Parents want to know what was taught and how well their child has learnt it, as well as where improvement is needed and how that can be achieved. This means that report comments should be written in plain English, giving parents and carers a clear picture of their child’s progress and achievement against clearly defined syllabus standards (See example comments below for recommendations).
The Curriculum Planning and Programming, Assessing and Reporting (CPPAR) policy states that report comments for each subject or KLA should include:
areas of student strength and learning progress
areas for further development and what can be done to support their learning growth.
Report comments should be at least three sentences long.
Generally, sentences should be short and no longer than 15-20 words. Writing in long sentences makes it harder for parents to understand your message.
Comment banks or pre-prepared comments
The use of comment banks and pre-prepared comments is a school-based decision. Report comments should be based on an informed individualised professional judgement to a parent/carer regarding their child’s areas of strength and areas for development. It is important to ensure that the comments are personalised for each student.
Students official name should be used in a comment, unless approved by the parent/carer and the school principal. As they are legal documents, official names are required.
General report comments are not mandated in the CPPAR policy. This is a school-based decision.
Reports do not need to undergo a buddy-check. However, schools may choose to implement internal systems to review reports prior to the distribution to parents. These systems will need to clearly outline the role of the buddy-checker in the reporting process.
Comments should be addressed to the parent or carer rather than the student and written in a formal manner. Comments need to be written from a positive perspective, while still ensuring that the parent or carer, and the student, is clear about what areas need improvement. First-person closing sentences such as “Congratulations, Dari!” should be avoided.
Teachers’ comments describe the skills and knowledge demonstrated by the student as evidence of academic progress. As such, reports should refrain from discussing student behaviour unless it is relevant to identifying areas of strength and development, or the student’s commitment to learning. The comment should not contain critical information which has not been previously communicated to parents.
Written comments are based on the evidence that informs the overall judgement and grade (A-E) assigned to the student.
Comments should be personalised, constructive and contain statements about:
- the student’s achievement and progress (either overall or in specific tasks)
- effort and participation in the KLA/subject/course
- at least one area for improvement and how it can be achieved.
use the student’s official given name
contain specific information relevant to the student
use plain English, avoiding syllabus specific jargon
be expressed in clear and succinct language
be written in the third person
start with a positive comment
reflect the student’s A-E grade or equivalent
refer to specific outcomes achieved and/or work completed
give positive and achievable guidance about what the student can do to improve
avoid predictions about future performance. For example, use ‘could’ or ‘may’ instead of ‘should’ and 'will'.
Daria has applied herself well to all topics and activities this semester. She identified, located and described natural, built and heritage sites within Australian State and National Parks. She explained their significance and management and discussed the importance of caring for and conserving them. Daria represented data by constructing simple tables, graphs and maps. She can read maps to determine location, direction and distance. Daria now needs to interpret the data using geographical terminology and to draw conclusions to her findings. We will continue to work on those areas next semester in our Geography lessons.
In English, Mohammad contributes enthusiastically to class discussions about texts and presents his opinions with growing confidence. He continues to increase his knowledge of more complex letter-sound relationships and shows sound skills in blending these to read and write multisyllabic words. Mohammad reads aloud with developing expression and adequate volume. He has many interesting ideas for writing. His handwriting, however, makes his writing difficult for others to read. Effective pencil grip and appropriate letter size, shape and formation will continue to be a focus area for Mohammad.
Renae is a highly motivated student who has achieved strong results in all assessment tasks including her project on natural disasters. This project highlighted her ability to combine information from a variety of sources and use visuals, including graphs and diagrams, to support her findings. To further develop the sophistication of her writing, Renae should incorporate more precise and subject-specific vocabulary. This can be achieved by identifying words that could be improved as part of the editing process.
Amir demonstrates safe practices when creating and producing design solutions in the workshop. He understands the design process and is developing his skills in technical drawing. He is always happy to help classmates and offers up his ideas in class discussions. Amir finds it challenging to follow detailed instructions. Consequently, he has not completed projects within the allocated timeframes. Amir’s accompanying portfolio could have been improved with more detail and description of the manufacturing steps. With greater concentration and focus on teacher instructions during practical lessons, Amir can improve these results.
This sample report comment demonstrates how a Year 5 teacher has included their English as an additional language/dialect (EAL/D) English language proficiency reporting requirements in the general comment at the end of the report.
Mabior’s English language proficiency has been assessed using the EAL/D Learning Progression at the Developing phase. To support his English language development in the classroom, Mabior has been provided with bilingual texts and word walls to support his understanding of new topics. He has also worked enthusiastically with a buddy during literacy activities to provide him with a language model for engaging with tasks. Mabior’s English language has improved steadily over the term, whereby he can follow instructions and explanations. He is using his expanding vocabulary of common words to describe events and present short, prepared speeches.
This sample comment demonstrates how a science teacher has reported a Stage 4 EAL/D student’s English language progress in science. The overall EAL/D phase was reported on in the first page of the report.
Idaa’s English language in science has progressed. She regularly uses topic vocabulary to explain her ideas and her sentences show increases confidence, correct grammatical structure and mostly accurate use of subject-specific vocabulary. To support Idaa’s English language development in the classroom, she has been provided with diagrams, flowcharts and modelled texts which support her to understand and make connections between key ideas and topics. Idaa has a bilingual dictionary which helps her connect and clarify key words and concepts in her first language to her study of English language
This sample comment demonstrates how a teacher could report on the adjustments made to support a student with disability in the primary setting.
Blake has enthusiastically participated in PD/H/PE this semester demonstrating increased confidence when working in a group. Throughout the ‘Everybody Active’ initiative, Blake explored a wider range of movements leading to improved flexibility and strength, which he used to great effect in his class performance at the whole school assembly this term. This commitment to increasing his fitness, also contributed to him representing the district in the multiclass shot put and discus events for the first time. Using the speech-to-text function on his iPad, Blake has been able to complete his project on being active every day. Blake needs to use his self-regulation strategies every day to manage his emotions when feeling overwhelmed in the playground. By practising these strategies, (for example., counting to 10, 3 deep breaths or moving to a quiet zone), he would then be able to use these when he begins to feel anxious.
This sample comment demonstrates how a teacher could report on the adjustments made to support a student with disability in the secondary setting.
Adelaide has shown consistent effort and application in science this semester. She has investigated ‘Chemical Change and Ecology’ and made a positive start in her student research project. She has a sound understanding of the concepts taught in science, including the properties of different elements and the physical states of matter. Working with school support staff and visual aids, Adelaide can safely conduct an experiment and report her findings to the class. She should continue to use Auslan to develop and support her understanding of concepts, particularly as she finds verbal conversations exhausting. Adelaide reads for meaning and often asks for clarification on subject matter and/or vocabulary that she is not familiar with. Adelaide would benefit from continuing to use all available resources to build her knowledge of scientific terms.
Paulina collaborates effectively with peers to complete tasks to a high standard in the kitchen environment. She has demonstrated her outstanding knowledge of hygiene and safety standards, and coffee preparation and assists her peers while serving coffee. Paulina needs to keep working on developing her skills in planning the order of her food preparation, as this will assist her in achieving a more efficient delivery. She has completed the written components of the course to a satisfactory standard, however, needs to ensure she includes all relevant information to reflect her industry knowledge.