The Learning Record

Responding to the Learning Record

Informal White Papers

From the Web to Walden

Joy to the World

Roses, grasses, chicks, and children

An Open Assessment Manifesto

Other Links

Frequently-asked questions


Minimal Marking

Small multiples for tracking work

Sample grading criteria


Sources of Support


Contact Information

Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

Response to the Learning Record

Here is a sample of midterm comments for a student Learning Record

Learning Record Comments for: XXX

Absences: 1

1. Content of the LRO: Is it complete?

Part A.1 & A.2: Are they complete?

These are fine, and give readers a good understanding of your background before the class. It's interesting that you found that your creative writing interests faded once you began to play the guitar seriously.

Observations: Are they dated? Do they describe an activity related to the class?

Good set of observations with just the right amount of descriptive detail. Keep adding to these through the rest of the semester.

However, remember that observations are positive accounts of what you have observed about your learning and development: use them to document something you accomplished (can be very small), figured out, demonstrated you knew, etc., rather than what you haven't done, what you should have done, and so on.

Samples of work: Are there enough samples of work to represent the student's development? What other examples might have been provided? Does the list of samples give readers a sense of what is included? Is the selection of samples appropriate?

You need to provide in this section a list of the samples included in your samples folder. Here we basically want a list of what is included in the folder (sort of a table of contents), consisting of the file name, what it represents, and a brief description ("xxxx-9-16-99. Final revision for project 1. We learned how to scan images and how to use tables to organize graphics", for example)

Given the variety of things we've done in the class, I think a broader sampling of work would help readers get a better sense of your experience. Among the possibilities: Your drafts or notes for project one, selections from the town hall meeting, comments for other writers, email to the class list or to collaborators, forum postings, selections from logs on the MOO, notes or drafts of project 2, and so on. However, I applaud your learning how to do gif animations! That was tough for me to get at first. They are kind of fun to play with though.

Part B Summary interpretation: is it supported by observations and samples of work? Does it refer to the dimensions of learning and the four strands of work in the course? Does it represent the student's activity and accomplishments well?

Part B does a nice job of interpreting the observations and samples of work, linking specific examples to the dimensions of learning. If you integrate the assertions in the second paragraph with the evidence in the first paragraph, the whole section would be smoother and more effective.

Part C Grade estimate: Does the grade estimate match the criteria for the grade as explained at the web site? Is the grade estimate supported by the evidence in the Learning Record?

The evidence in the Learning Record best supports a grade of C. You can get a better sense of this if you check the explanation of how grades map on to the LRO at It's really tough to try to work full time and also carry a full-time course load. I had to do it in grad school and it was incredibly difficult. My hat is off to you for your efforts!

2. Format

Does the Record follow the Learning Record format? Is the Learning Record itself in one text document, in a folder which includes the samples of work as separate files? If in HTML or hypertext, is it organized effectively? Are the sections clearly labeled? How might the writer make it easier for readers to navigate and understand the Learning Record and samples of work?

Beyond the notes above, this format is fine.


XXX, you are a capable writer and you have plenty of technological skills, which will stand you in good stead for the balance of the semester. I realize that it can be difficult to collaborate with people when working on a project, but there are many other forms of collaborative activity that are also part of the class, and that "count" in this strand of work: posting responses to others on message forums, offering help and suggestions during project work, email to the class list, and so on. If you can manage the time to participate a bit more in this way, you may actually be able to save yourself some time through the suggestions and advice of others, including me.


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