Students can be asked to write a report about a project they’ve worked on, a field trip or a laboratory experiment. Reports can be written over the course of a module, being added to and fed back on each week as formative assessment, or a larger report can be written at the end of a project. Media can be incorporated to illustrate and strengthen the report.

If modelled around authentic forms drawn from the discipline (for example, a standard research lab report, business report or research project report) can improve student engagement in the process, as they can see the real world application.

Workload guide

Preparation time Low Student workload High Marking time High

Literacies and skills exhibited

  • Developing arguments, reflecting, evaluating and assessing
  • Collecting data, searching and managing information sources, observing and interpreting
  • Being self-directed, managing time and tasks
  • Written communication and presentation skills
  • Researching, investigating, interpreting and organising information


Criteria can developed using models from authentic contexts (eg. R&D lab assessments, business plans, research grant review), and should focus on all aspects of the report (content, research, argument, presentation/structure etc.).


Formative feedback can be provided on drafts or sections during production; feedback on the final submission can model authentic forms (panel or peer review feedback, for example).

Case studies

Formative assessment to improve report writing, Newcastle University


Guide to time involved in preparation, marking, and student workload:  Low Low  Medium Medium  High High

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