While just about every teacher agrees that report card comments are important, there are few who actually look forward to writing them.
Because every instructor knows working under tight deadlines to create upwards of 20 unique and detailed reports isn’t exactly straightforward (or particularly fun).
And while no one at your school knows your students better than you do, writing valuable report card comments for each of them can be a huge challenge.
That’s why we created a list of 105 sample report card comments to help you find ideas, inspiration, and insights while writing your own assessments.
The report card comments in this list will help you:
- Instill a growth mindset in students
- Write stronger leads and use livelier language in your evaluations
- Build stronger home-to-school connections through written assessments
- Choose the right phrasing when writing positive and negative report card comments
Character Traits (Positive Comments)
- ________ is confident, positive and a great role model for his/her classmates.
- ________ is frequently among the first to help and mentor other classmates. He/she is a valuable part of the classroom.
- ________ has shown excellent ability to set goals and be persistent in achieving them.
- ________ is interested in his/her own learning, listens attentively, and makes a solid effort to avoid distractions that could interrupt the learning process.
- ________ is accountable and responsible. He/she makes smart decisions, admits mistakes and listens to opportunities to improve.
- ________ relates well to classmates and is appreciative of different perspectives and experiences.
- ________ manages his/her emotions maturely and responds to feedback appropriately.
- ________ always looks for ways to be helpful in the classroom.
- ________ is dependable and reliable, follows directions effectively, and follows through on his/her commitments to (him/her)self and others.
- ________ is thoughtful, insightful and thorough in written and verbal communication, and has a talent for expressing his/her ideas clearly.
- ________ works well with classmates in group work and often takes a leadership role.
- ________ shows a positive attitude with classmates in group projects and activities, and both takes and gives suggestions and directions effectively.
- ________ shows maturity when solving problems with classmates and uses good communication.
- ________ excels at applying what he/she learns in the classroom to real-world and real-life situations.
- It has been a pleasure to have _______’s enthusiasm, positivity and maturity in my class.
- ________ is an enthusiastic member of the class and shows willingness to learn.
- ________ shows responsible behavior, works well with a group and shows appreciation for the efforts of classmates.
- ________ is focused during class and contributes ideas willingly.
- ________ is focused in class and willingly participates in group discussion.
- ________ is very conscientious and shows excellent effort and care with daily work.
- ________ demonstrates a willing and conscientious effort in his/her daily work.
- ________ shows a conscientious effort to learn.
- ________ has done a great job facing and overcoming big challenges this year. Please continue to nurture and encourage this behavior over the summer.
- ________ shows responsibility and follows directions whenever they are given.
- ________ listens to and follows directions precisely and attentively.
- ________ follows directions promptly and accurately.
Character Traits (Needs Improvement)
- ________ is encouraged to demonstrate more responsible attitudes and behavior in the classroom.
- ________ needs to show more appropriate behavior when interacting with classmates.
- ________ needs to pay attention to use of appropriate language at all times
- ________ requires encouragement to listen attentively during group sharing times.
- ________ needs to listen to directions more attentively during lessons.
- ________ would benefit from showing a greater desire to contribute ideas in class.
- ________ needs frequent reminders to be attentive during instructions and lessons.
- ________ needs to improve his/her cooperation in group settings. He/she should work on voicing feelings and opinions and listening to others.
- ________ needs to improve his/her work with others. He/she must ensure to accept a share of the work when participating in a group assignment.
- ________ needs to improve on working independently and be sure to ask for assistance only when it is needed.
- ________ performs independent work with confidence and focus.
- ________ works independently and takes pride in work done well.
- ________ often struggles to focus in class, which harms his/her ability to engage well with class activities and assignments.
- ________ is encouraged to use time wisely to finish tasks in the time required.
- ________ is encouraged to be more responsible in completing tasks without needing regular reminders.
- ________ needs to show by the quality of work and use of class time that he/she is properly engaged in the learning process.
- ________ consistently needs reminders to use time effectively.
Math (General Comments)
- ________ is having considerable difficulty with math. I recommend he/she work on studying ________ and ________. This extra practice will help him/her feel more relaxed when doing math in the classroom. Please contact me if you need materials to get him/her started.
