It’s important for the reports to be in good shape when they go out to students and their parents. They need to convey information clearly and accurately, to present a professional image of the school, and to give parents and students the confidence that the school is providing high-quality education. They also serve as a permanent record of individual results and progress that the school can refer to in the future.
There are some things that just have to be right:
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Student name: the correct name with the correct spelling
- Use of he/she, him/her
- Use of official terminology
- Use of commonly confused words (compliment/complement, practice/practise)
There are other things that might need to be corrected, depending on the school’s style preferences (a style guide will help with this). Here are just a few of them:
- Subject names and capitalisation
- Consistency in terminology
- Shortened forms of student names
- Style of writing: formal/informal
That’s a lot of things to check! And because student reports are such an important part of a school’s communication process, it’s essential to have a second pair of eyes to make sure everything’s correct.
There are a couple of different approaches. Some schools have a member of staff whose job it is to read all the reports before they’re issued. The advantage is that they’re on hand to proofread whenever required, and they have inside knowledge of the school’s activities.
Other schools choose to use an external professional proofreader – someone who has the time and expertise to check all aspects of the reports according to the school’s schedule. Proofreaders apply their professional skills and experience to the task, including using various tools to improve accuracy and consistency. They can dedicate time to the reports, rather than fitting them in around other school duties. Working closely with a school, they’ll quickly become familiar with the requirements, while remaining objective. They can also help the school to develop a style guide if one doesn’t already exist.
If you’d like to find out more about how professional proofreaders work with a school, you can read this personal account of a successful proofreading partnership.