School Report Writing: 10 Top Tips and Expert Advice for 2022
Learning Ladders Blog School Report Writing: 10 Top Tips and Expert Advice for 2022
How to write a school report
We would all like to think that parents thoroughly read through our carefully crafted pupil school reports. How they must appreciate the hours we put into school report writing! However, the reality is that reports are often not as cherished as we would hope. It’s very easy to get them wrong. Wrong name in a copy and paste. Blanket statements for the class such as “We had a great time at Arundel Castle”, then finding out the student didn’t attend that day…
But it’s also just as easy to get them right. Being specific. Writing in simple language. Providing opportunities for parents to get more involved in their child’s education. All of these elements help to create a great school report.
To help you write great end of year reports, let’s answer the simple question: what is a school report? In a nutshell it’s a written assessment of a pupil’s performance and provides valuable guidance to parents and teachers, as well as students.
Reports take time
Unfortunately, school report writing can take time. To make them as personal as we would like to, they can take hours. We want to add personal touches. We want to tailor everything to every time. But if you are writing them frequently, end of year reports can eat into quite a few weekends. Writing them termly, or bulk writing huge reports yearly is very time consuming. Automation can help nowadays. No longer do you have to use the clunky systems of the past – many modern assessment systems can take away some of the strain. Ongoing communications with parents can streamline reports, so you don’t have to include those things which have already been discussed.
Personalising school reports can go wrong
Despite all attempts to the contrary, personalisation can go wrong. It can be difficult when trying to remember everything about every child over the whole year. Remembering exactly who did what at the nativity performance is difficult in June! For those teachers who teach one subject to many children it is even harder.
Teachers and parents each have a different focus Teachers may spend ages pouring over assessment data to pick out some key targets and achievements. Some parents may want to jump to the end of the report to see if their child has loads of friends. Other parents do want to have detailed information on their child’s successes and want to help from home. A lack of detail in this area could leave them feeling like they cannot build on the recommendations.
So how do you get it right?
Here are 10 top tips to assist you with school report writing:
- Ensure nothing is a total surprise . A parent should not be finding out via the report anything which will come as a total shock – good or bad! If their child has been off task 80% of the time, they shouldn’t be finding out just before the holidays. This doesn’t help them to support changes. The report should build on and confirm the ongoing conversations, adding to the parental engagement which has gone beforehand throughout the year.
- Keep it simple . Avoid the jargon and acronyms which abound in education. Add details and simple explanations where necessary. A glossary of terms relevant to the school could even be part of the template. This can be especially helpful if you have your own assessment terms. You may also want to add a quick guide to terms such as “fronted adverbials” also.
- Be specific . Statements should be simple, and in layman’s terms, but be based on solid evidence. “Joshua did well this year” is not specific enough. Parents may like to hear such a lovely statement, but it gives them nothing to engage with. They will end up asking Joshua what he did well in… which Joshua may also not be sure of the details.
- Use the ‘4 parts’ rule . Each statement in a school report should include 4 elements: the achievement/success; evidence of that success; the target; resources to help meet the target. So, a four-part phrase might be: “Joshua has progressed well in handwriting. He is now joining most of his letters in each word. His next step is to keep the sizing of his handwriting consistent. A great website to help model this is…” All too often we stop after 3 parts: success, evidence, target. This leaves parents stuck when they want to support that target. Directing them to resources that match the school’s curriculum helps the parents.
- Follow school guidance . Every school has their own ideas about what should be included. How many words to include, for example, and usually a template. If you’re new to a school but want to get started on reports early, make sure to ask for some examples from last year to get a sense of what is expected. You may think you got the reports done before the holidays, but there is nothing more deflating than finding you need to rewrite them completely.
- There is a place for automation . Teachers may have been stung by old report writing software. It may have messed up genders or come up with some grammatically terrible sentences. Many modern assessment platforms have much more advanced techniques and tools available now. You spend the term and year updating data for the graphs and assessment information. Why not then allow the system to take some of your workload? Your assessment knows exactly where the pupils are, based on your RAG ratings of statements and such. They will output sentences to reports which follow your own school’s curriculum, and it knows who is a girl or a boy! And gets the names right every time. Technology, at its very best, is efficient, which leaves you more time to write the personal statement parts.
