Rating Documentation

Once an item's questions have been answered and its rating of Strength, Area Needing Improvement, or NA assigned, reviewers must completed the Reason for Rating and Documentation section. This part of the OSRI provides space to write a general statement justifying and clarifying the item's calculated rating. This general statement, referred to as a Main Reason statement, is followed by a number of specific follow-up questions designed to help further clarify the rationale for the assigned rating.

Note that, even if all 23 of the OSRI's items and all seven outcomes have been rated, the instrument is not considered completed and ready for finalization until all of its rating documentation has also been completed. For information on completing rating documentation in the automated instrument, see Module 6.4.3: Item Ratings and Rating Documentation.

Main Reason Statement

When composing your Main Reason statement, you should provide strong and clear justification for the item's rating. This information should be concise and clearly presented, should support the rating, and should not conflict with any of the information you have entered for other items. It's important to remember that the site leaders who conduct quality assurance (QA) on your completed instruments will neither have completed a case record review of the files nor have participated in your case-related interviews. Therefore, they will use the information you provide in your Main Reason statements to determine that each item's questions were answered appropriately and that the ratings are therefore correct.

Before you begin writing your Main Reason statement, though, you should take the time to review the item's follow-up questions. Your goal, wherever possible, should be to address most of the issues raised in the follow-up questions in the Main Reason statement itself. The follow-up questions can also serve as a guide for the order in which you should present information in your Main Reason statement, which in turn can help keep the statement as clear and concise as possible.

You must begin the Main Reason statement of every rated item with the phrase, “Item [number] was rated as [rating] because...” and then complete the sentence with a concise summary of why the item received the rating that it did. This summary sentence is extremely important and will not only help you and your review partner to crystallize why you’re rating the item as you are, but will make your justification information much clearer to the site leader who conducts QA on your instrument.

Following this summary sentence should be your explanatory information. This should be succinct and on-topic, but also thorough. Keep the following in mind as you compose your answer:

  • Avoid Abbreviations. The only abbreviations you should use when completing the instrument are PUR, for “period under review”; ANI for “Area Needing Improvement”; and NA for “Not Applicable.”
  • Do Not Use Names. Names are not to be used anywhere in the body of the instrument or rating documentation. The only exception to this rule is the Face Sheet, which can include names, and certain specific places in the instrument where first names are necessary for distinguishing individuals in the case (such as the chart in item 12).
  • Do Not Cut and Paste. Even though the automated application allows for cutting and pasting across items, you should avoid doing so. Each item in the instrument should be answered separately and stand on its own to ensure that its specific purpose of assessment is being addressed.
  • Explain Concerted Efforts. Several items require that you address whether concerted efforts were made by the agency. In such cases, you must detail those efforts clearly and not just state that “concerted efforts were made.” Likewise, if concerted efforts were not made, you should describe the lack of efforts clearly and note what should have taken place in terms of agency efforts.

In addition to the summary sentence and explanation that justifies the item's calculated rating, reviewers also must note the source or sources of the information they used to address each item. These sources should be listed at the end of the explanation. For example, reviewers who used the case record and an interview with the target child to answer and rate one item might conclude their Main Reason statement with:

Sources: case record, interview with target child

If you believe that an item's rating should have been different from what it is, first double-check your answers to each item question. An inaccurate response to one of the item questions is the most typical reason why the rating that is calculated may differ from what you would expect. If, after reviewing your answers, you still think the rating is incorrect, you should consult with one of the local site leaders. If necessary and appropriate, he or she can conduct a manual override of the rating and change it to what it should be. 

Follow-Up Questions

Every item in the OSRI must include a Main Reason statement with its rating documentation. This Main Reason statement is followed by additional exploratory, or follow-up, questions that are intended to help reviewers more thoroughly explore the rationale behind the item's rating. In most cases, these follow-up questions can and should be answered in the Main Reason statement itself. However, you must still enter text for each exploratory question. Otherwise, the automated application will register that you have omitted an answer and your instrument will be considered incomplete.

In these cases, your answers to follow-up questions can be as simple as “See Main Reason” or “NA,” depending on what is appropriate. Remember that you should only use "NA" if the follow-up question is actually not applicable; if you answered it in the Main Reason statement, that means it did apply to the case. If you say you answered it in the Main Reason statement, though, be sure to double-check the Main Reason and verify that the answer is actually there.

Some follow-up questions require that you complete a chart. You must complete these charts on their own; they cannot be answered as part of the Main Reason statement.