Who proofreads the student reports in your school? As a teacher, do you need to check reports you’ve written yourself? Or are you in charge of proofreading all the reports for a form or year group?
If the reports are in a suitable format (including Word and Excel), it’s a good idea to run a spellcheck to make sure there are no typos in the reports before they’re sent out. But there are some mistakes that spellcheck won’t be able to find. This happens when you accidentally type another word that’s also in the dictionary.
For example, if you meant to type ‘from’, spellcheck will underline ‘fomr’ but it won’t pick up on ‘form’, because form is a valid word. You might notice the error as you’re reading through, but if you’re checking a whole set of fairly similar teacher comments, you could easily miss it: your brain wants you to see the word that you expect to see, not the one that’s really there.
So, what can you do to catch those kinds of momentary slips?
One way to pick up on these mistakes is to use the ‘Find’ tool in Microsoft Word. Before you start reading the reports, search for words that you know are often mistyped, such as those containing very similar letters. Then you can check each instance to make sure the right word has been used for each context.
Here are some of the mistyped pairs that we’ve often found when checking school reports for School Proof. You could use this checklist as a start and add any others you find as you go along.
In this first list, the word on the right is usually correct in school reports. (Check each context carefully, though – for example, the RS teacher won’t be talking about Jesus and his disciplines!)
And here are some pairs where either word may be correct, depending on the context.
Make sure you search for each word in each pair, because which one is right will depend on the context. You could also search for acronyms that are often mistyped, such as ‘GSCE’ instead of ‘GCSE’ – spellcheck won’t pick up on these unless you add them to the dictionary.
Speeding up the checks