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The Four-Step Process by Jeff Moody

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I would like to expand a little on the "learning opportunity" approach to testing/evaluation, as I strongly believe that every evaluation (SAP or SE) must be an opportunity to learn what your weaknesses are in your writing AND transcription. I would like to write specifically about how every SAP CAN become a learning opportunity. I like to call it the "Four-Step Process" of taking an SAP. If you omit any one step, the learning cannot occur.

Step 1: Listen to the audio of the SAP entirely from beginning to end. So often I learn that students will hesitate during an SAP and choose not to write the SAP all the way to the end because they know they did not get it. "Getting" an SAP should not be the objective, as this is a pass/fail approach. Progressing on one's percentage of transcription accuracy from one SAP to the next should always be the objective—progressing, progressing, progressing.

Students must teach themselves and learn how to focus on writing completely from beginning to end. If you don't, you are perfecting hesitation and not passing, instead of progressing and learning how to refocus during your writing. This is a learned process. In the real world of writing, you will never be able to tell the judge or attorney that you did not get that last question and request the proceeding start over. Start teaching yourself to force your focus on writing from beginning to end, regardless of how well you think you are doing.

Step 2: Transcribe every SAP evaluation that you have attempted. Again, how many SAPs have you listened to and felt that because you did not get it, you were not going to transcribe it? This is, again, focusing on passing and failing. Students must learn how to transcribe what they wrote from beginning to end. They must learn how to figure out what they wrote correctly, what they wrote incorrectly, and what they dropped. In the real world of reporting, when a reporter is asked to transcribe the deposition they wrote three weeks ago, the reporter will not be able to tell the attorney that they are not going to transcribe it because they did not get parts of what the witness was saying. You must learn how to transcribe what you have in your notes. If you don't complete Step 1, you will never have an opportunity to ever get to Step 2. Begin teaching yourself to transcribe everything you write.

Step 3: Submit every transcription to see your graded results. You must see what your errors are in your transcription so you can learn what you need to focus on in your future practice sessions. Your errors are your weaknesses; and like any skill you are trying to get better at, you must turn your weaknesses into strengths to progress in your skill. How will you ever see specifically what your weaknesses are if you never submit your transcription? Again, if you don't complete Step 1 or Step 2, you will never have the opportunity to complete Step 3.

It is also critical for you to save the three output documents that are available after you see your graded results. The GSF document allows you to see your sentences with errors. This can be a helpful straight-copy practice tool. The GSW document will allow you to see the steno strokes for your blue dropped word errors in your transcription. Lastly, the Save Worksheet is your opportunity to evaluate yourself by completing the self evaluation chart. Many students think that this worksheet is only necessary to create for their weekly Self-evaluation Worksheet (Submit) assignment. Not true :-). This is your tool to evaluate yourself, and you should save one for every evaluation you submit, SAP and SE. We only want you submitting one per week so we can see if you are evaluating yourself correctly and so we can learn about how your are doing. So by the end of the week you should have at least 10 SE worksheets saved to your computer. They all should have been completed. And when it comes time to submit to the weekly assignment, you should choose the worksheet with the most errors.

Step 4: This is the most critical step in the four-step process. By completing Step 3, you have now provided your instructor the opportunity to become involved in helping you. By submitting your SAP, your instructor is now part of the learning process. They now have the opportunity to see your graded transcription and provide valuable audio feedback as your evaluation goes through the grading process. There are a couple of things you can do to assist your instructor in providing more valuable feedback.

Type an informative text note at the time of submitting. Don't type the evaluation number, a smiley face, etc. This is of no value to your instructor. Type a note to your instructor as if you were having a conversation in her office. Share with your instructor your experience of writing and transcribing the evaluation. After you see your graded results, record an audio message to your instructor. Again, this is your opportunity to start a dialog with your instructor about your entire experience of submitting your SAP. Start your conversation about the entire experience of getting ready to write the SAP, writing the SAP from beginning to end, transcribing the SAP, and the eventual results. This helps your instructor know more about your experience and helps them continue the dialog to help you focus on your weaknesses and make helpful recommendations. Ask your instructor for specific things that you can do to improve your writing and transcription. This is your opportunity to involve your instructor in the learning process of taking an SAP. Take advantage of their expertise and what your instructor has to offer.

So, in conclusion, students' approach to taking SAPs must focus on learning about their weaknesses and turning them into strengths. Each and every SAP must be about this four-step learning process. If the focus changes, evaluations become more about learning and progressing instead of about passing and failing.

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Guest Sunday, 15 December 2019

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