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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taking the ISA Advanced Report Writing course

I recently took the new ISA Advanced Report Writing course that was developed and taught by our Director of Education, Leon Castner ISA CAPP.  He was assisted very capably by Scott Hale, ISA AM. I highly recommend this course to all appraisers, especially those who have been practicing for many years since they first took the core course, even having taken the required requalification classes on schedule. One of the most important aspects of the new course is the review of everyone's appraisals, done anonymously by other members of the class as an exercise.  This is daunting:  it can be scary and humbling to have another appraiser look at your work, but think how important this is!  Wouldn't you rather have one of your peers give you honest feedback than have it picked over by an opposing attorney in a courtroom?  It was a great chance to have fresh (and understanding) eyes look at your appraisal and give you a chance to make the necessary updates to your report writing techniques.

Using the basics of journalism as related to report writing, Leon went through our ISA report formats, encouraging everyone to remember to present all the relevant facts of who, what, where, when, why and how, all in the first paragraph of the report.  Scope of work was discussed, and we practiced and discussed different ways to present these facts.
Another part of the class, presented by Scott Hale, dealt with the actual writing of the report.  Scott, an English major, has been a professor at the University of Oklahoma teaching technical writing, and had very good tips on how to make our appraisals better.  Spell check is just not enough!  We also went over the new parts of the Core Course manual, and had a short update of USPAP.  All in all, this is an important new course to add to our educational curriculum, and I would encourage everyone who can squeeze it in your schedule to do so.  It will definitely give you that extra incentive you need to bring your appraisals to a higher level. 

Terri Ellis, ISA CAPP

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