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***Post written by Sarah Perkins, President and Membership Chair for WSPA***
I have recently improved my efficiency at report writing through some techniques, like using TheFormTool, but I still have not really addressed, in my own thinking, the existential question of reports. Why am I writing this? Who do I hope will benefit? Does it simply serve to clarify and organize my own thinking?
I began working at a secondary school for the first time last year and, as a result, I now view the reports from a variety of evaluation going back years. I almost never read the reports. I pull the numbers out for my file review and read the descriptions only if there is something unusual, like two cognitive assessments administered or widely discrepant scores. If I am not reading them, I doubt other school professionals are.
I think the most common argument would be that we write them for parents. But let’s be honest, the vast majority of reports are written in language that is not appealing or even accessible to many parents. Plus, we go over our results in the team meeting, where we can discuss links to other assessments, gauge parents’ understanding through nonverbal cues and questions, and have a discussion.
Given all of that, perhaps we only write reports because it is expected. If that is the case, then maybe, as suggested in a recent NASP Communities thread on the topic, it is okay to do “C” work. Or maybe we should rethink our approach to reports so they are shorter and more accessible. Or maybe simple summary that are included within the multidisciplinary evaluation paperwork are sufficient.
How do you much time do you spend on reports? Do you feel they contribute to the process? Do you have a way to structure your report that is more useful and accessible?