The Real Fast Reports Blog

Should Teachers Use AI to Write School Reports?

This is an interesting question with many facets to it.

This article concerns the general use of AI to write school reports. If you are thinking of using ChatGPT to write school reports READ THIS FIRST.

Here are some advantages of using AI to write school reports:

  • it saves lots of time
  • it helps you write rich, personalised reports
  • it reduces the chance of mistakes
  • you can build up reports bit by bit over time

However, there are also disadvantages and concerns around using AI to write school reports:

  • how can the AI know my students?
  • does AI do a good job of writing reports?
  • is student information safe?
  • why should teachers use AI if students cannot?

Let's take a look at the disadvantages and concerns first.

How can the AI know my students?

Spoiler alert: it can't! Right now AI is not capable of reading our minds (thankfully), so if an AI is going to help you write a report about a student, it's going to need some information. With Real Fast Reports you provide brief bullet points, like this:

  • excellent progress this term
  • participates well in class
  • gave a great presentation about renewable energy

The AI uses this info to write a report in fluent prose, inserting the student's name and gender pronouns automatically. This saves lots of time, especially since bullet points can easily be reused for other students.

The AI does not know your students, so the quality of the report depends on the quality of the information in the bullet points. As they say, "Garbage In, Garbage Out".

Does AI do a good job of writing reports?

Yes - the quality of AI writing is high. Recent developments mean that AI is now capable of writing so well that it's hard or even impossible to distinguish from a human.

If you provide accurate, meaningful comments (even in very brief shorthand) then AI can turn these into clear, personalised, well-written reports. AI is not perfect - in some cases it misinterprets comments (e.g. if they are ambiguous) so it is essential that the output is carefully proofread.

One important concern about AI report writing tools is their potential to be biased (e.g. on the basis of gender or race). At Real Fast Reports we've taken steps to minimise bias in our AI - read more about bias here.

Is student information safe?

This is a significant concern when entering student information. Key questions include:

  • where is the site/company registered?
  • where do they store and process data?
  • do they comply with privacy legislation?

Real Fast Reports Ltd is registered in England and our data servers are in Ireland. We are registered with the ICO and you can see our Data Processing Agreement here.

We use OpenAI (the same people who made ChatGPT) to turn bullet points to prose. We take steps to pseudonymise all data sent to OpenAI, e.g. by replacing students' names.

Why should teachers use AI if students cannot?

The premise of the question is actually false. Despite initial resistance, many schools, universities and examination boards are allowing students to use AI.

Even if there are some situations where students are not permitted to use AI, we do not think that it is hypocritical for teachers to use AI to help write school reports. Whether AI should or should not be used depends on the context of each application - the use of AI should not be a blanket "YES" or "NO" question.

So, those are some reasons against using AI. Here's more detail on some advantages:

It saves lots of time

On average it takes teachers 1-2 minutes to write each report with Real Fast Reports. This represents a huge time saving when compared to other methods of report writing.

A set of reports that might typically take a whole weekend can now be written in a few hours.

We have also introduced a proofreading system for schools which uses the school's style guide to automatically highlight mistakes, saving significant amounts of time in the proofreading and correction process.

It helps you write rich, personalised reports

Real Fast Reports includes a smart, searchable comment bank that is built up from all the bullet points you have written.

Instead of copy-pasting entire reports from one student to another, Real Fast Reports lets you reuse individual bullet points with one click.

So you benefit from the speedup of reusing previous comments, but each report is still totally personalised and unique.

It reduces the chance of mistakes

It's common for teachers to copy and paste between reports to save time, but this can result in incorrect names or gender pronouns. This is embarrassing for the teacher and unpleasant for students and parents.

Real Fast Reports automatically inserts the correct name and pronouns for each student, and also corrects most spelling and grammar mistakes.

You can build up reports bit by bit over time

A great feature of Real Fast Reports is that you can add bullet points for a student at any time. This has two significant benefits.

By adding bullet points frequently you ensure that your reports contain accurate information. That way you don't forget important achievements or feedback in the end-of-term rush.

Furthermore, by building up content over time you eliminate the last-minute rush of report writing. When your report deadline nears the hard work has already been done - at a click of a button your reports are generated.

Conclusion - Should teachers use AI to write school reports?

Using AI to help write school reports can result in huge time savings for teachers and better reports for parents and students. There are privacy and bias risks which must be weighed carefully, but at Real Fast Reports we're confident that we minimise these risks.

If you think AI could help your reports, try Real Fast Reports today and see how much time you can save!

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How Do We Reduce Risk?

At Real Fast Reports, we help teachers write better reports in less time using AI.

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Here's an example…

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