7 Keys to Writing Constructive Report Card Comments for Students

Posted by | March 26, 2020

Every teacher needs to give their students feedback to help them track their progress and improve over the year. However, after teaching for years, it can be a challenge to discover new and creative ways to give feedback and help your students be more efficient. If you want to write better report card comments for your students, here are seven key tips to consider.

Goal-Referenced

To provide effective feedback to your students, you must write constructive report card comments that are goal-referenced. Students need to understand that there was a goal, they needed to take certain actions to achieve that goal, and they need to know how well they did in response to that expectation. The same principle applies when you are giving them feedback about how they can improve next time—you must set clear, reasonable goals for them to strive toward.

Tangible and Transparent

Children learn well from tangible feedback. Overemphasizing instructions such as “memorize this formula,” or using vague words when giving feedback may not be as effective to get your point across to your students. Instead, use practical observations when giving feedback.

Actionable

It’s not enough to give your students a pat on the back and say, “good job,” or “you’ll do better next time.” Even grading a student with a B+ only goes so far. Your report card comments for students should be actionable and should answer questions like:

  • What specifically could I do better?
  • How did I fall short of meeting the expectation?
  • What did I do well and how can I repeat this in the future?

When you use clear examples and set actionable suggestions for improvement, students can clearly see where they went wrong and how to do better.

Understandable/User-Friendly

Giving too much feedback does the opposite of what you want. If your students cannot concentrate on one or two key areas of performance, the overload of information can make every point ineffective. Be specific and personalized when writing your feedback. Consider what communication style works best for your student and clearly outline a few positive and constructive points.

Timely

In our age of information, it can be hard to retain information for a long time. It is unlikely students will know what you’re talking about if you give feedback at the end of the term about something they submitted at the beginning of the term. Ensure that your feedback is timely—the sooner, the better. In terms of report cards, you should be preparing throughout the term, so when you write your feedback you can point out clear moments for them to recognize.

Ongoing


In a sense, your report card comments can be a reminder to students of how they have been doing over the term. If you provide ongoing feedback after each assignment submission you will notice better performance from your students by the end of the term. You can help them improve step by step and watch them grow over the school year. Steady feedback also adjusts students to working toward goals and meeting expectations. It teaches them to how to self-evaluate and increases their desire to do well.

Consistent


Consistent feedback is more useful because it is stable, accurate, and trustworthy. If students learn their teacher is consistent in providing feedback, they will adapt to a learning environment focused on accomplishing goals and striving for improvement. This doesn’t mean assigning tests every two weeks—get creative in how you give feedback and use the tools available to you.

How TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS Can Help You

If you want to be more effective in report card writing, there are many tools available to help you. Whether you want ideas for how to help your students have a goal-oriented mentality about classes or if you need templates for report cards, the resources at TIMESAVERS for TEACHERS can help. We offer a variety of essential time saving tools for teachers to help educators be more effective as they give feedback to their students.

 

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