What’s the big deal about Session Logs?
Session logs are an important part of running professional tutoring, test preparation, and other education-related services. Session logs keep all stakeholders informed about student progress, make sure that administrators are aware of deviation from expected performance, and also drive billing and payroll. Tying session logs to scheduling calendars ensures that every session log is completed on time.
The session is where your core services take place. Getting timely information about these sessions is invaluable. Training your instructors, coaches, or therapists to write great session logs is not difficult. Use these tips for writing great Session Logs as a starting point for your session reporting policies.
10 Tips for writing great Session Logs
- The purpose of the Session Log is to:
- Reinforce specifically what the student is doing well.
- Focus on the next steps for growth. Where are the next opportunities?
- List any concerns you have including the direction you discussed in session to address your concerns.
- Document any specific work you have assigned the student.
- Write to the student in the Student Note Field.
- e.g. “Mary, you are really doing a great job with….”
- The Session Log is NOT simply a recap of the session. “Today we did x, y, and z…” is not good session log practice.
- Longer Session Logs are not necessarily better Session Logs. Good Session Logs range from 3 to 6 sentences. Longer only if needed.
- Use the Student Note as the primary place for writing Session Logs.
- Most Session Logs will NOT require an independent Client Note. Parents will see the Student Note. But, there are some cases in which you will want to write directly to the parent.
- Include any concerns you have that you want to communicate directly to the parent. (If the student is sent a Session Log report, it will not include the Client Note.)
- When included, Client Notes should be written such that you would not be overly concerned if the student happened to read them.
- Most Session Logs will NOT require an independent Admin Note. Admins can see both the Student and Client Notes. However, there are some cases in which you will want to write directly to the administrator.
- When appropriate, include an Admin Note for internal purposes only. You might communicate a concern you have about on-going challenges you are having with the student.
- This note is not sent to the parent nor student. However, you should write the note in such a way that you would not be overly concerned if the parent or student read this note.
- Use the Needs Attention checkbox to flag the Session Log for special Admin attention.
- Write the Session Log during the session. Best around 40 min into the session for an hour-long session and 60 min into a 90 min session.
- Give the student some independent work to do while you take three to five minutes to write the log. There is value in having the student do independent work and you’ll be able to review this work as long as you don’t write the Session Log in the last minutes of the session.
- The session log should not take more than 3 – 4 minutes to write.
- As mentioned in tip number 4, longer session logs are not necessarily better session logs. When the tutor is clear on the purpose of the session log, they should be able to hit the key points concisely and efficiently.
Here’s an example of a great Session Log:
Mary, you are really coming along with reducing the number of missed problems due to small mistakes. As we discussed, it takes a good amount of discipline to stay aware of all the small steps where errors can crop up. I estimate that you have cut the number of careless mistakes in half. Great job!
The next step is to make sure that you are taking all the given information into account. We saw today that several questions were missed because you didn’t read the question fully and write down all the given information. Pay special attention to getting all the given information down in this next week’s homework.