Portfolio FAQs 

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Lori Gallimore, Extension Specialist

I’ve been collecting your questions since we began portfolio training at the end of August! Please read the questions submitted below. Let me know if you have any others!

Of course! There is not enough space to type out “Future Business Leaders of America”, for example. It’s fine to put FBLA. As most CTSO’s are subject-matter oriented (HOSA, FCCLA, FFA, BETA, FCA, DECA, etc…), it is safe to assume that the subject-matter judges will know what the abbreviations represent. If not, they will ask – promise!

Do NOT retype. Just upload those forms. It is possible that every region has a different version of the junior high form. Likewise, we now have three versions of the senior high forms floating out there. The senior high folks have been instructed to NOT retype anything … unless they want to do so. Judges will not take off any points based on the forms that have been used EXCEPT if they do not type their 2019 information on a 2019 form. In this instance, the portfolio will be disqualified. This is explained on the Entry form.

Make your life simple. Have them type everything on the new forms.

I have created nine versions of the new 4-H website using my one UT email address. This should not be a problem for these families to create multiple websites with one email address.

They can submit 2015-2018 for February. In May, they will need to remove 2015 and submit 2016-2019. We have not changed this to confuse or make things difficult. The truth is that there is very little information on the current year forms when they are submitted in February – one month only. Let’s give these 4-H’ers every advantage possible and use completed records for their years of work!

This is correct.

The old “Thinking Ahead and Looking Back” forms will need to be uploaded for years 2018 and prior. There is a tab that should be created on each, new portfolio website to house these. This should be on the top, horizontal bar header of the websites that you are creating.

This is correct. The new rule “you will be disqualified if you manipulate the 2019 form in any way” only applies to 2019 and years moving forward. We don’t want anyone to have to redo anything.

They will not be penalized. The “Thinking Ahead and Looking Back” forms are project goal forms. In 2019, these are incorporated into the Section A, B and C forms. They have goals either way – and that’s what counts!

A review of ALL projects is on our radar. Dr. Jennifer Richards is working diligently with the project out- comes and development of curricula. While it seems like the separation of project would be a simple thing to do … it is not. There are multiple layers and a domino effect that is created with each change. We have to take into consider, for example, project donors. There is a sequence to how reviews and changes need to be done and integrated into the timeline of curricula development. Do not expect a change for 2019 and do not expect this to be an “overnight-flip-of-a-switch” type of change. We will keep you posted as action steps are taken and progress is made. Please be assured that your concerns reflect our concerns on this one!

4-H’ers may list up to three project goals in their Section A, B and C forms. The scoring of these goals has nothing to do with whether there is one goal or three goals. According to the rubric, the goals are judged based on the following criteria: (1) clear, reasonable goals that can be reached independently by a member and not based on the outcome of election, judging, etc …; (2) related to project work; (3) show evidence of sincere effort to achieve goals and learn from the experience whether or not the actual goal was achieved; (4) shows increased interest, growth and work in developing new skills in subject matter from one year to the next; (5) shows evidence of accepting outcomes; (6) shows evidence of shar- ing or teaching what they have learned with others.

Junior High portfolios are NOT judged on the state level. This is a regional activity only. The Area 4-H Extension Specialists have worked diligently to match up the changes in the senior high portfolios with the junior high portfolios so that these projects do not have to be completely redone when a 4-H’ers moves from junior high to senior high status. Each region is different and yet, working in tandem with the state 4-H office. Any questions or concerns that you have about the junior high portfolios and subsequent rules should be directed to your regional Area 4-H Extension Specialist – Neal Smith (WR), Jamie Harris (CR) or Mitch Beaty (ER).

First, the “written guidelines” for the portfolios will be out shortly. Second, this is our first year with the Showcase – rules and guidelines are at a minimum right now because we have never done this before. However, the workgroup agreed that videos, Power Points, etc… may be included in the Showcase. Each one will count as ONE page. The Wix site automatically limits the size of your attachment to 25 MB. In regard to time limit – keep in mind that judges are not going to spend a lot of time watching a video. A few, interesting seconds is all you need. Think about the You Tube videos that you watch – how long can those keep your interest? Less is more! Less is more! Less is more!

Based on the Wix template that we have selected, a 4-H’er may have up to 15 photos. The photos need to (1) clearly show project work activities; (2) should be action oriented; and (3) be in focus and easy to see. The training video on photos and rubric will help guide you on the proper selection of photos. If a judge is looking at your portfolio from a smart phone, would they be able to clearly see what you are doing if the photo attached is a collage of photos? Probably not. This is not against the rules – but I would highly discourage it! Remember, there is a section in the portfolio for “other project records” – you
could attach additional photos here. If you are capable of adding text captions to the photos, that is fine. Keep in mind that you may be doing more work than necessary – there is a space beside each set of photos where the 4-H’er writes a paragraph describing what the photos are about – don’t double your work load. And sure – black and white photos are great!

No. The resume is in a template form on the website. You can simply cut and paste an existing resume into this template and reformat. Ideally, resumes should be limited to one page for students and those seeking their first job.


“Leadership in Other Organizations of Which You are a Member” is not limited to just in-school clubs and organizations. Think about civic and church groups. Consider breaking this down – you could (1) be a member; (2) serve on a committee; and (3) attending a leadership training for the same organization.

  • Can we move 2 or 3 lines from (4) Awards to (3) Presentations in Section A? The Awards section is dis-proportionally larger than the presentation section.
  • Please consider making awards section in Section A smaller and less point value. Winning isn’t everything! Could make presentation/exhibit section larger.
  • Can we shorten the number of lines for Section 6 – marketing – in Leadership or make it worth less
  • points than the other sections?
  • Can you make the “global” and “government” sections of the Section C Citizenship form shorter? Can you add lines to “friends and family” and “community”?
  • Can we just do away with Leadership, Section 3? Can we combine Sections 4 and 5 in Leadership?

We get it. There are several sections – such as Section C’s global and government sections – that are more difficult than others – such as Section C’s friends and family and community sections. But the short answer on this one is “No!” We are not shortening, lengthening, removing, modifying, lessening the scores of any of this for 2019. We want to treat each section equally – especially since they get an equal amount of points. These sections are not included just to give you a headache! I promise! Global and government, for example, are essential parts of learning about Citizenship. As the 4-H agent, it is your job to provide/create opportunities for your 4-H’ers in these areas and help them devise a plan – at the beginning of the year – so that they have meaningful work to add to these sections. For the last several years, we have witnessed 4-H agents spending a lot of time building a 4-H’ers portfolio. We need to move away from this habit. It is our hope that using a Website will instill excitement about the 4-H portfolio project in our 4-H’ers and the direction will move to the 4-H’er completing his/her own portfolio – and not the agent or parent.

The portfolio workgroup is aware that the “content” of the forms of the portfolio has not been ad- dressed. Sure – minor changes have been made. However, we felt strongly that if we made major changes to both content and the vehicle in which the portfolio would be submitted (electronically first and then via a website) at the same time, it would be too much. Once we get through the 2019 season and work out all of the kinks with the web-based portfolio, we will begin reviewing all of the content elements. All agents will be involved in this process! We’ll get back to you on this! In the interim, hang in there! 2019 is going to be super-exciting for our 4-H Project Portfolios! I can’t wait!