In Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone, Dumbledore had a few last minute points to dish out. The section is on page 221, hard cover, Bloomsbury edition.

He awards ten points to Neville for being brave an standing up to his friends. How did he know this?

  • Harry always seems to think Dumbledore's eyes are X-Raying him, after Order of the Phoenix I took this to mean Dumbledore is using legilimency. – Crow T Robot Jan 4 '15 at 0:34
  • @CrowTRobot not necessarily: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/64315/23401 – Alfredo Hernández Jan 4 '15 at 1:28
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    The house elves reporting finding his body on the floor whilst cleaning. – TGnat Jan 4 '15 at 1:42
  • @TGnat And what is your support for this answer? – Jake Jan 4 '15 at 1:46
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    @Jake - clearly, deep anti-house-elf sentiment – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 4 '15 at 19:08

There is no direct answer in canon. Having said that, there are many plausible ways:

  1. He's the Headmaster. He surely has ways of finding things (Portraits see things. House elves see things. Wards register magic done in school)

    Remember that the whole adventure became public knowledge, meaning there clearly was surveillance of SOME kind:

    What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally, the whole school knows.

  2. Hermione Petrificus-Totalused Neville in Gryffindor Common Room. That means it's quite likely that he was found by someone, either from the house, or McGonagall - as head of House, she's likely to have visited the room that night with all the happenings, if no other reason than to deliver Ron and Hermione back. Or for that matter, TGnat's comment makes sense - House-elves DO clean up the Common Room (as we know from the S.P.E.W. storyline) at night so they could have discovered him

  3. Or, as @jeff's answer notes, Hermione could have spilled the beans, feeling totally guilty over what she did to Neville. I personally find it less likely that Neville went to someone to complain, but that's not impossible either.

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    I’d like to think either McGonagall or a fellow Gryffindor student finding Neville would be most likely. Or at least, if a house-elf did find him, then at least McGonagall would be one of the first to see him. We know that elves have a “different branch” of magic, and it is—as far as I know—unknown whether that branch of magic would enable them to lift the body-bind curse and unpetrify Neville. Quite likely a human wizard would be needed for that, and Neville would not last long under McGonagall’s glaring stare of enquiry. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 12 '16 at 16:11

Most likely, Dumbledore learned about it from Ron and Hermione. They obviously told him all they knew about what had happened, and I'm sure he'd have asked about what happened to Neville once he learned that something had happened to him.

Hermione, especially in the early years, is extremely honest. When asked a direct question from a teacher, let alone Dumbledore, it's unlikely she could lie (when the fate of the world isn't at stake).

Ron would most likely have been less forthcoming, but by and large both of them would have been easy to get the truth out of.

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