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Specialist Teaching Team

Report Writing Comment Bank

Why report on student progress and achievement?

The purpose of reporting to parents is to provide information about the learning and development of their children.
Comprehensive reporting provides information about student strengths and areas that need further attention as well
as advice on how to support a student’s next stage of learning.

Written reports should:

- Provide an honest and fair assessment of student progress in all learning areas
- Include information on each student’s achievement in relation to curriculum expectations and personal
- Provide an interpretative comment on student performance and constructive advice about how the student
can improve in the future
- Advise parents about how well their children are developing in academic and non academic areas, including
their behaviour, attitude, communication, social skills, and physical development and their achievements in
other relevant school activities such as sport, the school orchestra, and school performances
- Be provided formally at least twice each year and timed to enable parents to respond to any emerging
- Should be clearly formatted and worded in language that is readily understood by parents

Some useful words and phrases

Able Cheerful Energetic

Accurate Confident Friendly
Active Cooperative Generous
Aggressive Conscientious Happy
Ambitious Courteous Helpful
Anxious Dependable Imaginative
Attentive Determined Industrious
Capable Eager Initiative
Keen Observant Interested
Neat Orderly Prompt
Nervous Pleasant Quiet
Reliant Polite Receptive
Resourceful Studious
Personal growth / effort and attitude comments
Is becoming more dependable when given Enjoys dramatization
responsibility Enjoys participating in conversation and discussion
Is developing a better attitude toward … Expresses ideas clearly
Demonstrates interest and enthusiasm when… Has a good oral vocabulary
Seeks responsibility and follows through Speaks with confidence to a group
Can be very helpful and dependable in the classroom Is friendly and cooperative
Always uses her time wisely Cooperates well
Has strengthened her skills in… Helps others
Working to full capability Has a sense of humor
Demonstrates strength in… Has a good attitude towards school
Is endeavouring to listen more attentively Is working well in all subjects
Strives to be careful, cooperative and fair Lacks independence / Is gaining independence
Is continuing to grow in independence Is too easily distracted
Enthusiastic about participating Is becoming more self reliant
Gaining more self confidence as demonstrated Is an attentive student
when… All work is neatly and accurately presented
Is learning to listen to instructions more carefully Is a polite conscientious student
Has shown a good attitude towards… Is especially skillful at…
The following suggestions might improve his capacity Requires extensive supervision
to… Should be encouraged to …
Has shown strong growth in… Needs frequent encouragement
Contributes willingly Is maturing
Participates enthusiastically Is learning to concentrate
Attempts all tasks with a positive attitude Is learning to listen carefully
Is willing to take part in all classroom activities Is gaining self confidence
Is a steadfast, conscientious student Is very thoughtful
Offers valuable contributions Takes pride in work well done
Quality of work is improving Is eager to learn
Responds well to… Makes little effort when not under direct supervision
Works well in groups, planning and carrying out Exhibits excellent attitude
activities Respectful of others
Takes an active part in discussions pertinent to … Works independently
Bubbles over with enthusiasm A pleasure to have around
Has an excellent attitude Needs to actively participate in classroom discussion
Cooperative, well mannered Does not put enough time into required tasks
Evaluates what he/she hears Asks pertinent questions
Needs to improve self discipline Socializing inhibits progress
Needs to improve respect for others
Exhibits creativity
Difficulty in expressing ideas
Is a creative problem solver
Teacher Report Writing Checklist

Aspects of report Have I considered the following?

Overall Report is expressed in clear and succinct language

No repetition of comments
Clear coherence between class teacher and specialists
What the student Key aspects of achievement noted
has achieved
Comments focus on most important aspects
Areas for Key aspects for improvement have been noted
improvement /
Focus on the future / no crystal ball gazing
future learning
Aspects are linked to areas of achievement
Home assistance Realistic suggestions are linked to designated areas of improvement
Comments are short and clear
Suggestions are positive and achievable
Student learning Student learning targets are clearly noted
Students have been provided with support and guidelines to develop their learning

Suggestion for structuring a limited space report comment

- Scan the classroom teachers report to get an overall feel for the child
- Ensure you are familiar with the previous comment written on each child for your subject area
- Build on from your previous comment using phrases such as
…has continued to
…is a now demonstrating increased confidence and competence when…
…has become increasingly …
…has strived to achieve his target, now demonstrating...
- Develop a recipe to work from eg:

Sentence 1: A link to the previous report comment and a reference to behaviour / attitude /
Sentence 2: Areas of achievement.
Sentence 3: Targets to work towards next.

