Tips to Write Constructive Criticism in Report Card Comments

Posted by | December 20, 2019

Feedback is crucial for all students but sometimes the comments you need to make as a teacher are hard to hear. However, there is a way for teacher report card comments to be both constructive and positive. By creating thoughtful and effective responses, you can lead your students to a greater sense of engagement, willingness in their ability to accomplish the task, and the motivation to do so. Here are some helpful tips for how to write constructive criticism in your report card comments.

Think about Why You Are Giving Criticism

Before you give criticism to your students, take a step back and consider why you are giving it. It should not come from an emotional place or as a way to exert your authority. By offering constructive criticism, you can address a specific issue or problem and work with your students to make a change. Your criticism should not be about scolding or nagging but should provide solutions to the issues you are seeing to help your students work more effectively.

Don’t Make It Personal

Constructive criticism focuses on the quality of work, not the personality of the students. Even if the issue is behavioural, phrase your comments in a way that focuses on the problem rather than the person. Instead of telling a student that they are disorganized, you can construct your comment by saying that they need to keep a schedule and incorporate more structure to their work. The second example does not assume that there are any issues with the person’s traits but offers positive strategies for improvement. It is important to note that the strategies provided should be realistic for the student.

Save Time by Prioritizing and Being Specific

Your report card comments do not have to be lengthy and drawn out to get your point across. You should relay your comments quickly and effectively to ensure that your students understand exactly what the issue is and how they can improve it.

Set Goals That Are Specific and Challenging

According to studies, specific and challenging yet achievable goals establish higher levels of task performance than simple, broad goals. Attaining challenging goals has often shown to result in increased satisfaction in the classroom because accomplishing these goals requires growth and practice, which encourage feelings of success. When you write your constructive but positive report card comments, provide suggestions for improvement by using the S.M.A.R.T. model:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Achievable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-Based

Follow Constructive Criticism with Feedback

When you begin to realize that the student is improving, remember to let them know that. By providing positive feedback as they improve, you help them track their progress and give them a positive incentive to continue producing better work.


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