Parental Assessment:
Develop a Portfolio to Document
Your Child's Talents

Bertie Kingore, Ph.D.

Prepare a small selection of your child's products
to document learning achievements and advanced potential.


Schools want to provide opportunities for children to learn as much as they are ready and able to learn. Your insight about your child's at home demonstrations of learning heighten our understanding of your child's needs. A portfolio increases the credibility of your advocacy for your child by documenting the depth and complexity of your child's work. Product examples increase the likelihood that your perception of your child's needs is accepted and respected inasmuch as the products illustrate each gifted characteristic you have observed.


_________ How Do Parents Begin? _________

• Use a pocket folder or photo album (one-inch thickness) as a portfolio container to organize a few products your child has produced. Photographs can be used to represent large or three-dimensional items.

• Keep the portfolio small. Six to ten items are probably sufficient to represent your child's talents. A small sampling of carefully selected products makes a more thoughtful presentation than a large scrapbook approach. Educators have demanding work loads and are more likely to have time to attend with interest to a sampling.

• Date each product. It is significant for authenticity and achievement level comparisons to note when each item was completed.

• If needed for clarity, prepare brief product annotations that explain how your child demonstrated a specific characteristic through that product or during the process of completing that product.

• Briefly describe additional exceptional behaviors frequently displayed by your child, such as independent thinking, problem solving, and questions about topics or concepts not typically asked by children. You are in a unique position to recount to others the process as well as the products of your child's learning.

• Share written anecdotes of the child's expressed perceptions of school that suggest advanced sensitivity and unexpected points of view. Use your child's own words to describe the challenge or lack of it in learning situations. For example, children often tell adults that they are bored. What does your child really mean if she or he says "bored"? Record what your child says about when and how they are bored at school.


_Guideline for Selecting Portfolio Products _

The included portfolio products list is meant to prompt ideas of a wide range of products that might be appropriate in your child's portfolio. Select products that are an integral reflection of what your child has learned rather than artificial activities and isolated skills. Let the portfolio represent the main idea you want educators to understand about your child.

Products that document giftedness demonstrate depth, complexity, and the ability to process and reorganize information to produce a product unique for that age or level. The products may substantiate your child's interest and expertise in topics that are not typical.

Products selected for a portfolio must be completed by the child without assistance for two important reasons. Foremost, because your child's self esteem is influenced by his or her competent personal achievements. Remaking products into adult projects risk children acquiring feelings of doubt and ambiguity about their abilities. Secondly, the portfolio is taken more seriously when the products look child-appropriate rather than adult-level perfect. Educators are suspicious of products that suggest extensive adult intervention.


_________ A Final Encouragement _________

As an advocate rather than an adversary, assume the clear stance that you want what all parents want for their children: the opportunity for children to learn as much as they are ready and able to learn. All children deserve to learn at their optimum readiness level--even the gifted. Be an advocate whose only motive is to insure your child's right to an appropriate education. If we are motivated by children's best interests and not our ego needs, our efforts will usually guide us in the most appropriate direction.


Examples of Portfolio Products


Art pieces should include the child's natural, creative explorations and interpretations (rather than crafts).

Art reflects development levels, interests,graphic talents, abstract thinking, and creativity.

Audio tapes

Tape the child's explanation of advanced concepts, philosophical viewpoints, musical creations, problem solutions, and ideas.

Audio tapes verify vocabulary, fluency, creativity, high-order thinking, and concept depth.


Document computer skills through applications of more sophisticated software and programs created by the child.

Computer-generated products indicate computer literacy, analysis, content-related academic skills, and applied concepts.


Write you child's dictated explanation of a product or process. Prompt these dictations with statements such as: "Tell me how you did that."

Dictations increase adults' understanding of the why and how of what children do. It may indicate advanced vocabulary, high-level thinking, fluency, and conent depth.

Graphs or charts

Some children produce graphs or charts to represent relationships, formulate problems, illustrate math solutions, and demonstrate the results of independent investigations.

Graphs or charts demonstrate specific skills or concepts applied in the task, high-level thinking, data recording strategies, and organizational skills.


Photograph your child's math patterns, creative projects, dioramas, sculptures, constructions, experiments, models, or organizational systems.

Photographs represent three-dimensional products. They provide a record when no paper product is feasible.

Reading level

AProvide one or two examples of books or printed material your child reads independently (not material your child has memorized). Include your child's reflection of the book to demonstrate analysis skills.

All children do not read and interpret advanced-level materials. However, since advanced learning opportunities often require reading independence, educators are interested in students' reading levels.


Gifted students usually have information and expertise beyond the age-level expectations in one or more areas. Share examples of the independent studies pursued by your child.

Research products reveal specific interests, synthesis, content depth, and complexity of learners.

Video tape

Video tapes are wonderful ways to document performing arts and your child's learning process. they are less applicable to substantiate academic skill development due to the equipment and time necessary to show the tape. Limit tape entries to three or four minutes if they are to be reveiwed by educators.

A video presents a significant visual record and integration of skills and behaviors. When recording group interactions, a video can demonstrate interpersonal and leadership skills.

Written products

Provide examples of original works written by your child including stories, reports, scientific observations, poems, or reflections.

Written products may demonstrate advanced language, thinking, organization, meaning construction, concept depth, and complexity.

Kingore, B. (2001).
The Kingore Observation Inventory, 2nd ed. Austin: Professional Associates Publishing.