Dear busy speech therapists: Do you want to SAVE TIME when writing evaluation reports?
Evaluations and paperwork take up the majority of a speech therapist’s precious time. With that said, reports need to be professional and completed correctly. Did you know that this does NOT mean that you have to give up an entire weekend of your time to write an evaluation? It’s time to have a plan to make this a speedier and easier process. I spent 7 years on the evaluation team for my district doing 80-100 evals each year. This is in addition to my regular caseload therefore I had to find the most efficient ways to complete my assessments.
Here are 8 of my favorite TIME SAVING tips for writing an evaluation report:
#1-Use an app to calculate chronological age
#2-Parent Intake Questionnaire
Next, always have parents and guardians complete an intake questionnaire. Here is the most important part of this though: have them complete this digitally in a google document. This makes it easy to copy and paste their answer into the report. Sometimes parents have a lot to say about their child and this is a HUGE time saver. Simply create a google doc questionnaire and make a new copy to easily email to parents and guardians each time.
#3-Do intake interview first so you narrow down what to actually test
Always do the intake interview FIRST. This way you are not testing in any areas that a student has strengths in.
#4-Test Description Banks
There are many different types of evaluations that SLPs use. When writing the evaluation report, it is best to give a brief description of the test that is used. Have these description banks ready in a word document, able to insert or copy/ paste.
#5-Use Academic Impact Statements/Classroom Accommodations Banks
If you can come up with a “bank” of academic impact statements and classroom accommodations, you will be surprised how much time this will save you.
Here are some examples of academic impact statements:
XXX demonstrates speech sound difficulties significantly below that of same-aged peers. Students in kindergarten, who are six years old, are expected to use the /K/, /G/, /F/, and /V/ sounds accurately. XXX’s speech sound errors interfere with the ability to isolate and pronounce the initial and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (CVC) words. This impacts XXX’s fluency in conversational speech.
XXX demonstrates difficulty using complete sentences of adequate length, and with accurate use of pronouns and grammatical forms when compared to same-age peers. Students in kindergarten are expected to use four or more words in a sentence and use pronouns and grammatical forms correctly (regular plural –s, regular past tense –ed, and uncontractible copula). XXX’s weaknesses in oral expression cause difficulty using frequently occurring nouns and verbs, and producing and expanding complete sentences in shared language activities.
I’ve shared tons of these here on my website. You can find more examples of paperwork shortcuts and tips like this here! Just modify to fit your needs and make your own bank.
#6-Use the find/replace tool in Word
Another tip is to use fill-in-the-blank statements throughout your report. For example, use ABCNAME, XYZDATE and HIS/HER throughout the report and then simply use the find/replace tool in Word to complete the statement with the child’s name, date and gender quickly.
#7-Jot down IEP goals during the evaluation
While you are evaluating a student, everything is fresh in your memory. One thing that helps to save time later is to jot down any IEP goals that you might think of for the student during the evaluation process. This helps to easily write the IEP when it is time.
#8-Put in all the statements you will need later
Any statements that you might need later when writing the IEP can easily be copied and pasted into the Evaluation Report. I like to do this by writing student interests into the report as well as the educational impact statement. (I might use a tad different wording but this way I easily have this information for writing the IEP at a later date).
Ready to write speedy evaluation reports?
After every evaluation you give, try to score the assessment immediately. That is the only time that this information will be fresh in your mind, as you may forget things later. Simply build this into part of your testing session time. This way, when you go to write the report later, you aren’t also spending time scoring it.
My final time saving tip for writing evaluations would be to set an amount of time that you want to spend actually writing the report. For me, 45 minutes is usually the sweet spot. Then, set the timer and really focus and zone in without distractions. (This means you may need to hide your phone and close your office door!)
Comment below and tell me all of your time saving tips for completing evaluation reports!
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