- ________ has a good understanding of all math concepts taught so far this year. He/she continues to turn in excellent assignments and especially enjoys hands-on math activities.
- ________ has a positive attitude towards math but continues to have trouble in a few key areas. He should practice every evening at home. Areas that need extra attention are ________ and ________ .
- ________ demonstrates a good understanding of all math concepts studied and communicates with clarity and good justification of reasoning.
- ________ needs to work on increasing his/her speed in math facts. He/she should continue with daily practice with a focus on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- ________ seems to need continuous encouragement in math. He/she continues to struggle with basic math concepts for his/her grade level.
- ________ is having a difficult time in certain areas of math. Areas in need of extra work are ________ . Working on these problem areas every night would help improve his/her learning outcomes.
- ________ is struggling to keep up in math. He/she could benefit from practicing the multiplication table and should also continue to practice the long division process.
- ________ is easily distracted during math lessons and behavioral issues are interfering with his/her learning. We will be working on more difficult subjects and he/she will struggle if he/she does not pay attention in class.
- ________ is having trouble with math tests. He/she does well on assignments, but does not seem to retain information for tests. I always give a week’s notice before tests, so please be sure ________ studies and adequately prepares for them as they approach.
Addition and Subtraction
- ________ is able to calculate addition and subtraction facts to 18 with confidence and accuracy.
- ________ is becoming more able to calculate addition and subtraction facts to 18 with confidence and accuracy.
- ________ requires more time and practice in calculating addition and subtraction facts to 18
- ________ needs to put more effort into learning to calculate addition and subtraction facts to 18.
- ________ is able to skip count forward and backward by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds to complete short patterns.
- ________ is learning to skip count forward and backward by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds to complete short patterns.
- ________ needs practice with skip counting forward and backward by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds to complete short patterns.
- ________ needs considerable practice with skip counting forward and backward by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds to complete short patterns.
- ________ is able to demonstrate place value concepts to give meaning to numbers from zero to 1000, identifying ones, tens, and hundreds.
- ________ is developing an understanding of place value concepts to give meaning to numbers zero to identifying ones, tens, and hundreds.
- ________ requires more time and practice to demonstrate place value concepts to give meaning to numbers 0 to 1000, identifying ones, tens, and 100s.
- ________ is able to compare numbers to 1000 using terms such as greater or less and greatest or least.
- ________ is learning to compare numbers to 1000 using terms such as greater or less and greatest or least.
- ________ requires support to compare numbers to 1000 using terms such as greater or less and greatest or least.
- ________ demonstrates a limited understanding in comparing numbers to 1000 using terms such as greater or less and greatest or least.
Addition with regrouping
- ________ can demonstrate and explain the process of addition of whole numbers up to 100, with and without regrouping.
- ________ requires ongoing support to demonstrate and explain the process of addition of whole numbers up to 100 with and without regrouping.
- ________ requires considerable attention and individual instruction to demonstrate and explain the process of addition of whole numbers up to 100 with and without regrouping.
- ________ is able to complete word problems using one- and two-digit addition, showing his/her work and writing a full sentence answer.
- ________ is becoming more confident in his/her ability to complete word problems using one- and two-digit addition, showing his/her work and writing a full sentence answer.
- ________ ’s (comprehension, spelling, reading) has greatly improved, but he/she still needs extra work in (comprehension, spelling, reading). Please contact me if you need supplemental learning materials to use at home for practice.
- ________ is conscious of putting care into his/her daily writing work, and frequently goes beyond the minimum requirements for assignments.
- ________ has trouble with his handwriting. I believe he/she can form letters well, but has to slow down and take a little more time. Neater handwriting will improve his/her schoolwork overall.
- ________ makes a good effort to make his/her handwriting legible. He/she is able to print on the lines, use good spacing, and form letters correctly.
- ________ needs to focus on her spelling. More improvement is needed in the areas of (dictation, weekly spelling tests, sentence structure). Daily practice at home will help improve his/her results.
