How to get the best possible marks for your portfolio papers!

This section of the site will take you through the steps necessary to create a great portfolio paper. There are no short cuts and you must be prepared to put in the time and effort at each stage.

The portfolio in a nutshell

The portfolio is the internal assessment component of the HL course in ITGS. It represents 20% of the final grade. The portfolio comprises three papers, each 1000 words in length and from a different area of impact. There is also one extension paper, again 1000 words in length, which is an extension of one of the portfolio papers.

December 4th

Today we will:
  • check criterion A against the criterion listing
  • discuss what criterion B should look like

For your homework, please redo criterion A and draft B. Use the check lists below to help you:

Check list for A

  1. Does the issue relate to the news item? Does Criterion A set the scene‟ for your portfolio?
  2. Have you included factual evidence with appropriate citations eg 90% of software is…?
  3. Have you explained an appropriate social and/or ethical issue?
  4. Have you referred to and cited your news item?

Check list for B

  1. Have you explained the developments that have enabled this issue to occur?
  2. Have you explained how the technology works?
  3. Have you explained any of the technical terms?
  4. Does Criterion B address the technology rather than the history of the issue?
  5. Is your discussion specific to the news item rather than a general overview?
  6. Have you explained the future trends and included (if possible) statistics to back it up?
  7. Having done the above have you analysed your findings?

November 27th

Before the residential, we started the first official portfolio. By now, you should have done the majority of your research (see the section below which outlines what you should have already done). Your objectives today are:

  1. To make sure that you have completed your research for all the first three criterion: A, B and C (see below)
  2. To write up Criterion A - the presentation of the issue. Do this in word - not wikispaces. You should EXPLAIN what the issue is. Using the IM example as a model, I suggest that you have a three paragraph approach:

Paragraph 1: The news item has identifed an IT system in an area of impact. Here you must identify the IT system in the area of impact - you could give statistics/trends/additional research about it's use.

Paragraph 2: Describe the advantages of the IT system in the context of the area of impact

Paragraph 3: Describe the disadvantages and refer to the (negative) issue that the news item has raised - this is the essential part of this criterion and you must cite the news item.

This should be about 150-200 words. Once you have done this, please email the following to me:

  • the criterion A write up
  • the link to the news item
  • the link to your delicious account to show me that you have completed the research (so I need to see the tags)
  • In case you have forgotten: - I expect this before the lesson on please work hard!

What you should have already done!

1. Getting Started

Recap on the mini cut-down portfolio paper that we did earlier in the term: Is IT in the News?

2. Pre-reading

Print out and read the sample portfolio and the assessment criteria.
Note that in the model Criterion D has two solutions – this is the OLD version and only ONE solution is required.

3. Action

Highlight and count the citations (these are in brackets) in each criterion. How many references are there?


You need to find research which you will base your portfolio on. You have already selected a news item and had your portfolio proposal accepted. Dig these out!! You are to use the time to find evidence under the following headings:

Criterion A: Supporting evidence to help explain the issue
Criterion B: IT Background - Developments (enabling factors), trends and concepts
Criterion C: Impacts of the issue - positive and negative impacts. You can look at this from the perspective of different stakeholders
Criterion D: This is a solution to a problem raised in C. Don’t need to worry about this yet.

You will use your delicious account and made sure that for each source you have the following tags for each:
crit_D (if the source is both A and C then add both these tags).

Don’t just go to google but use reputable sources such as: EBSCO, BBC News, Database archives, CNN.
For B you can go to Wikipedia for background only as the links may be useful. Also howstuffworks is good.

What to look for:

Criteria A is the Presentation of the issue

You will need some more evidence to help explain the issue – so please research for other examples in your area of impact.
For example:
The issue raised in the news item: workers are wasting time using IM in the workplace.
The IT system is the IM and the area of impact is Business and Employment.
You may also find addition evidence to help explain this issue:
  • Advantages of using IM relative to the workplace
  • Disadvantages and consequences of using IM.
  • Other news items that address issues of using IM in the workplace

Both the advantages and disadvantages will be used in A and then expanded on and added to in C.

Criterion B is the IT background of the Issue

You must find the following:

The enabling factors – the factors that have allowed the issue to happen.
For example if the issue was illegal music videos on youtube, the factors would probably be: file compression, range of standard file formats, widespread broadband access to the internet

The trends:
Statistics as to where this technology is heading. For example with IM, business may be looking at alternatives that have superseded IM and therefore there may be a decline in usage. Alternatively you may provide statistics that will allow you to predict that there will be a growth in users in other countries….Stats must be recent – the last few years (eg 2003 and beyond….)

The concepts
The IT terminology is explained here. You need to show the relationship between the IT system and the issue. Referring back to the examples: how to upload a video to Youtube, how to do instant messaging.

Criterion C is the Impacts of the Issue

Who are the stakeholders and how are they e/affected by the issue?
What are the impacts - which we could term advantages/disadvantages - that you have found - you need to look at both positive and negative impacts to give a balanced view (if possible).
You must go beyond the example raised in the news item. For example, in the youtube example that we looked at in the pre-portfolio, we could explore the advantages to some users (e.g. maybe used for educational purposes, friends keeping in touch, how-to guides), music artists/film distributors (loss of revenue – but also free advertising/exposure could be positive).