Peter has worked diligently to achieve his learning targets, maintaining an enthusiastic and
responsible approach at all times. He is now incorporating …, into his work and is striving to …

Whilst Paris was initially anxious about participating, she now contributes with confidence and
enthusiasm. Her… has improved dramatically and she is now targeting the development of her…
Writing Guide for New Student Report Cards - Writing comments for each section - New Student Report Cards 05/08/2007 04:07 PM

Writing Guide for New Student Report Cards

Introduction | Useful tips | Writing comments for each section | Commentary on completed Reports | Writing
checklist (Word - 46Kb)

Advice on writing comments for each section of the report

The achievement section (“What the student has achieved”)
The areas for improvement section (“Areas for improvement or future learning”)
The school support section (“The school will do the following to support the student in his or her
The home assistance to help the student’s progress section (“What you can do at home to help the
student’s progress”)
The “Student comment” and “My learning goals” sections

Back to Top

The achievement section (“What the student has achieved”)

Comments in this section should focus specifically on achievement against the standards. It is important to
avoid comments related to completion rates, program activities, effort or other matters unrelated to
achievement. Avoid stating in the ‘Achievement’ section what has not been achieved – instead, put this in
‘Areas for Improvement’.

The comments must align with the judgements made at the dimension level as reflected in the domain rating
on the graphic.

The following examples illustrate ways of making comments more succinct and more focussed on the
individual student’s achievement. Further elaboration of the comments may be dealt with during interviews
or conversations with parents or students.

Original Suggestion Comments

Students were involved in Jane effectively Ensure the report relates to student
designing, drawing and designed, drew 2D and achievement not to learning
constructing 2D and 3D shapes. began to construct 3D programs, or move to Areas for
shapes. future learning: Jane's work with
2D and 3D shapes shows that she

Thom's timeline project on the Thom's timeline Evidence to support reports of

history of the Earth was well project on the history achievement is integrated into a
presented. His diagrams and of the Earth included succinct summary.
symbols were accurate. clear and accurate
diagrams and symbols.

Lee has read four novels and Lee's reports on four Completion rates alone are seldom
completed three pieces of writing novels shows improved indicative of achievement.
this semester. understanding of

Students were involved in a Kim accurately adds Focus on specific evidence for
variety of learning experiences in and subtracts two-digit individual student, or move to
Number, including graphical numbers and has Areas for future learning: Kim
representation of data. begun to use bar needs to improve how he presents
graphs to represent numbers in graphs.
collected data.

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Kate has demonstrated a range of Kate can find explicit Translate professional vocabulary
strategies to make meaning. information when or terminology. Avoid vague
reading difficult texts. expressions such as 'a range of',
and use specific examples instead.

Elizabeth has achieved a sound Elizabeth understands Ensure unnecessary words are
understanding of the particle the particle model and removed.
model and is able to use this can explain the
knowledge to explain the structure structure and
and properties of different types of properties of different
matter. types of matter.

Alan has well-developed Alan works well in Specific aspects of achievement

interpersonal skills and is able to groups and can explain that align with the Standards are
work effectively with others to the benefits of working identified but are written in plain
compete group tasks. in a team. English.

Tim reads and interprets maps of Tim reads and Clear, evidence-based description
different kinds and at different understands simple of achievement will provide a
scales, including street directories maps such as street pathway for improvement by
and school atlas maps. directories and atlases. including more challenging maps
e.g. ordnance survey,

Sample comment prompts for the ‘achievement’ section

Sample comment prompts are sometimes helpful in focusing attention on the relevant section of the report,
in this instance, achievement. The comment prompts below are for English and Mathematics, but they give
you some idea of how they could be constructed for other domains.

The student:

speaks confidently…
asks/answers questions…
gives relevant information when responding to questions
reads fiction and factual texts
reads fluently…
developing confidence …
discusses ideas presented by authors
selects key ideas, distinguishes between fact and opinion…
can retell a story in sequence..
plans and writes for a variety of purposes such as…
can measure time and length
is able to use numbers up to millions and decimals to hundredths…
can estimate by rounding to the nearest 1000.

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The areas for improvement section (“Areas for improvement or future learning”)
Information included in the areas for improvement section provides a clear picture of important next steps
for the student. This advice should be manageable and realistic. Avoid long lists of areas for improvement or
for future learning. If too much is listed, students and their parents will find it hard to know where to focus
attention. Instead, focus on what is critical.

The following examples illustrate ways of focusing comments relating to areas for improvement easier to
understand and more focused.

Original Suggestion Comments

Kate had difficulty in understanding Kate needs to Focus the report on direct,
scientific ideas expressed in some journal begin her research practical strategies for
articles. It took her a long time to read with simple journal improvement. It is unnecessary
and she had difficulty in determining articles. She should to describe the difficulty in
main ideas. use a key word list. detail.

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She needs to
practise skimming
for information.

I would also recommend that Jackie use Jackie should keep Ensure the advice is sufficiently
her class time more effectively. Whilst working in class specific to provide guidance for
she is quick to redress her attention and without being told the student.Avoid unnecessary
focus in class when requested to do so, I to do so, and terms, such as redress her
would like to see Jackie develop a more become a more attention and I would like to
independent approach of her own. independent see. The advice could also be
learner. appropriate for more general

You should consider being involved in Paul should take Focus on the individual student.
more extra-curricular activities to further part in more extra- Avoid unnecessary terms such
enhance your education. curricular activities. as to further enhance your

He sometimes needs to seek clarification Before starting a Ensure the language used
and further information before task Jack should provides support for the student
proceeding with a task. This is ask for help about to develop personal goals and a
particularly important for him in task exactly what is pathway for improvement.
analysis activities where multiple required, especially
processes are required or when only the for complex tasks
essential information needs to be with several steps.
extracted in order to complete the task.