- ________ shows the ability to quickly use spelling, punctuation and grammar rules that were recently taught. He/she is able to quickly learn new skills and is eager to apply them to his/her writing.
- ________ is having considerable difficulty with reading, particularly with fluency and comprehension.
- ________ speaks well in front of the class, but requires improvement in written language. He/she is having trouble with (dictation, copying words correctly, story writing, creating logical sequences). Further practice is needed in this area.
- ________ continues to make excellent progress in spelling and reading. He/she works hard to submit work that is free of grammatical errors.
- ________ has difficulty remembering previously- discussed writing skills and often makes errors with punctuation, grammar, and overall sentence structure. Basic writing skills need improvement.
- ________ is able to offer direct responses to his/her readings and supports ideas with sound reasoning and specific examples.
- ________ is learning to offer more direct responses to her reading experiences supported by reasons, examples, and details.
- ________ needs frequent support to offer direct responses to his/her reading experiences supported by reasons, examples, and details.
- ________ shows good ability when completing reading comprehension tests.
- ________ would benefit from extra practice with reading aloud and discussion of content.
- ________ consistently demonstrates comprehension of short spoken texts by answering questions, and explaining the events described.
- ________ consistently reads grade-level material independently.
- ________ uses good editing skills and correctly places capitals, quotation marks, question marks, apostrophes, commas, and periods.
- ________ is doing a good job of breaking a story into paragraphs
- ________ determines various forms of writing and identifies important ideas through the development of insightful questions and answers.
- ________ is able to analyze character actions, story plots, and shows strong fluency with reading.
- ________ uses correct spelling, grammar and punctuation when writing simple sentences.
- ________ is encouraged to show increased attention to the use of correct spelling, grammar and punctuation with general writing skills.
- ________ needs more time and practice in the use of correct spelling, grammar and punctuation with general writing skills.
- ________ requires considerable assistance to achieve the correct spelling, grammar and punctuation when writing simple sentences.
- ________ shows an excellent understanding of note taking from lectures and readings in preparation for tests and assignments.
- ________ requires ongoing support to develop an understanding of note taking from lectures and readings in preparation for tests .
Top 10 Tips for Effective Report Card Comments
1. Give yourself extra time and start writing comments early
Somewhere around the halfway point to your deadline for report cards, you should take time at the end of each week to reflect — and jot down notes — about your students’ performance.
What are their strengths and weaknesses? How well do they socialize with classmates? How is their class participation?
Even just a few minutes of note taking in the weeks preceding report card deadlines will help to ease your stress when the time comes to write your final comments.
Moreover, having a dated log of information detailed throughout the school year will help you remember how students are performing throughout each week.
This will also help to engage and reassure parents who want relevant and detailed commentary about their child’s performance at school.
2. Use specific examples
Record and use classroom anecdotes in your assessments. No matter how involved you are in your students’ progress, it can still be difficult to produce specific examples related to their performance if you haven’t recorded them along the way.
When you notice a positive or negative skill, ability, strength, or weakness in a class activity or assignment, be sure to note it down so that you may refer to it in your report card comments. Likewise, consider noting a sample of a student’s work every week or two.
To help with ease of access, keep ongoing files of this work in a personal folder or use a digital tool such as a Google Doc.
3. Be encouraging, informational and professional
Although every report card cannot be glowingly positive, do strive to write in an encouraging and informational tone. As you write negative report card comments, use encouraging language that focuses on the student’s opportunity for improvement.
For example, instead of describing a student struggling with listening as a “bad listener,” remark that the student “would benefit from listening more carefully.”
If appropriate, frame a negative comment in terms of what students are doing well — and consider how this more successful characteristic can help them bolster performance in other areas.
4. Use a consistent format
Lead your report card comments with the positive comments, followed by areas that need more attention.
Choosing the right format for reporting information will simplify the entire process, while resulting in a clearer and more organized final product. If you are unclear about your school’s format for report cards, request samples or consult with other teachers or staff members to clarify.
