Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)



First Advisor

S. Marrin Rife


For many years there has been a question as to the extent to which anecdotal records can be used effectively to help the teacher better understand her students. This is one of the areas of education in which little up-to-date study has been done. The problem involved in this thesis was to determine to what extent anecdotal records were being used in Warwick elementary schools, and in those schools in which they were not used, some of the possible reasons for their non-use.

From a study of the literature on anecdotal records, criteria for writing, using, and keeping anecdotal records were presented as they might apply to the furthering of guidance in the elementary schools. An introductory letter explaining anecdotal records was constructed to accompany the interview type questionnaire which was constructed around the criteria. Personal interviews were conducted with twenty elementary school principals, representing twenty-nine of the Warwick elementary schools, who distributed questionnaires to all teachers. From an analysis of this study of the use or non-use of anecdotal records in the Warwick elementary schools, results were presented as they applied to the problem, providing the basis for conclusions and recommendations.

An evaluation of data from the interviews with the elementary school principals and questionnaires from teachers of Warwick revealed some conclusions pertinent to the study. The fact that in forty per cent of the interviews it seemed evident that the principals had some misconceptions concerning the true meaning of anecdotal records was of major significance. Although a few principals were strongly in favor of the use of anecdotal records and a few expressed a negative reaction, the majority of principals appeared only mildly enthusiastic.

A major phase of the study was the questionnaire administered to the teachers. Anecdotal records were most frequently used for parent conferences and for problem cases. Although physical well-being or lack of it can play an important part in a child's behavior, the questionnaire revealed that records were seldom kept for children exhibiting poor health only. The most frequently mentioned benefit experienced by teachers from the use of anecdotal records was better understanding of the pupil. Accuracy and previous teacher's experiences were also mentioned as positive benefits. The teachers listed time consumption as the greatest obstacle standing in the way of regular and sustained use of anecdotal records. mentioned. Limited knowledge in psychology was also The teachers seemed to feel that it was the administration's responsibility to provide help in overcoming these obstacles. Increased initiative and resourcefulness of the teachers themselves and more study were also suggested.

As a result of this investigation, the following recommendations were made. The writing, keeping, and using of anecdotal records should be voluntary. Inservice training courses and workshops would make the teacher more aware of the value of anecdotal records. Case conference techniques in which the teacher and guidance consultant discuss a youngster should be established. The records should be applied and used to help the child. Extra clerical help should be made available to assist the teacher. Anecdotal records should be kept for all children. Year-end summaries should be prepared by the guidance consultant, following a conference with each teacher.