How to Write Report Card Comments for Struggling Students

Posted by | July 23, 2020

As a teacher, writing report card comments for students who are succeeding is easy; writing report card comments for students who are struggling, however, can be challenging. You may find it difficult to communicate your observations and you may not know the right words to use. You want to be encouraging and constructive, not insensitive or negative.

How do you ensure your message is clearly articulated and help your struggling students to succeed in the future? Here are some ideas for your report card comments and how our report card comments collection can help you write meaningful and well-thought-out comments for every kind of student.

Start on a Positive Note

When writing report card comments, it’s important to keep things positive. Providing comments about a student who has many weaknesses can be a touchy subject and you don’t want to sound like you are belittling the child or the parent. While it’s important to be honest, how you communicate the information can make a big difference.

Start by focusing on something the student excels at, whether it’s art, working well with others, or using technology. Mention areas in which the student has shown progress or growth. This provides a smoother transition so that you can follow up your positive comments with suggestions on what the student needs to improve on.

Take Supporting Notes

Always back up your report card comments with concrete evidence. This means that for each statement you make about a student, you need to be able to show parents specific examples of how their child exhibited their strengths and weaknesses. Parents (and students) respond better to specific examples compared to generic observations/statements.

The easiest way to provide concrete examples is to make notes throughout the school year about your observations on each student. Jot down adjectives to describe each student as a learner, so that you don’t repeat the same words over and over again. Any classroom situation could inspire notes, whether it’s in a workshop setting, independent learning, or from a specific assignment.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

This brings us to our next point: start getting ideas for your report card comments early in the school year, and consistently take notes up to report card time so that you capture any change in performance or attitude. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what to write—especially when writing report card comments for struggling students.

When you give yourself enough time to write teacher report card comments, it means you can be more insightful and constructive in your comments. Parents want to see that you understand their child and that you’re invested in helping them improve.

Talk with Other Teachers

Lastly, don’t forget that report card comments are often made up of a collection of comments from various teachers. Talk to your colleagues to help you describe the challenging student and see what they have observed over the school year. Just because the student may not do well in math class, doesn’t mean they aren’t excelling in other subjects.

It’s important to discuss with your fellow educators whether they have the same concerns about the student that you do. While you shouldn’t mention other teachers in your report card comments, if parents see the same feedback from all of their child’s teachers, they’ll notice a pattern and it will have a stronger impact.


If you need some help writing report card comments for struggling students, the resources at TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS can help. We offer a variety of essential time-saving tools and comment ideas for report cards to help teachers be more effective during report card season. These tools include The Teacher’s Binder, Teacher Report Card Comments Collection, Substitute Teacher Instructions Kit, and Classroom Awards.

All our resources, including our report card comments collection, are downloadable, so you don’t have to leave your desk to start writing effective and productive report card remarks. Simply visit our website to download these amazing time-saving tools!