PROFESSIONAL REPORT WRITING IDTA LONDON MEETING 2014 TERMS OF REFERENCE You are all examiners who have a wealth of knowledge in a range of areas of dance You have been working in the dance business for many years The change in structure to the examination process has meant the development of a uniformity of practice needed across all areas To be able to do this we are going to explore together the dif ferent aspects of the process My knowledge in this area comes from creating, developing and analysing reports for 20 years This is a two way process and I am learning as well as giving advice, so please feel free to interject and to make points if you feel they are appropriate WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A REPORT A report is a statement of the results of an investigation or of any matter on which definite information is required The statement in this case will focus on – DEMONSTRATIONUNDERTANDING AND APPLICATION OF THEORY – THE ABILIT Y TO TEACH THE SUBJECT- SOFT SKILLS (Presentation, Communication etc.) What kinds of underpinning investigative terms are used in this type of professional report – TECHNICAL – KNOWLEDGE OF THE AREA – ST YLE – PROJECTION – COMPETENCY – EXPERIENCE - ETC HOUSEKEEPING A report should be written in the third person avoiding words such as “I”, “we” and “you”. It should be logical The tense should be regularised in the past (The candidate showed a high level of ability in….) The report is feeding back to the candidate, the exam board and the teacher/coach and thus should not be personalised The report should always be constructive Never trust a spell check unless you have changed it to English from American English as it will not pick up certain terms used Avoid words like nice, and good as they are meaningless and do not attribute a value. Appropriate must be used in conjunction with some form of theoretical advice Use a Thesaurus to find alternative words THE EXAMINATION MODEL Knowledge and understanding Application in context Competence Ability Stylistic integrity WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE REPORT OBJECTIVITY AND NOT SUBJECTIVITY THE REPORT STRUCTURE CONTENT STYLE CONSISTENCY WRITING ST YLE Have you used clear and concise language? Are your sentences short and jargon free? Have you used the correct technical terms for the level examined? Are your paragraphs tightly focused? Have you used the active or passive voice in the same way throughout the report? It is not appropriate in a report to use colloquialisms e.g. “singing from the same hymn sheet” or “at the end of the day” etc. WHAT THE REPORT IS NOT ABOUT Trivia Non dance related activity The way the candidate looks, (apart from grooming) e.g. the candidate has nice hair Personal remarks about the candidates attributes, e.g. weight Making assumptions THESE TYPES OF COMMENTS ADD NO VALUE AS THIS IS NOT WHAT THEY ARE BEING EXAMINED ON WHAT THE REPORT IS ABOUT A balanced investigation, which clarifies the terms of reference for the examination The use of a range of terms that will be helpful in both understanding the result and to help with preparation for future examinations The whole experience should be both examination and preparation and it is a two way experience e.g. a constructive and critical appraisal not a discussion of what was presented WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE A SUBJECTIVE UNIFORMIT Y IN THE REPORT To ensure that each time that a candidate receives a report they are getting a balanced examination To ensure that the money that they are paying for their examination is thought to be good value To prepare the candidate for their next examination OBJECTIVITY MEANS THAT YOU STICK TO THE FORMAT AND DO NOT MAKE PERSONAL REMARKS IN REGARD TO THE CANDIDATE THEATRE BRANCH CONFIGURATION Theatre Branch Examination 20% Technical Knowledge etc. Choreographic Skills etc Presentation & Communication 20% 60% BALLROOM BRANCH CONFIGURATION Ballroom Branch Examination 25% 25% Demonstration Solo Demonstration Teaching Ability Theory 25% 25% PRACTICAL ANOMALY AREA 100% SOLO DEMONSTRATION 100% TEACHING ABILITY 100% TECHNIQUE 100% KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION Examination Time KEY POINTERS When marking out of 100% it can be very dif ficult and time consuming however, if you identify the following areas it can be much easier Create objective categories Break up the main chunks Identify a marking framework Utilise anchor points Over time this becomes second nature THE WHITE SPACE CONUNDRUM REDUCTION OF COMPATIBILIT Y 45% Examiner 1 Examiner 2 Likelihood of Compatibility 10% Examiner 1 Likelihood of Compatibility Examiner 2 THE EXCELLENCE SCALE DESCRIPTION ANALYSIS & APPRAISAL CRITICAL ANALYSIS & APPRAISAL CONSIDERING THE REPORT AS A WHOLE There are a number of sections in the report that are not mutually exclusive – For example – Demonstration – Theory – Teaching ability and - portfolio All of these elements are linked as the understanding of the theory will be demonstrated and will come out through their ability to teach and may be reproduced in the portfolio. Thus by using the examination as an holistic tool you as examiners can give a more rounded assessment of the subject The report must refer to the mandatory sections of the examination POOR COMMENTS ON THE FORM Too little information creates uncertainty and a feeling of being short changed – Good portfolio with information and photographs Very factual but has absolutely no indication for the candidate why the mark was given or how to improve on their mark The majority of questions were answered correctly and the candidate had obviously studied very hard Again factual but does not state which areas were weak and which were strong and the sentence ending does not make any sense. Nice hair, nice smile and the candidate has a very nice personality What relevance has this? WELL PREPARED COMMENTS ON THE FORM Comprehensive comments A very expressive and rhythmical performance showing a strong use of syllabus figures. For even more progression the candidate must work to lock the supporting leg during the backward walks and allow the last backward walk during some figure work to complete the action in full. Otherwise excellent work at this level WELL PREPARED COMMENTS ON THE FORM The candidate shows an excellent understanding of technique at this level with most pleasing ideas for teaching this work throughout. Faults and their correction were confidently discussed and pleasing and additional exercises to aid the development of strength and flexibility were offered. Anatomy has been studied and applied to discussions on the exercises arranged. The importance of good posture and the ability to alter this to create character style was explored. An excellent portfolio of work was presented. WHAT IS IT REALLY ABOUT? This is not about the amount of comments but the quality of the feedback and the enablement of the candidate to cross reference reports year on year White space does not look good It is about giving the candidate a feeling that the examiner is interested, showed them the courtesy of giving them some feedback and was there to help them in their dance career A caring comment at the end may go down well but beware of too much personalisation CONSIDERATION – COMPETENCY - CARING WAYS TO IMPROVE A REPORT Create intended learning outcomes Checklists Electronic format Level descriptors Support website Report writing sessions for new examiners Taking out the issues of bad practice ANY QUESTIONS?