Effective Ways to Give Productive Feedback to Students

Posted by | February 24, 2020

When it’s time to write your report card comments, it is important to be as effective as possible. You want to clearly express where your students are succeeding, explain where they need to improve, and provide them actionable ways to meet their goals. Here are some helpful tips for writing productive feedback for students.

Be Affirmative on What Is Right

Giving feedback to your students is not about focusing on the negatives or generalizing the positives. Comments should always be framed in a positive manner, reassuring students that they are on the right path. Instead of sugar-coating your positive comments with generalizations like “good work”, you should take the time to explain what they did correctly. The same applies when you are sharing a comment about an area that they need to improve.

The Sooner the Better

Numerous studies have shown that the sooner feedback is given, the better it is received and put into action. Although it is not possible to provide feedback to students immediately, you should make sure that your feedback is as prompt as possible.

Don’t Go Overboard

When a student has repeatedly struggled with an area, it is natural to want to praise them when they achieve even the smallest level of success. Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good. Insincere praise is easy to detect by students and can be very off-putting. Additionally, too much praise can express that you have low expectations for them, which can be demotivating.

Don’t Compare

When writing your report card comments, ensure that you focus your feedback on the student’s individual development and improvement, and avoid comparing them to anyone else. A recent study discovered that being compared to others in a positive way can lead to narcissistic behavior. When the comparisons are negative, it can reduce motivation and result in lower confidence, frustration, decreased academic performance and increased anxiety.

Focus on the Process, Not Natural Ability

Effective report card comments need to be specific and should focus on the process the students are doing correct, not their natural ability. Instead of saying a student is friendly and social, explain that they are a good communicator, that they make their classmates feel comfortable, or that they use detail when they express their thoughts and ideas. The same applies when talking about what they are doing wrong. It is much easier for a student to improve if they know exactly what they need to do differently.


If these ideas have inspired you as you prepare to write report card comments for your students, you may be wondering what template is best? 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 during report card season. These tools include The Teacher’s Binder, Teacher Report Card Comments Collection, Substitute Teacher Instructions Kit, and Classroom Awards. Each of these tools is designed to be clear, effective, and productive so teachers can successfully get their feedback across to students in a constructive manner.

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