An anecdotal record is "a written record kept in a positive tone of a child's progress based on milestones particular to that child's social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive development," notes the American Association of School Administrators (1992, p. 21). The teacher observes and then records a child's actions and work throughout the day while the activities are occurring. The recording is informal and typically is based on notes or a checklist with space for writing comments. It is done only when appropriate and is not forced; in fact, there may be days between entries.
The anecdotal record is positive in tone. It emphasizes "what a child can do and his or her achievements, as opposed to what he or she cannot do," explains the American Association of School Administrators (1992, p. 2). It is useful for reporting a child's progress and achievements during parent-teacher conferences.