On writing reports… There has to be a better way #rethinkreports

Today marks one of the best parts of term 4 for a teacher.

Finishing the first draft of reports.

Like most schools, the reports contain a mixture of check boxes and general statements in different subjects along with general comments and goals for the next year.

I started drafting my comments back in mid-April so to get to this point took a month. The reports then need to be proof-read, checked and the data entered into the learning management system.

That’s not counting the time in class I devote to assessing kids for the purposes of report writing and then analyzing those as sources of data.

It’s a lot of work.

And the worst part of the process?

By the time the reports are actually published in June, most of the statements will be out of date.

Each report represents months of work yet will be read for just 10-15 minutes. In an age where I can email, send pictures and videos to parents, I can’t help but wonder how effective reports are in furthering children’s learning.

The time that I could be devoting to creating interesting learning experiences and responding to needs is often swallowed up during report writing times on gathering data, analyzing it and then reporting back to parents.

There is one part of reporting I do enjoy, reflecting on how the child has progressed in the year in their learning and relationships. The problem with modern reports is that they keep getting longer as we break learning down into smaller and smaller fragments.

Are we losing more than we gain?

What if instead of pages of reporting there was just a paragraph and some examples of student learning through video, photos.

Is brief, more frequent, interaction preferable to the tomes we publish at the end of each semester?

6 thoughts on “On writing reports… There has to be a better way #rethinkreports

Add yours

  1. Great thinking and matches mine for a while now. Student led conferences is the way to go where students run sessions with their parents. We are doing this now. Or better still constant ways that become your classroom normal so parents are involved with the learning all the way.

    1. Student led conferences often , twice a term. Individual Blogs. GAFE ..sharing home. Own planning sheets shared with parents so parents can talk the learning at home.

    Whoever designed reports may not have actually written them????

    Merryl McAllister
    Frankley School
    New Plymouth
    New Zealand


  2. Reblogged this on vastly improbable and commented:
    I haaaaaaaate report writing! It’s the pits. Not only do you have to report on the student’s progress, you also have to comment on behaviour and often both of these have to be couched in such political language that any problems may as well not be addressed at all.


  3. Reblogged this on Innovation in Learning and commented:
    Love this post! The current report format for most secondary schools belongs to another time. A time that belongs to the past. Why do we keep doing it? Why do we waste so much time churning out sanitised comments that mean very little to the parents and student? Why??????

    There is a better way. You just need someone smart enough to find it.


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