The Portfolio / Qualifying Assessment is the point in the student’s matriculation at which the doctoral faculty determine whether the student is sufficiently prepared to undertake the planning and implementation of dissertation research.  

In preparation for the Portfolio / Qualifying Assessment, the student will prepare a brief paper to be used in the oral defense. The paper and presentation needs to communicate the student’s personal reflections on their unique doctoral experiences.  It is helpful to maintain a learning journal of personal growth through coursework, interaction with faculty and peers, presentations, papers, etc. The student’s doctoral committee will evaluate the portfolio paper, using an established rubric, prior to scheduling the oral defense.

The oral defense of the student’s portfolio and experience will be conducted in a public forum. To schedule the oral defense, the student must submit the Schedule Portfolio / Qualifying Assessment Form, signed by the student and all members of the committee at least two weeks prior to the requested date. The student’s committee members must be in attendance with the same exceptions allowed for Dissertation Defense. 

The oral defense must include the following elements:

• A brief presentation (10 minutes) of the student’s experiences, including courses, seminars, presentations, conference attendance, papers submitted for publication, and other activities in the program. The student should discuss these experiences as they relate to the initial portfolio plan and to the final portfolio.

• A brief presentation based on the portfolio paper. 

• A dialogue between the student and the faculty to assess the student’s depth of understanding and ability to undertake the dissertation research and writing. 

At the completion of the portfolio presentation, the committee members will meet privately to evaluate the student’s portfolio and defense. An “exceptional” or “acceptable” evaluation will result in the recommendation of the student for admission to candidacy. In the case of an “unacceptable” rating, the committee and the student will confer to discuss the deficiencies and to specify what the student must do to proceed. If the student’s second attempt to qualify for candidacy is unacceptable, the student will be dismissed from the doctoral program.

The student will provide a hard and/or electronic copy of the portfolio to the Office of Doctoral Programs in Education.  This will be kept in the Marshall University South Charleston Library for reference purposes until the student graduates.  Electronic copies of the portfolio presentation and the portfolio paper are to be sent to the Office of Doctoral Programs in Education for inclusion on the doctoral website.