5. Be honest
Being open and honest about a student’s performance requires tact and consideration with regard to how you express those comments. Be transparent, and remain mindful that your goal is to improve your students’ learning experience.
Openness and honesty are key to ensuring that experience is the best it can be. If possible, discuss what intervention strategies you can use to help improve the student’s learning outcomes.
As elementary teacher Donna Donaghue remarks in her book A Guide for Beginning Elementary Teachers: Getting Hired and Staying Inspired:
If there is a problem, most parents will be grateful to you for telling them and will want to help you correct it as soon as possible. Many problems that show up at school are also problems noticed at home, so your comments will not surprise parents. Ideally, at some point prior to receiving the progress report, parents have already discussed the problem with you.
6. Move on if you get stuck
If you get stuck completing the comments for a particular student, move on to your other students and return to it later. You will likely have more trouble completing comments for students who have multiple areas needing further improvement and attention.
Feel free to move on and return to those students periodically or as you find the right language to express your insights.
7. Keep parents and guardians in mind
While every report card comment is ultimately about your student, think of your students’ parents as much as possible and offer suggestions for their participation.
As you make note of your students’ strengths and weaknesses, endeavor to include practical insights into how parents can involve and support their child at home. If possible, make reference to how you use differentiated instruction to support the student in question.
Simple examples of tips for parents include:
- “Encourage your child to read.”
- “Find homework help for your child if needed.”
- “Ensure that your child completes their homework.”
- “Help your child with organization skills at home.”
- “Help your child prepare for math tests by focusing their skills in addition and subtraction.”
As high school educator and teaching comprehension expert Anne Goudvis writes in her book Strategies That Work:
it is important that you include the parents in your comment so they know the child’s education is a joint mission. Sometimes you need to sound firm so that parents know you need their help and that you will not allow their child to continue inappropriate behavior.
8. Try not to repeat yourself
It is unlikely that your students or parents will compare their report card comments, but it is still a best practice to aim for unique commentary for each student that reflects each, individual learning outcome.
9. Proofread, even if you don’t want to
Report card time is perhaps your busiest period of the year, and it is understandable that you want to simply get them over with.
Despite this, you should make sure to double check all your comments before hitting print and handing them out. All your communications to parents are a reflection of you as a teacher, and should mirror the care and attention you show your students in class.
10. Notify parents
Make use of your school’s parent portal or email system to let parents know — as needed — that report card time is coming up.
This will help parents be prepared, and will also ensure that any important questions they may have are addressed before the final report cards are delivered.
Effective Report Card Comments: Key Considerations
Report card comments should aim to deliver feedback to students and parents that is personalized, detailed, and meaningful.
- Effective report card comments emphasize and discuss:
- The specific elements of knowledge, skills, and other outcomes recognized in the curriculum that are the most pertinent to a student’s achievement or development in the period of assessment
- The specific, notable strengths that a student has shown and should attempt to continue to show
- The major next steps for improvement that will:
- Identify the student’s most important learning needs
- Offer next steps for students
- Offer specific recommendations for how parents and guardians can help the student’s learning habits and skills (or the development of those habits and skills)
- Effective report card comments are personalized – customized to each, individual student – and discuss:
- Detailed evidence of learning or skill-development gathered from in-class observations, and/or student assignments
- The student’s learning preferences, willingness to learn, and interests.
- Effective report card comments are expressed with clear and simple phrasing, using:
- Language that is easy to understand for both students and parents, as opposed to educational jargon used from the curriculum.
- An encouraging and/or positive tone.
Report Card Comments: Final Thoughts
The Ontario Ministry of Education’s Guidelines for Effective Teacher-Parent-Student Communication observe that “personalized, clear, precise, and meaningful report card comments are essential for informing students and their parents about what students have learned, their strengths as learners, and the next steps for improvement.”
Among the pressure and deadlines of writing report cards, it can be helpful to keep these key goals in mind.
Get inspired by the 105 examples — and strategies for success — above to ensure that precision, clarity, and meaning shine through in your report card comments.
When it comes time to hand out your report cards, you can do so with the full confidence that you are doing yourself — and each of your students — the justice your hard work deserves.
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