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Reporting in plain language for writing


The essential purpose of writing is to make meaning, with the specific purpose of writing determining the process and how the meaning is created. When reporting in plain language in writing the teacher is likely to provide information that supports this purpose by including information about the student’s ability to write, including planning, revising, publishing, and their ability to use writing for a variety of purposes across the curriculum. As described in the Literacy Learning Progressions, students use their writing to think about, record, and communicate ideas and experiences, and it is the purpose of writing that determines the writing process. In the early years, there is a focus on students getting their ideas and experiences down on paper. To do so they need to begin encoding (spelling) words. In the later years once students can encode fluently, their writing becomes more complex and specialised.

Reporting in plain language can be challenging for teachers as we use complex education language so routinely. In addition, as students progress through school, their writing and the tasks with which they engage become more complex.

The following tables provide examples of ‘education language’, the language teachers use routinely, and then how this might be rephrased as plain language. Teachers gather a range of information when forming an overall teacher assessment judgement and there are many resources, such as The New Zealand Curriculum, Reading and Writing Standards, the Literacy Learning Progressions, and the English Language Progressions, that provide characteristics of the stages students move through. The examples follow a broad progression from after one year at school until the end of year 8. In writing, a written report comment is likely to cover:

  • the student’s ability to write (including planning, revising, publishing) and their ability to use writing for a variety of purposes across the curriculum.
Written Report Comments - Writing
Level Education language Rephrased as plain language
After one year at school 

Creates texts in a range of contexts.



  • is a keen writer who loves writing about insects and what he does in the weekend
  • can write several sentences on his own
  • is making good progress learning how to use capital letters and full stops
  • has had extra help from home with writing on the line, and is very proud of his progress with forming letters
  • is working above the expected National Standard (archived) for his year level.

Encodes words using a developing knowledge of morphology.



  • has achieved the standard expected of students at her year level
  • learned many basic words and uses these in her writing
  • refers to the word charts in our classroom to check for accuracy
  • is learning to hear and write the sounds at the end of words.
After two years at school
  • Uses planning strategies to organise ideas and turn ideas into connected sentences.
  • Sam continues to make fast progress and is a keen writer. He plans his work well, and groups his ideas. He likes writing about topics we have studied and thinks carefully about the choice of words he uses. He is well above the standard for his year level. His next step is to vary the beginning of his sentences using time language like ‘next’, ‘after’, and ‘later’. 
  • Uses simple sentences, and some ideas that relate to our curriculum topic.
  • D’Jon has made extra progress with his writing this term with support from Mrs Green in class. He is now attempting to write the sounds he hears in new words. While D’Jon needs support from adults to plan his work, and then to start writing, once underway he is able to write some interesting sentences. He likes writing about science activities. He is at the standard expected for his year.     

After three years at school


  • Uses increasingly specific adjectives and more precise nouns and verbs.
  • Roshan is now working above the National Standard (archived) for his year. He chooses good ideas to write about and uses exciting words to make his writing interesting. He spells most words correctly. His next step is to tell what happens next and add a bit more information. 
  • Uses visual language features to support meaning.


  • is keen to write
  • enjoys writing labels for pictures
  • thinks about the stories she reads and asks questions.
  • makes up interesting titles for her poems
  • is not yet meeting the National Standard (archived) expected for her year.

Freya’s next step is to use correct spelling and punctuation.

By the end of Year Four
  • Creates content relevant to the curriculum task.


  • works hard at writing and takes great pride in publishing work
  • is able to make a story plan using pictures.
  • sometimes needs support to write his ideas down on paper, and it helps if I do this for him as he says them
  • is not yet achieving the standard.

His next step is to choose the ideas to include, by himself.

  • Can create a variety of texts in order to record and communicate ideas and information across  the curriculum.
  • Ana listened to the kōrero of the kaumātua when they visited and, using photos of the urupā, wrote and published a really interesting account of their stories. She made her writing interesting by adding exciting words. Her writing is on her blog, and whānau and Ana’s classmates have left many positive comments.  Ana is above the expected standard for her year. She has decided her next step is to research and write about whānau from the past.
By the end of Year Five
  • Uses writing as an interactive tool for learning.


  • is making strong progress with meeting the goal of writing sentences that give a good finish to her work. Her next step is to work on titles
  • communicates feelings of her characters very well through her word choice, and writing plays for the class to perform in drama
  • is working at the National Standard (archived) for year five students.

Content is relevant to the curriculum task.



  • is making great progress with her editing and proof-reading
  • presented well described research work - a good example of the extra effort she is making
  • was a member of the year book team, and writes for enjoyment
  • has met the standard appropriate for her year
  • is next working on writing articles to suit different readers.
Special needs Student

Encodes words using a beginning knowledge of morphology.


  • Henry has met most of the goals in his learning plan. He can now write all of the letters in his first name. He is very proud that he is now learning to write the letters in his surname and is making good progress with this goal. He works with his teacher aide in the afternoon and they enjoy working on the Ladder computer programme. He is pleased that he can use this programme on his own. 
By the end of Year Six
  • Knowledge and skills of diverse phoneme-grapheme relationships and spelling rules and conventions


  • is working toward the end of year 9 National Standard (archived) and testing shows that she is a very capable student
  • has not made as much progress this year as in previous years as discussed at our meeting; her lateness is still a concern
  • is school spelling bee champion – she has a sound understanding of most spelling rules
  • really enjoys science and her writing in this subject is thoughtful.
  • Can independently write texts, choose language and structures appropriate for their audience.
  • Amereta is a careful worker who likes to spend a great deal of time planning her work, so it is good to see the success she has had with a faster pace. She is very close to meeting the end of year 5 standard. Amereta has made a good start on her next goal of using exciting words in the pamphlet she is designing for her market stall.  

By the end of Year Seven



  • Thinks critically about work and can generate and answer questions that meet the learning purposes of the curriculum.
  • This year I understand how to use metaphor and rhetorical questions in my writing. This has helped my poetry and narrative writing. I have worked hard at being clear and to the point when I have written my research reports. I have tried to have a formal tone in my science writing and will need to keep working on this. I am working towards the end of year 8 National Standard (archived).

Can interpret abstract ideas, complex plots and sophisticated themes.



  • has excellent ideas for his writing. He is able to plan a piece of writing and put ideas in sections. He writes about exciting adventures, with interesting conclusions
  • illustrates his tech class writing using clearly drawn graphics
  • is working at the standard for his year.

In English class Iosua is a kind, hardworking and respectful student - Malo lava Iosua mo le alualu i luma o lana galuega i le aoga.

By the end of Year Eight
  • Able to evaluate aspects of work in science and technology.
  • Karl chooses relevant facts to write about and links his facts carefully. He has identified that his next step is to bring together different pieces of information from his research then create his own work from these. He can identify and discuss the many improvements he has made this year. He is above the National Standard (archived) for his year.

Linking ideas within and between paragraphs.




  • has built on the progress he made last year and is very proud that he has now achieved the year 7 standard.
  • writes with imagination and has ideas that interest his readers
  • is working on getting his paragraphs to flow on sensibly
  • wants to next improve his wording in graphic design projects.