Report writing tip to improve productivity

Writing student comments for reports can be time consuming and repetitive. I’ve introduced a formula in Microsoft Excel to speed this process up for myself. The idea is to use student data from the relevant assessment tasks to produce a glossary of words or performance descriptors that can be used to describe that student’s performance in the task. The performance descriptors that I’ve used this year are a standardised set of words approved by my school.

Sample Performance Descriptors

Percentage Range Performance Descriptors
Above 90% Outstanding
80% – 89% Excellent, Assured
70% – 79% Very Good, Very Pleasing
65% – 69% Good, Pleasing
50% – 65% Sound, Satisfactory
40% – 49% Below Expectations, Lower Than Expected
Less than 39% Well Below Expectations, Poor


Example of the Excel formula

=IF(C2>=0.9*C$9,”outstanding”,IF(C2>=0.8*C$9, “excellent/assured”, IF(C2>=0.7*C$9, “very good, very pleasing”, IF(C2>=0.65*C$9, “good, pleasing”, IF(C2>=0.5*C$9, “sound, satisfactory”, IF(C2>=0.4*C$9,”below expectations, lower than expected”, IF(C2<=0.39*C$9,”well below expectations/poor”)))))))

Click below to download a sample copy of how I set out my Excel document prior to writing reports.

Sample Excel Spreadsheet with Performance Descriptors


Example of a student report comment

Belinda is an enthusiastic student who has worked well in the second semester of Science. She has assured research and processing skills as evident from her excellent Processing Task result. Her performance in the Mid Year Examination was very pleasing and reflects her very good knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts. To improve, Belinda should practise a range of examination style questions and seek teacher assistance outside of class time.



The formula has been very helpful to me this year. It has definitely sped up my report writing. The report writing process at my present schools has become increasingly rigid and hence using this tool has been beneficial as it allows for the formation of generic statements.

For each class, a few adjustments need to be made to the formula within the Excel spreadsheet mainly due to varying class numbers. Another adjustment that I made occurred when the class data from an assessment task was positively skewed and the percentage ranges needed to cater for this. Overall, the adjustments were minor.


Future Direction

My next step is to create a program to generate report comments through a series of prompts. There may be some difficulties with the final sentence of the comment, which generally refers to areas of improvement for a student. Recommendations for improvement require teachers to analyse of students’ assessment tasks, however, it can be a generic statement.


Let me know you do that improves your productivity. 🙂



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