Here are a few tips that will help you write good useful comments.
- Use ACTIVE language. For example: Avoid statements like, "Billy had been doing his work daily..." Instead, try "Billy did his homework daily..."
- Focus on GROWTH. The grade is (or should be) obvious on the report. Therefore, writing a comment that solely speaks of the grade is, in many cases, redundant. Instead, focus on what the grade implies: effort and growth.
- If you need to deliver difficult news, try to lead the comment with something positive and end with my 4th tip.
- Include what YOU WILL DO to help the student over the course of the next school term. Often comments focus on what the student must do, but do not tell how the teacher is going to support those efforts.
Bonus tip related to #3:
If you know a student has done particularly bad and the news is not good, reach out to the parent(s) ahead of the report and begin the discussion. Also, inform your administrator about the news so she can prepare to support your efforts as well.