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Writing effective report card comments just got 16,000 times easier.

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jul 18, 2013 12:13:00 PM

report card commentsNo matter what grade level or subject we teach, most of us are expected to issue report cards two, three or four times a year. And no matter how many years we’ve been doing it, writing effective report card comments is never easy. To help you cut down on the hours you spend writing and reviewing your comments, stop by Report Card Comments.

Enter your student’s name, select his/her gender and begin selecting comments from three separate tabs: introduction, effort and final. Clicking on comments automatically relocates them to your quick report pad where you can customize them by adding (or subtracting) more information about your students’ progress.

To give you a feel for the language, we’ve listed a few comments below:

  • Pupil name is a reserved member of the group who displays a quiet interest in the subject

  • Pupil name always listens carefully and puts full effort into tasks

  • The progress Pupil name has shown this year has been hindered by attendance issues

  • Pupil name puts considerable effort into his work but doesn't plan out his tasks in sufficient detail.

While we do find this application helpful, you’ll still need to finesse the default comments. Take the last comment as an example: We know that the pupil “puts considerable effort into his work,” but we’ll need more information about what tasks he doesn’t plan out in detail and what steps he might take to accomplish this.

While a basic account is free for 24 hours, upgrading (for $1.25/month) gives you access to a larger comment bank which includes access to over 16,000 comments. 

If you’re looking for more information on how you can write more effective report cards, you might be interested in one of our recent blogs, 5 tips for writing clear and constructive report card comments or check out Susan Shafer’s book, Writing Effective Report Card Comments.

 

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Tags: engaging students, report card comments, apps for educators, apps for teachers, student engagement, effective feedback

5 tips for writing clear and constructive report card comments

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jul 13, 2013 6:00:00 AM

report card commentsIt goes without saying, but what we write in report cards and how we write it impacts our students and their parents. Thoughtful, well-written report card comments offer praise and constructive criticism; they are clear, concise and solution-oriented. Vague and poorly-written report comments, however, may confuse and discourage parents and students.

To help you write report card comments that inspire, instruct and promote growth, we’d like to share 5 simple tips from Pam Robbins’s and Harvey Alvy’s book, The Principal’s Companion.  

5 tips for writing clear and constructive report card comments

1. When you are describing a challenge or an area in which the student could improve, be specific and try to provide recommendations.

“Ned is not doing well in speech class” is vague and doesn’t offer any feedback.

On the other hand, “Ned’s speeches show potential: he is at ease in front of the class and always appears confident. However, his speeches need more organization. I’ve encouraged him to rehearse his speech by setting a timer and/or practicing in front of friends/family to help him organize and pace his presentation” is clear and offers suggestions for how Ned can improve.

2. Keep in mind that a report card is a permanent document; it’s also a keepsake and memory record: Parents often keep these in old shoe boxes and pull them out years later.

Considering this, report card comments should be meaningful. “Elise has a habit of forgetting to write her name on her homework” is probably not something that deserves to be a part of a student’s permanent record.

3. Be discreet and avoid insensitive comments: Praising a student is one thing, but avoid comparing him/her with peers. “Joey continues to excel in composition; in fact, he is the best writer in the class” will certainly make the student and his/her parents feel good, but this is not a competition. Avoid praising one student and undermining 15 others at the same time. 

4. Make sure the grade matches the comment: Praise next to “needs improvement” is confusing.

5. If you want to make a general point, use the “general comments” section on the back of the report card instead of the designated subject area section. Mentioning that “Jessica is a pleasure to have in class” or “Steven is often late to school” should not be the primary point under the math section of the report card. Summary comments about the student’s overall performance belong in the additional comments section.

We hope some of these tips help you in the forthcoming school year. If you are looking for more tips on how to write effective report card comments, we highly recommend Susan Shafer’s book, Writing Effective Report Card Comments.

Photo credit: Aburk018

 

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Tags: engaging students, report card comments, student engagement, effective feedback

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