work from at least one additional English course taken at Eastern (not including ENG 100 or 100P).
    • The remaining artifacts may include additional English coursework, but we also welcome artifacts from other courses you've taken at Eastern or from outside the university (such as work completed for an internship, a job, or for extra-curricular activities).
  • A completed "Portfolio Framework Grid" indicating which artifacts you feel display your level of competency for each of the English major learning goals (see the list of goals and sample grid). You should include at least one artifact related to each goal, and you may include the same artifact for multiple goals.
  • A brief introduction to each artifact in the portfolio (minimum 250 words), explaining
    • its intended audience and purpose, 
    • why you think it is relevant for the specific goal(s) under which you listed it on your grid, and
    • how-specifically-it displays your level of competency with regard to the goal(s).
  • A critical and reflective essay (750 to 1250 words) that introduces the portfolio as a whole, making clear how your portfolio reflects the sum of your education at Eastern, both within the English major and within the larger context of a Liberal Arts university. For more information about the essay, see this guide.
  • A PDF of the screen that confirms your completion of the Survey for Graduating Seniors. (See your capstone instructor or the English department chair for the survey link.).

Furthermore, we welcome—even encourage—inclusion of artifacts using modes other than written text. Artifacts including or primarily reliant on visuals (such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.), audio files of podcasts, and so on will help you better show your skill with regard to our second learning goal: “By the time they graduate, English majors should be able to communicate/create in multiple modes (writing, speech, visual/multimedia) appropriately adapted to the purpose at hand, and with an awareness of the needs of the imagined audience.”

Fall 2020: The department is currently exploring methods for electronic portfolio submission and will have a system in place before the end of the semester. Specific instructions will be added to this page as soon as they are available and in plenty of time for you to submit your portfolio before the deadline.

To meet the requirement in time for graduation, your full and final portfolio must be submitted no later than the last day of final exams for your final semester. For summer graduation, the portfolio must be submitted by the last day of summer classes. 

If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact your faculty advisor or the English department chair.


Barbara Liu, PhD
Professor and Chair
English Department
Webb Hall 230
(860) 465-4576