Writing personalized report card comments and phrases for each of your students is hard work, especially for math. Elementary students cover a lot of mathematical ground each year and a teacher must try to neatly summarize their progress in brief report card comments without leaving any significant information out. Use the following phrases to make this part of your job a little bit easier. Tweak them to make them work for your students.

## Phrases That Describe Strengths

Try some of the following positive phrases that tell about a student's strength in your report card comments for math. Feel free to mix and match chunks of them as you see fit. The bracketed phrases can be swapped out for more appropriate grade-specific learning targets.

Note: Avoid superlatives that aren't all that illustrative of skill such as, "This is their *best* subject," or, "The student demonstrates *most* knowledge about this topic." These don't help families to really understand what it is that a student can or can't do. Instead, be specific and use action verbs that precisely name a student's abilities.

The student:

- Is on track to develop all necessary skills and strategies for successfully [adding and subtracting within 20] by the end of the year.
- Demonstrates an understanding of the relationship between [multiplication and division and comfortably transitions between the two].
- Uses data to create charts and graphs with up to [three] categories.
- Uses knowledge of [place value concepts] to [accurately compare two or more two-digit numbers].
- Effectively uses supports such as [number lines, ten frames, etc.] to solve mathematical problems independently.
- Can name and simplify the resulting fraction when a whole is divided into
*b*equal parts and*a*parts are shaded [where*b*is greater than or equal to ___ and*a*is greater than or equal to ___]. - Provides written justification of thinking and points to evidence to prove that an answer is correct.
- Estimates the length of an object or line in [centimeters, meters, or inches] and names an appropriate measuring tool for measuring its exact length.
- Accurately and efficiently categorizes/names [shapes based on their attributes].
- Correctly solves for unknown values in [addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division] problems involving [two or more quantities, fractions, decimals, etc.].
- Consistently applies grade-level problem-solving strategies independently when presented with unfamiliar problems.
- Describes real-world applications of mathematical concepts such as [counting money, finding equivalent fractions, mental math strategies, etc.].

## Phrases That Describe Areas for Improvement

Choosing the right language for areas of concern can be tough. You want to tell families how their child is struggling in school and convey urgency where urgency is due without implying that the student is failing or hopeless.

Areas for improvement should be support- and improvement-oriented, focusing on what will benefit a student and what they will *eventually* be able to do rather than what they are currently unable to do. *Always assume that a student will grow.*

The student:

- Is continuing to develop skills needed for [partitioning shapes into equal parts]. We will continue practicing strategies for ensuring that these parts are equal.
- Demonstrates an ability to order objects by length but does not yet use units to describe the differences between them.
- Fluently [subtracts 10 from multiples of 10 through 500]. We are working on developing essential mental math strategies for this.
- Applies problem-solving strategies for [addition, subtract, multiplication, or division] when prompted. A goal moving forward is increased independence using these.
- Solves [single-step word problems] accurately with extra time. We will continue to practice doing this more efficiently as our class prepares to solve [two-step word problems].
- Begins to describe their process for solving word problems with guidance and prompting.
- Can convert fractions with [values less than 1/2, denominators not exceeding 4, numerators of one, etc.] into decimals. Shows progression toward our learning goal of doing this with more complex fractions.
- Additional practice with [addition facts within 10] is needed as we continue [increasing the size and number of addends in problems] to achieve grade-level standards.
- Tells time accurately to the nearest hour. Continued practice with half-hour intervals is recommended.
- Can name and identify [squares and circles]. By the end of the year, they should also be able to name and identify [rectangles, triangles, and quadrilaterals].
- Writes [two-digit numbers in expanded form] but requires considerable support doing this with [three- and- four-digit numbers].
- Approaches the learning goal of being able to [skip-count by 10s to 100] with extended time and scaffolding. This is a good area to focus our attention on.