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How to Complete Report Card Comments  Allison Demas

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp and report cards are due. Before you begin to rate your students you should step back for a minute. You need to know the benchmarks (year-end, mid-year, and quarterly) for your grade and then evaluate your students in relation to those benchmarks. Make sure that you are absolutely objective.

It is advisable to keep a portfolio / file on each student. It should contain samples of work from each area of instruction. You must be able to support any grade you give - good or bad.

Before you put pen to paper you need to make sure that you truly know your students. Also, put yourself in the parent’s place. How would you, the parent, react to what you, the teacher, are writing?

Now comes the fun part: the comments. First, avoid subjective remarks such as “nice” or “sweet.” Focus on the student’s actions and work product - not on your reaction to the student’s personality. You should generally try to begin with a positive statement about each student - even if the next comment isn’t positive. Remember, report card distribution is generally followed by a parental visit. There is no reason to unnecessarily antagonize a parent. Even if the truth is ugly it can be put in a pretty package.

Click here for sample comments. These are not meant to be remarks which you cut from this article and paste on report cards. They are meant to provide guidance for you as you write your own comments. You need to make them your own.

If you are having difficulty writing remarks for a particular student then write them on a separate piece of paper and have a co-worker or supervisor read them. I usually write them on a post-it note and attach it to the student’s report card. Then I place that report card on the top of my class set when I submit them to my supervisor for review. I am lucky enough to have a supervisor who is an excellent proof-reader (I am not) and is able to detect “the tone” of the written word. If you are not fortunate to have such a supervisor, then I suggest you find a co-worker who can assist you.


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