Van should apply the proof-reading and Van should proof- Aim for the greatest simplicity
re-drafting process consistently. read and re-draft of language.
his writing.

...after finishing the first draft, Fergus ...after finishing the Provide clear and specific
needs to spend time embellishing his first draft, Fergus advice: 'embellishing' needs
work. should focus on clarification; state what Fergus
adding new ideas, should focus on in his re-drafts:
and using a wider new ideas, improving
vocabulary. vocabulary, or adding

Sample comment prompts for the ‘areas for improvement’ section

The sample comment prompts below are mainly for English and Mathematics, but they give you some idea
of how they could be constructed for other domains.

The student needs to:

Plan his/her writing using key words and/or drawings/maps…

Read his/her writing and make changes…
Plan and edit written pieces…
Check calculations…
Develop confidence to express his/her ideas and opinions
Work cooperatively in teams
Keep going with a task that is not solved successfully the first time
Practise following instructions
Listen more attentively during class discussions and not be distracted by those around him/her
Vary his/her sentence beginnings.

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The school support section (“The school will do the following to support the student in his or her
Information included in the school support section is designed to provide a realistic picture to the student
and the parents of plans the school has for assisting the student. It is important that this section has a clear
link to the areas for improvement section and that it avoids specifying outcomes of these plans.

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The following examples illustrate ways of focusing comments relating to the school support section easier to
understand and more focused.

Original Suggestion Comments

I encourage her to seek assistance, I will encourage her to ask for Clearer and more
when in doubt of the expectations of a help when she is unsure about accessible language.
task, in order to avoid confusion. the task.
We encourage her to develop her We will use a work diary to Clearer and more
organisational skills in order to ensure help her to hand in work on accessible language,
that her work is completed and time. and a practical and
submitted when due. manageable strategy.
Kate needs to use the internet more Kate will be given two key Focus on strategy
widely when researching rather than websites for her research. She rather than area for
relying on one or two reference books will use a simple data chart to improvement.
for her assignments. record information.
Steve needs to improve the range of Steve will use stories with a Focus on strategy
sentence structures he uses. range of sentence types as rather than area for
models in his writing. improvement.

Sample comment prompts for the ‘school support’ section

The sample comment prompts below are for English and Mathematics, but they give you some idea of how
they could be constructed for other domains.

Kate will be given writing guides to help her organise her writing
John will participate in small group activities and be given opportunities to talk about ideas and learn
new vocabulary
Kate will be given a timetable for forward planning and organization of her work program
John will be given more practice using times tables
Kate will be given number lines and problem solving tasks to help her with whole numbers.
Back to Top

The home assistance to help the student’s progress section (“What you can do at home to help
the student’s progress”)
The advice provided here should relate directly to an area of improvement and should describe assistance
that is feasible and not onerous. It should not create unreasonable demands on the family. It is preferable
that the advice is related to behavioural aspects of the student’s work, not content or curriculum-based
matters. For example, it is reasonable to ask parents to assist students to complete a diary, but not to assist
them to synthesise research materials.

The examples below are brief, practical and clear.

Ask Mark to put his vocabulary list on display to practise his spelling.

Encourage Costas to show you and talk about his artwork at home.

Encourage Peter to do some physical activity every day.

Continue to discuss the news with Maria.

Encourage Anna to read to the rest of the family.

Ask Kate to check her work diary each night.

Ask Nicholas to talk about what he is going to say in class presentations.

Sample comment prompts for the ‘home assistance’ section

The sample comment prompts below are mainly for English and Mathematics, but they give you some idea
of how they could be constructed for other domains.

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Read to, read with …

Talk with …
Play time/memory games …
Provide opportunities for John to estimate and recognise…
Encourage Kate to work with other members of the family on small projects at home
Encourage John to join a local sporting group to help him develop physical and social skills
Encourage Kate to talk about her daily events in the order they happened, staying on the topic
Revise the daily routine each morning to prepare John for the day’s activities and events
Assist with developing speed and accuracy in using times tables by playing times tables games and
relate times tables to everyday situations
Use a timetable e.g. train/bus and ask questions about time intervals e.g. if the bus leaves at 2:15 pm
what time will it arrive at this stop/station?
Discuss the material Kate reads asking for an explanation of certain words or different ways that
something could be said.

Back to Top

The “Student comment” and “My learning goals” sections

This new feature of report cards requires students to develop their own awareness of their successes, their
learning needs and areas of improvement. Advice for this section of the report is provided separately.
Back to Top

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