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School Library Certification

Portfolio Guidelines

Successful completion of the program portfolio is a requirement for the master’s degree and successful completion of the school library preparation program. The electronic portfolio developed for the school library preparation program is a collection of written documentation and artifacts with reflective writing that documents competency in the program’s four Learning Outcomes that relate to the South Carolina ADEPT Performance Standards for school librarians. The completed portfolio is submitted for evaluation toward the end of the semester the candidate intends to complete the school library preparation program. (November 15 for the fall semester or April 15 for the spring semester). The audience for the portfolio is instructors and administrators of the School of Information Science who evaluate student progress and achievement, as well as future employers of School of Information Science graduates.

From the start of the program, candidates should begin identifying and collecting artifacts for the portfolio. Artifacts are tangible evidence of significant effort to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency. Some artifacts will be required assignments in specific courses, and the candidate will select others.  The completed portfolio for students will contain four entries (not counting the introduction and picture, résumé, vision statement, or professional development plan), which includes an artifact (or artifacts) and reflective writing.

Welcome or Introduction

The Welcome or Introduction Page welcomes visitors to the portfolio.  It should provide an overview of the content and how to navigate the portfolio.  A photograph is also part of the introduction and should be a head shot or a photograph taken in a professional setting. 


The resume is a brief overview of professional work experience and educational background.  It should include memberships in professional organizations, any professional presentations or publications, and any honors or awards.  The content of the resume should be posted on the resume portfolio page and attached as an artifact.

Vision Statement

The vision statement is a brief statement (300-400 words) of professional philosophy/beliefs, values, ethics that will govern a candidate’s behavior and practice as a school librarian.  It is a broad statement that describes the candidate’s understanding of the professional role of a school library media specialist and what the candidate believes are best professional practices and ethics in implementing the school’s library program. 

Professional Development Plan

The Professional Development Plan consists of three parts.  In part one, candidates reflect on their professional development plan assignment for SLIS 701 and how it has evolved during the school library program. In part two, candidates assess the skills and knowledge acquired during the School of Information Science program of studies that prepare them to qualify as competent school library media specialists.  In part three, candidates explain how they intend to grow as professionals over the next five years. 

Entries Documenting Learning Outcomes

Documentation of competency in the four Learning Outcomes of the school library preparation program is the core of the portfolio.  Each Learning Outcome will be documented with one entry (entries contain an artifact (or artifacts) and reflective writing).  An artifact is tangible evidence that indicates achievement or attainment of knowledge and skills related to the four Learning Outcomes.  Artifacts should represent significant efforts and accomplishments.  Examples of artifacts may include professional work samples such as action research, curriculum plans, student assessments, lesson plans, management and organization strategies, position papers, in-service/staff development workshops, reading promotion activities, collaborative units, policies and procedures, public relations and advocacy plans, program/grant proposals, and multimedia presentations.

Reflective Writing: Description, Analysis, and Reflection

Reflective writing is a three-step process that includes (1) description, (2) analysis, and (3) reflection.  Reflective writing accompanies each artifact selected or required for the portfolio.  The reflection helps explain how the artifact demonstrates the objective was met.  It serve as a record of the student’s self-assessment.

  1. Description (Step1)
    Description is an overview of the artifact.   It should include an explanation of how the artifact relates to the particular Learning Outcome(s) it addresses, and why it was selected for inclusion in the portfolio.  It sets the stage, explains the purpose, and tells “what, when, and who.”  It answers the question, “What did I do and why?”
  2. Analysis (Step 2)
    Analysis is the process of evaluation after the fact that looks at successes and failures, what was accomplished, what worked well and what didn’t work well, and the results of planned programs, lessons, collaborations, or other activities.  What were the results?  What did you learn from this experience?  It answers the question, “So what?”
  3. Reflection (Step 3)
    Reflection follows analysis.  It is the critical thinking that fosters professional growth and knowledge building.  Reflection is an opportunity to contemplate how to plan and implement activities in the future – same way, differently or not at all. “Reflection is the ongoing process of thoughtfully considering our practice in the context of personal and professional knowledge, assumptions, and beliefs, with the aim of achieving insights that lead to professional growth” (Heath 39).  The goal of reflection is professional growth that results in improved professional practice.  It answers the question, “What next?”


The Matrix below documents the requirements of what must be included in program portfolios for all school library candidates. Use this document, along with the Portfolio Proficiency Statements document, to guide the creation of your portfolio.

Entry Portfolio for Students Seeking Advanced and Initial Certification
Introduction and picture
Vision Statement 
 Professional Development Plan
Learning Outcome 1:  Instruction
Your artifact will be your ISCI 742 Collaborative Unit Plan (CUP) assignment.
 Learning Outcome 2:  Environment
Your artifact will be an assignment that you created to promote recreational reading from ISCI 756 or ISCI 757, or it can be a recreational reading activity that you completed during your internship or another ISCI course.
Learning Outcome 3: Library Services and Management
Your artifact will be your Collection Mapping and Analysis (CMA) Assignment in ISCI 720, a weeding analysis, or other collection development activity you completed in your courses, or during your internship. 
Learning Outcome 4:  Professionalism
Your artifact will be a handout for an in-service professional development session for teachers, or a link to a virtual professional development session that you created.  The lesson should be one that you used during your practicum (at any of the schools you visited), or one that you developed to use in your future school library program.
Learning Outcome 5: Optional Certificate in Specialized Study in Information Science Certificate

Students will be required to submit an additional artifact (assignment) that is directly related to their optional certificate of specialized study. As such, the artifact must come from one of the 4 courses that students are counting towards the certificate — i.e., the four courses listed on the Program of Study for the Certificate of Specialized Study in Information Science.

Reflective Essay

  1. How this assignment is representative of the knowledge and skills they’ve gained from completing this certificate.
  2. How they will take their knowledge and skills and apply them in a real-world, specific way.
  3. How completing this certificate has impacted the way they view/approach their role in the field (related to the point above but a bit different in nature).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.