- Add resources and links . Again, some systems have a reporting online option. This links parents to resources that are curriculum-linked. This means that for each target they are directed to high-quality resources to use at home. This can turn your school report writing into a significant part of your teaching. Also, your learning and assessment cycle. Parents being involved in their child’s education makes a huge difference. Where you are printing reports, you can add short links. These could be simple recommended resources such as YouTube channels, websites and even apps, which you know are educationally sound.
- Make the layout easy to follow . The school template can be important in making sure reports are easy to understand. If there are grades for some subjects and not others, a design change can help to make that seem strange. As with marketing rules, there are ways to bring the parent’s eye to the key information they need to see. At Learning Ladders, we have worked really hard to ensure our reports stand out. They are based on these principles outlined. You may not have control over your school template, but you can ensure sentences are concise and paragraphs are not too long. These make the report much easier to read.
- Don’t overdo it . A few key successes and a few targets are great. Make it manageable. A list of 20 successes might seem wonderful but will be very overwhelming. For the core subjects, 3-5 successes and 3 key targets are plenty. For foundation subjects, 3 successes and 1 or 2 things to work on would be perfect.
- Treat it like a parent’s evening . When writing the personal part of the report, I like to pretend the parent is in front of me, as though I am saying everything to their face, imagining their reaction. That helps me to be enthusiastic and realistic – which comes across even on the page. This also helps me to write each pupil’s report statement in one go, rather than going back and forth to edit (which is when I am more likely to make mistakes!). I also try to imagine their questions and add a bit of context or answer those upfront, as part of the report.
To find out how Learning Ladders makes school report writing easy, whilst keeping all those individual touches that parents love, have a read about our automated pupil reports .
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Jan 21, 2021
School Report Writing: An Ultimate Guide with Examples
Report writing season is perhaps one of the most stressful periods known by teachers. While receiving end of year reports is something parents and pupils look forward to.
Writing a report is a very complex task to undertake. It is not just about summing up students’ strengths and weaknesses. Teachers are having to report good and bad results in a way that is sensitive and tactful, yet direct and honest enough for it to be effective. Each word must be carefully weighed and used to convey clear messages to parents and students.
An optimal report that is going to be presented to school leaders and parents should be balanced in tone and must speak to two different types of audience: the parents and the students.
As described in the article by Impact , the journal of the Chartered College of Teaching:
“School reports are an enduring feature of the education landscape. They form part of our personal history, fondly retained by parents well beyond a child’s school leaving age. The Department for Education requires schools in England to report to parents annually (Department for Education, 2015). There is widespread variation in reporting practice, and many schools are doing more than is legally required of them (Power and Clark, 2000). While frequent, data-focused reports are commonly used, many schools continue to write comment-based reports as part of their reporting regime. As students move into secondary school, reports of their day-to-day learning can become less forthcoming from the students themselves and reports become one of very few channels of home–school communication.”
So, how can teachers respond to the challenges and manage frequent reporting to parents, combine verbal comments with numeric data, and maintain consistency in reporting throughout the school?
This post will look at best practices for writing school reports and effectively sharing them with parents.
How to write primary school reports to parents
When writing reports on primary school pupils, who are younger and likely more emotionally vulnerable, teachers need to adopt a tone and language that considers their vulnerability (while the report is addressed to the parent, the child will often read it or have it explained to them).
Educators are aware of the more prolonged impact that the report could have, be this positive or negative, and how this could shape the child’s attitude and personality. For instance, if the report is excessively critical, in a non-constructive way, the child it is meant for, could feel discouraged and not appreciated. On the other end, if the report is too enthusiastic and full of praise, the child could react by applying less effort into academic tasks and become accustomed to easy results.
With little in the way of external assessments at present, when measuring primary pupils’ performance, teachers must rely on internal assessments, behavioural and attendance patterns, and general attitude to learning.
