WRITING THE ClASS REPORT Session Objectives By the end of the session, participants will be able to: • Describe the purpose of the final report • Describe the report writing timeline • Identify effective note-taking strategies • Identify and demonstrate best practices in ClASS report writing Purpose of the Report (1) 1. Documents an objective gap analysis – Lists strengths and weaknesses – Details findings and recommendations – Informs work plan Purpose of the Report (2) 2. Collects and organizes information from local level 3. Facilitates a process for funders and partners to jointly determine readiness and ensure a successful and sustainable transition of programs to local leadership 4. Provides funders and partners with a capacity assessment of the programs they support 5. Identifies existing technical assistance needs and available resources to address those needs 6. Enables technical and organizational strengthening Report Components 1. Table of contents 2. Acknowledgements 3. Acronyms 6. Capacity building considerations 7. Site report(s) 4. Executive summary 8. Capacity building workplan 5. ClASS assessment findings 9. Participant list Report Writing Timeline Note-taking A good report is only as good as the notes we take! www.classtoolkit.org Note-taking Strategies (1) 1. Expand your notes as soon as possible 2. Write on the ClASS tool 3. Co-conduct interview if possible 4. Leave space to expand notes later 5. Take notes strategically 6. Use shorthand www.classtoolkit.org Note-taking Strategies (2) 6. Use quotation marks for direct quotes 7. Use initials to distinguish interviewee comments from yours 8. Distinguish what is confidential 9. Cover a wide range of observations www.classtoolkit.org Note-taking Strategies (3) 10.Be sure to take detailed notes during team debriefs as well so that any changes are captured and make their way into the final report. Expanding your Notes • Schedule time to expand notes • Expand your shorthand to sentences • Compose descriptive narrative from shorthand and key words • Identify any questions for follow-up • Review expanded notes and add final comments How to Improve? (1) • Question: What are the necessary resources to support the distance learning activity? • Notes: Staff, computers and an appropriate space. How could these notes be improved? How to Improve? (2) • Question: Has there been participant drop out in the distance learning activity? Why or why not? • Notes: Yes, some due to staff changes. How could these notes be improved? Integrity in Your Work • Cite your sources. • Try to put everything in your own words. • Do not cut and paste findings and recommendations. • Pay close attention to job titles that differ slightly between programs or schools. Ask for clarification if necessary. • Use quotation marks when quoting directly. Large Group Exercise Regarding the NOA, the grantee explained that its financial policies prohibit expenditures of grant funds until all conditions have been lifted. [The University] has significant reserves and, therefore, is able to support the cash needs of [The program] by paying advances first and only drawing federal funds after the conditions have been lifted. [The University] generally allows its funds to be used only for ongoing activities until the NOA is finalized. In these instances payroll continues for existing employees for example, but new hires are not permitted; subcontracts are not signed, etc. A delay in resolving conditions or in finalizing the budget can result in a delayed start for planned activities and unspent funds. Small Group Exercise Report Writing Exercise Best Practices (1) • Type up your notes each evening. • Write your findings and recommendations in report format. This will be useful for the debrief, work plan and report. • Avoid using names; use job titles instead. • Avoid writing in the first person. • Make specific recommendations for greatest impact. Best Practices (2) • Include verification information to substantiate findings. • Ensure that language and detail reflect whether recommendations are grant requirements or simply good practice. • Keep sentences concise. • Follow observations by conclusions. • Avoid the use of phrases such as “It appears…” or “It is unclear…” • Observations should be substantiated during the assessment, and processes used for confirmation and verification should be documented in the report. Key Points • The primary purpose of the ClASS report is to produce an objective gap analysis detailing findings and recommendations • To collect the most accurate and relevant information, type up your notes as soon as possible and use your own words. • Specific recommendations have the potential to make the greatest impact. • Integrity is of utmost importance in writing the ClASS report. Ask for clarification if needed. • A step-by-step report writing timeline and writing guides are available to you on www.classtoolkit.org. QUESTIONS?