The notion that profiles or records of achievement (between which this author makes no distinction) are new developments in education is no longer accurate. The processes of profiling, and the production of summative documents in the form of records of achievement have gone on, in certain schools, for some time, and the Department of Education and Science have been involved in this area since the early 1980s. This contribution will discuss some recent developments in the field of profiling and records of achievement, without claiming to analyse a 'new' phenomenon.
The term 'profiling' is often used in a generalized way by members of the teaching profession to describe a particular approach to assessment and reporting. This approach contains the idea of significant student involvement in the whole process, culminating in some form of 'negotiated' final statement or document. In reality, 'profiling' and 'recording achievement' stand for much more than this. The terms cover an enormously broad range of educational practices and documentary formats, most of which have considerable implications for the nature of teaching and learning. For example, some systems place comparatively tight controls upon what might be said about individuals, while others are based upon extremely loose formats, allowing great freedom of expression to a variety of contributors. Both approaches have their advantages and drawbacks, and in both cases the teachers who have adopted such schemes are highly committed to their own choice. This brief chapter is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of a large number of profiling schemes, but two examples of particular approaches are described, to