They must invest time in getting to know each pupil, as best as possible, to determine abilities and needs for support.
Here are some examples of how Bromcom can help with Primary School Reports:
Let’s face it, report-writing can be time-consuming and can often take longer than planned, which causes teachers undue stress and pressure for fear of missing deadlines.
To prevent this from happening, teachers must be methodical and organised in their approach to report work.
First and foremost, they should learn, familiarise, and keep up to date with school’s report system in use, the technology available to them, and consult previous reports or examples. Planning in advance is always the best method.
Throughout the year, attendance and behaviour records will be tracked and logged, so these can be easily leveraged and referred to for completing the end of the year report.
Bromcom has created a powerful Cloud-MIS for Primary Schools that includes a tool called Primary Tracker.
Teachers can use the Primary Tracker to run Summative and Formative Assessment, Early Years Foundation Stage and record Test Scores. Built-in mark sheets have been designed to reduce teachers’ time in entering data and give them immediate feedback by using colour-coding to indicate the level each student is working at.
Intuitive analytics tools give insight into how groups of students perform against their age-related expectations across a range of subjects and assessment points. Teachers can examine student progress from one assessment point to another, investigate the difference in results between different groups, and view assessment results.
A formative statement analysis permits teachers to analyse pupils’ performance against curriculum statements and detect students who may fall behind.
A defined and speedy assessment strategy will aid report writing
With Bromcom MIS, the production of Primary School Reports can be automated and shared at a set time, on a given date. Reports run at regular intervals throughout the year, can then be used to inform the end of year report.
Viewing and referencing previous reports is easily performed within the integrated document management system, which teachers can access whenever they need to.
However, a substantial end of year report cannot just be based on collating records and banks of documents showcasing performance results. It should aim to portray a full and solid picture of the child teachers are writing about. For achieving this, teachers must use all the information available to them on their pupils.
Much of this information is only obtainable through good interpersonal relations between teachers, students and parents. A lot can be learned about a child through communicating with his or her parents, and not just that…
Through communication with families, teachers will also gain insight into how feedback is received and expressed, which will come in very handy when comments on school reports are written, because it will give teachers an idea of the most effective and appropriate tone to adopt.
Moreover, if parents have been regularly kept up to date with their children progress, they are less likely to react with surprise when receiving the final report and ask for further explanation from the school. Through the course of the year, frequent communication with parents must be kept.
Because Bromcom understands how important regular teacher-parent communications are and how these will aid report writing, the MIS includes a dedicated parent portal: MyChildAtSchool (MCAS).
How to write secondary school reports to parents
The same principles described above also apply to secondary schools, although the grading system and assessment tasks vary.
Another consideration to make is the age and experience of the students; they are more familiar with being assessed and receiving reports. This is not to say that teachers writing secondary school reports should be less sensitive, but they can afford to be more explicit and refer to exam results and internal assessments.
Grades are reported at the national level and appear on league tables, which the school publishes to showcase its students’ performance. Schools are often chosen by parents according to their performance on national league tables.
Here are some examples of how Bromcom can help with secondary school reports:
Bromcom’s Cloud-MIS for Secondary Schools also includes options for automating and scheduling regular reports.
As with the Primary School MIS, it integrates with MyChildAtSchool our Parental App, facilitating communication and report sharing with parents.
The latest school census data , published at the end of 2020, sees Bromcom confirm its place for the third consecutive year as the first choice of Cloud MIS provider for secondary schools across England and Wales).
Hasmonean High School in North London offers a great example of how schools can use Bromcom’s Assessment tools to easily, quickly and efficiently collect and store students’ assessment grades, marks, comments and other data that can serve to inform reports.
When asked how Bromcom had helped , Mr Oskis, the assistant data manager, said that the MIS was impressively useful for
“Generating parental reports which has been a huge help for us.”,
and added: “(I) Highly recommend the Assessment (Tool) because of its flexibility and the way that it caters specifically to the school’s needs, instead of following a strict structure.”
