Report Presentation, Data Visualization, and One-page Report Highlights

Namaste from Beautiful Boise, Idaho!

During the first six weeks of the Idaho legislative session, we issued three evaluation reports:

1.  The K-12 Longitudinal Data System (ISEE)

2.  The State's Use of Legal Services

3.  Use of Salary Savings to Fund Employee Compensation

Policymakers and stakeholders have found these reports useful in making policy, budget, and programmatic decisions.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the content of these reports, the way we presented evaluation findings, data visualization, and how we condensed the report highlights onto one page.

Thank you and best wishes,



Rakesh Mohan, Director

Office of Performance Evaluations

Idaho State Legislature


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Hi Rakesh,

Thanks for sharing. Why do you think the policy makers and stakeholders found these reports useful? What did you learn from the experience? I ask because I wish to learn from you.

Warm regards from Delhi,


Dear Rituu,

I believe these reports are useful to our policymakers because they address the following points:

1.  Policymakers are extremely busy people with very short attention span.  Everyone is competing for their attention.  Therefore, evaluators can never write reports that are too concise and too simple (plain language).

2.  Most policymakers are going to read only your one-page highlights or maybe the executive summary. Once something grabs their attention, then they will read parts of the report for additional details.

3.  The main report is usually not for policymakers; it is for program staff and other stakeholders.

4.  We need to make sure we clearly and directly answer the questions policymakers have asked us.  In other words, we have to be responsive to their information needs.

5.  The report must be issued in a timely fashion.  Late reports, regardless of their high quality, are of no use to policymakers if they miss the window of opportunity for legislative action.

I apologize for the delayed response -- crazy busy with our legislative session.

Best wishes and Namaste,


Thank you, Rakesh, I really like the key messages in the side bar! I have also noted that you add conclusions directly to each chapter, but you still keep findings (facts) separate. It really helps te flow.... :)

Dear Inka,

Thank you much for the feedback.  For the past couple of years we have been experimenting with report presentation -- trying to find out what works and what does not.  Of course, each project is different; which adds another layer of complexity in our efforts to standardize our reporting format.

I apologize for the delayed response; I've been busy with our legislative session here.

Best wishes,


FYI Rakesh, I've included these examples in an upcoming presentation on Effective Reporting at the ALGA conference in May.  They were just what I needed, thanks.


Dear Kylie,

I am honored that you will be using our reports as examples for your presentation at the ALGA conference.

I apologize for the delayed response; I've been crazy busy with the legislative session here in Boise.  One more week and then life would be somewhat normal.

On Monday, March 23, we will issue two more evaluation reports:

1.  Idaho's Instructional Management System (Schoolnet) Offers Lessons for Future IT Systems

2.  Application of the Holiday Leave Policy

The Schoolnet report was challenging to write because of its highly political context.  Both of these reports will be available on our website on Monday morning.

Best wishes,


Hi Rakesh,

Grateful for drawing our attention to the three OPE reports. Some quick comments:

- Presentation of evaluation findings: Unlike so many reports I have seen, the findings are concise and the content is easy to interpret, even upon a fast browse. I like the side-bar comments very much as I found that it made it easier to gauge the direction of the main points. Many reports tend to be a mass of text, with a few matrices or tables, but in the OPE reports, the side-bar and graphics break up that monotony...

- The data visualization, as presented, captures the key variables and illustrates patterns clearly without being over the top. 

- Report highlights fitting on one page is an increasing trend now, even if being succinct while maintaining substance is an ongoing challenge for reporting on complex evaluations.

I suspect that the aforementioned considerations would perhaps contribute positively to the utility of the findings and their integration into decision-making at the different levels.

With thanks and regards,


Dear Karen,

Thank you much for the wonderful feedback.  For the past two years, we have been experimenting with our report presentation -- trying to find out what works and what does not.

Many of our policymakers have positively commented on the one-page highlights, large font sized headings, and the sidebar.

We will be issuing two more evaluation reports on Monday.

I apologize for the delayed response; have been crazy busy with our legislative session.

Best regards,


Dear Rakesh,

Great! Thanks a lot sharing the nice documents. Really I would like to appreciate using the sidebar.

Thanks and regards.


Thank you much, Safiur.  Best regards,



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