Recording Learning

Please note: this guide was written before the 2014 National Curriculum and some of the advice may no longer be relevant.
For more up-to-date guidance see:

Learning is not a smooth continuum, and individual children's work will vary according to the type of task set, their level of interest, internal and external distractions, teaching style - and even the time of day. So, if you are to make a fair overall judgement about what they have learnt during a history unit, record children's progress formatively and incrementally, across as wide a range of work as possible. Draw from written, oral and visual evidence of learning.

Written work

By its very nature, written work forms a record of learning. However, it does need to be annotated if others are to understand it. It needs explanatory details of the background, how the work was introduced, and what teaching/learning activities produced it, to give a full picture of the learning achieved.

Oral work

Children often demonstrate their knowledge and understanding orally - through discussion, debate and questioning - during the course of a topic or unit.

Teachers can note what individual children say on post-its or in a small notebook (one teacher we work with hangs her notebook around her neck, so it is always available to jot down her observations).

The learning can then be summarised in a table classifying the historical knowledge, skills and understanding demonstrated.

Observation Table  

The more detailed post-it notes can be kept in each child's portfolio, or record. These observation records form an important part of the evidence for school self-assessment of learning.

Action and visual evidence

Where children demonstrate their learning through action (e.g. freeze frames, role play) teachers can record this visually using a digital camera or video recorder. Annotate and evaluate all visual evidence, so that parents, other staff, children and inspectors understand the context and background of the activity shown.

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