Would you like to know more about how we can help manage assessment?
This post’s intention was to provide some basic tips that may guide you when starting to write a school report. However, Bromcom can do so much more to help organise all your school’s data, including managing finances and supporting school improvement.
You can find more detailed information and explore all our tools on our website. And if you’d like to know more about us, just drop us a line or call us , we are always happy to help.
Written By Liza Adebisi
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Examples of Writing a School Report
Examples on writing school report, school report templates, pre school report card template, school incident report template, home school report card template, primary school report template, school progress report template, end of year school report template, school project report template, simple home school report card template, simple high school report card template, middle school report card template, school report card template, elementary school report card template, free blank preschool report card template, high school report card template, free simple school report template, free sample school report template, school progress report card template, school feasibility report template, free school board report template, free school annual report template, free school visit report template, free school incident report form template, what is a school report, tips for writing school reports, what are the common elements of a report, is a school report a transcript, how necessary are school reports.
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Teaching Report Writing is Easy! Fifteen Steps to Fantastic Research Reports!
by Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay | Teaching Elementary Writing , Teaching Middle School Writing , Teaching Report Writing
Research-based report writing requires that students organize information and ideas. That’s a critical component of what Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay teaches! After using Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay , your students will easily be ready for these “Fifteen Steps to Fantastic Research Reports!” It’s the foundation for what you read here!
The fifteen steps fall into seven categories of action:
A. Deciding on and Giving the Assignment
B. Researching Main Ideas and Sub-Topics
C. Outlining and Organizing
D. Researching for Facts
E. Writing the Report
F. Proofreading and Editing
G. Sharing and Displaying
As we move forward, be sure to focus on both the categories of action and the fifteen steps . Let’s get started!
A. Deciding on and Giving the Assignment
Step 1: Spend time on your computer outlining and creating the assignment. You may want to include a basic rubric that details how you will grade the report and what is required and expected. Give detailed directions on how you want your students to cite their sources, along with how you will determine what is plagiarism. Be sure to precisely discuss what the report must cover, along with the formal style that you expect. Give each student a printed copy of this assignment.
B. Researching Main Ideas and Sub-Topics
Step 2: Have students find sources of information for their subject: e.g., library, internet, encyclopedias, books, magazines, journals, textbooks, etc.
Step 3: Students now quickly skim and scan their resources to get a quick overview of their entire subject. Students must attempt to learn the information as they research the material. Writing the report in their own words is difficult to do if they don’t understand the content. Teach your students how to avoid plagiarism while they are young. When students learn the material as they research, it helps them to write their reports in their own words.
Step 4: Have students use a separate sheet of paper for each of their sources. At the top of each sheet of paper, have students write the bibliography information for that one source.
Step 5: Students now skim and scan each source while writing down important big-picture main ideas and main sub-topics. These big picture main ideas and main sub-topics are the ideas that your students believe they could build a report around. As students skim and scan and search for big-picture ideas, they should place a strong focus on headings, chapter titles, and the table of contents. Have your students write these ideas down in their own words by paraphrasing.
C. Outlining and Organizing
Step 6: Have students look over their sheets of paper that have all their big picture main ideas and sub-topics. Have them decide which main ideas and sub-topics they want to build their report around. Urge your students to learn the material as they research.
Step 7: Students now outline their report in a perfect puzzle of main ideas and sub-topics. In other words, they create an outline of what they want their report to focus on and communicate. It’s okay if they decide they need to change some of their main ideas and sub-topics as they continue to research their subject and write. The real writing process is recursive .
D. Researching for Facts
Step 8: Now, students research and take notes. They can continue to use the same sheets of paper that they have their main ideas on, or they can use an index card for each main idea or sub-topic. If your students use an index card with the main ideas, they need to be sure to mark which source they got their information from. Students do not write their notes in complete sentences. Have students write their notes in “Frankenstein Writing.” (Nile River – 4185 miles long – longest river in world.) It sounds like Frankenstein, doesn’t it? Frankenstein writing is fast! It also helps guarantee that your students write their reports in their own words.
