Work Samples and Feedback

Every subject requires three student work samples, except special education (which requires a final assessment, and some other assessment pieces). See an example Work Sample with Feedback.

Generally, work samples are documents of some kind, such as paper-pencil assessments, though in some subject areas, video of student performance may be used as work sample evidence. Note that physical education requires work samples in the form of videos. And, in special education, there are additional elements associated with the focus learner’s performance, including daily assessment record and baseline performance data.

Some formatting requirements and procedures for work samples include the following:

  • Conceal names including student, teacher, school, or district.
  • Refer to work samples as Student 1 Work Sample, Student 2 Work Sample, and so on. As mentioned, some subject areas permit video format work samples, such as physical education or special education. You need not conceal student names in videos but may refer to students by their first names, and nearby adults by their preferred name.
  • Although most portfolios will include documents as work samples, the exact characteristics of the document may vary depending on subject area. In most cases, the document will be an assessment. In other cases it will be a document with inserted photographs and captions, such as an artistic work for visual arts. Digitizing work samples is readily done using a digital camera or camera phone. A scanner can also be used.

Digital images created with cameras may be copy-pasted into word processing software and saved as document files.

Handbooks do not require use of the chosen or final assessment as the work sample. However, writing prompts for task three include elements that make use of the assessment an excellent option for the work sample.

Using the assessment as the work sample requires inclusion of items that generate quantitative-numerical and qualitative-descriptive information.

The assessment should also be aligned with learning the targets in explicit ways, such as including words shown in targets as part of assessment items.


Performance Assessment of California Teachers (2010). Supporting Documents for Candidates. Retrieved from