Unconventional Spreadsheets

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Produce Reports on Students Efficiently

Most teachers produce reports by roughly categorising similar ability students. This is not a bad thing, in fact it is practically necessary given the highly structured proformas that institutions use. The Rapid Reports system uses a spreadsheet to make this process consistent and efficient. It achieves this by eliminating the need to copy and paste comments between documents in a word processer and by formalising the levelling process.

The reporting workflow in Rapid Reports is as follows:

  1. Input standard student data (names, gender, punctuality data, grades etc).
  2. Create specific comments for areas of learning you define and for the ability levels you choose.
  3. For each student choose the levels from a drop down menu (with your choice of levels) for each area of learning.
  4. Copy the comments for each student into the document(s) you use to create reports (which are grouped into the categories you already defined). Or merge comments into the report proforma directly (once you have set it up for mail merge).
  5. Tweak each report by giving it a personal touch for each student.

The workflow takes place in one integrated spreadsheet. So why should you use a spreadsheet and not a dedicated computer application? Most teachers are familiar with spreadsheets so there is a smaller learning curve. Spreadsheets are also efficient to work with - for navigating around the document and data entry.
So why not focus your attention on writing great comments for reports that will get better each year as you tweak them? Let Rapid Reports do the tedious work of reconciling student data, ability levels and your comments to produce quality reports on your students.

A Time-Saving Investment

The first time you use Rapid Reports the process would take some getting used to and reports may not be produced much faster than usual. However, the above workflow describes what needs to be done the first time using the spreadsheet. In subsequent years comments may need tweaking but they won't need writing from scratch. It is at that point that real time savings are made!

Even though I have been using earlier iterations of this spreadsheet for my reports in the past (versions that paved the way for this release) I have seen hours of time savings each year – and that includes having spent time each year further developing my system.

In the first year your reports should be completed slightly faster than normal, even though you would have to set up the spreadsheet with your comments. In subsequent years report writing could take as little as 30% of the normal time you spend.

This is what Rapid Reports is all about ...