E. Writing the Report
Step 9: Students now follow their outlines and use their notes to write their reports. Students can return to researching if they need to, but they may not have any book open while they write the report. Make sure that your students understand how to give credit to their sources of information. Students must also understand how to write a proper introduction, body, and conclusion for their report. If your students have not mastered this, be sure to check out Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay on the homepage!
Step 10: Students create a bibliography that gives credit to all of their sources of information.
F. Proofreading and Editing
Step 11: For proofreading and editing, teachers should give their students a short cooling-off period so that they will be able to look over all of their hard work objectively and with fresh eyes. If students hold off for 1-3 days, they will do a much better job.
Step 12: Students proofread and edit their reports.
Step 13: You may want to have your students rewrite their final report on a beautiful, clean white sheet of paper. This activity is not always a great use of time, but it is inspiring and motivating for students to see a fantastic final copy of their reports on display.
G. Sharing and Displaying
Step 14: Share! Have your students read their entire report to at least one other person. Also, you may want to have an “Author’s Chair” session where students can read a part of their report to the entire class.
Step 15: Display! There are many ways to display reports. You can put them up on the bulletin board. You may want to place them in a binder to create a class book. You can also have your students create a cover for their reports, and you can build a classroom library! You may also want to show them off when it’s time for back to school night, parent conferences, or open house. Consider all of these ideas before you send them home.
Fantastic report! Great job!
Be sure to read How to Teach the Real Writing Process ! You will get great ideas on how to bring this report-writing process to life at every stage of the writing process. And if your students still struggle with multi-paragraph writing, be sure to check out Pattern Based Writing: Quick and Easy Essay on the homepage!
Pattern Based Writing: Quick & Easy Essay
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How to Write a Report For Kids
From the first research project in grade school to more complex reports assigned in middle or high school, report writing is a process that some students struggle to master. Whether it's about a book, historical topic, scientific inquiry activity or another type of report, students can divide the assignment into prewriting, prep, writing and revising.
Explore this article
- Brainstorming and Research
- Write an Outline
- Introduction, Body and Conclusion
- Review the Report
1 Brainstorming and Research
There are times when a teacher gives a theme or topic, but expects students to come up with a specific focus on their own. For example, he may assign a report on great inventors of the 1800s, but not on a specific historical figure. If this is the case, or if you just need to narrow down the topic, begin with brainstorming and research. Brainstorm -- or list -- potential ideas. Review textbooks and library books and use the Web to research each potential topic before making a decision. Take and save notes while doing the research. Even though you won't use the notes from the topics that you didn't pick, it will save a step later when it comes to the focus that you do choose.
2 Write an Outline
Think of an outline as a road map that guides the flow of the paper. It should include everything that the report itself will include. For example, a book report outline may include the setting, characters, story sequence and the reader's own thoughts. A research report may include subheadings or subtopics that explain the theme or answer a question. If the topic is the plant life cycle, for instance, each subheading could include one aspect of growth, such as seed, sprout and bloom.
3 Introduction, Body and Conclusion
Start the report writing with an introduction. The first paragraph provides an outline for the rest of the paper, summarizing what the paper will say and why. After writing the introduction, expand upon each of the subtopics from the outline. Each section should include one or more paragraphs. For example, for a history report on George Washington, one section may have three paragraphs about his life before the presidency, the next section may have two paragraphs about his presidency and a third section may have two paragraphs about his impact on America. Students struggling to write sentences that make sense may have an easier time saying the words out loud first. At the end, conclude the report with a summary of the information presented.
4 Review the Report
With the introduction, body and conclusion done, the report is not necessarily finished. At this stage, you have a rough or first draft. Review the paper, reading it out loud. It can also help to have a friend or family member listen and read it as well. Ask if each idea is clear, whether the report follows a beginning-middle-end sequence and if it answers the paper's topic question. Make any changes that are needed.
- 1 Scholastic: Write a Winning Research Report
- 2 Kids.gov: How to Write a Book Report
About the Author
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.
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School Report Writing Tips I Wish I’d Known Earlier
Nothing will ever compare to that feeling of sheer joy when you find out you’re getting your first class, and then setting up your first ever classroom, and then walking into your first day of school. It reaffirms everything you’ve sacrificed to become a teacher; you’re filled with feelings of pride, and excitement, and mmm. Oh man, BFF, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it!
But then comes that sucker punch – that feeling of panic when reporting time rolls around. It has a way of sneaking up on you, of suddenly arriving on your doorstep and with it comes all those horror stories you’ve heard from other teachers about how hard and stressful writing student report comments will be.
There’s this term called ‘eat the frog,’ (maybe a little too visual in its description!) which is a productivity trick where you tackle that one item on your to-do list that you just have zero motivation or desire to do. That’s how I approached report writing for a long time – just ‘getting it done’ and hoping that I came out still resembling a human being on the other side, ha!
Reporting doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence! Keep reading for some tips on how to shift your school report writing mindset.
I picked up some effective report writing tips along the way that didn’t just make report writing tolerable, but actually enjoyable! It might not sound possible, but trust me friend – reports don’t have to always be your frog.
Write student report comments for parents, not other teachers
There’s something about writing reports that would always transport me back to my own school days, worrying about impressing the teacher and having to prove that I knew what I was talking about!
As much as documents like Improvement Plans and Lesson Plans do need to be written with your peers in mind – one of the most important school report writing tips I learned is that you’re writing for parents/carers!
Using teacher jargon and education department lingo are going to make it ten times harder for your students’ parents to actually understand how their child is progressing. Your feedback is super valuable for them, and keeping it simple is a way for you to build that rapport with the parent community at your school!
Stick to clear, easy to understand language that focusses on growth and development rather than getting too caught up in the curriculum.
Draw on past reports and use evidence for effective report writing
For end of year reports, it was such a lightbulb moment when realising these were effectively a sequel to those I’d written in the middle of the year! If that mid-year report was the last update your little learners’ parents received, it makes complete sense to pick up where you left off in the end of year report.
Keeping great records throughout the year will make things so much easier come reporting time!
Read through each student’s last report comments and pick out an area in which they’ve really grown in the time since. This will help to jog your memory and remember all the amazing ways that you’ve helped your students to progress this year!
Where you can, using any specific anecdotes or evidence also helps to make your reports more meaningful. Being able to refer to an example of how the student demonstrated a skill, worked towards a goal or improved their understanding also helps parents to understand their child’s progression!
Do future you a favour, and prepare for report writing throughout the school year! The resources in my Acing Assessment Bundle have been designed to help set you up for effective report writing, by making it easy to keep track of students’ progress. Get your bundle here .
Avoid relying too heavily on other’s school report writing tips
Okay, I know what you’re thinking… “Chantelle, you’re literally giving me school report writing tips right now!” But hear me out! What I mean by this is just to be wary of those report comment banks that promise to cut down your reporting time by 90%, or those gurus on social media who give you all the report writing tips you need in 60 seconds or less.
I learned over the years that report writing is just as individual of an activity as teaching – and that’s totally okay! As long as you’re ticking all the boxes when it comes to the Achievement Standards and your school’s expectations? Both how you write your reports and what you say in them is completely up to you. Whether you want to tackle student report comments one by one, or you want to fill in the class-level comments in all the reports before going back and adding in the individual comments – there’s no right or wrong way to approach this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, BFF!
You have worked *so* hard to get to where you are now, whether this is your first or fifth year teaching, and you’ve proven time and time again that you’re a capable and incredible person.
You’ve got this, friend! I hope these tips come in handy as you tackle your next student reports.
Looking for more assessment tips? I’ve got you covered, BFF! Check out some of my other blog posts for effective report writing below.
Assessment and Report Writing: 6 Tips to Help Teachers Prepare
Report Writing Must Haves
Got a lifesaving report writing tip of your own? Come tell all my BFFs in my Facebook Group !
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