Sample Report Card Comments for Social Studies

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Writing a meaningful report card comment is no easy feat, made more difficult by the fact that you must do this 20 times or more depending on your class size. Teachers must find phrases that accurately and succinctly summarize a student's progress, usually for every subject.

Determining how best to deliver both positive and negative news through report card comments is a unique challenge but it becomes easier when you have a list of helpful phrases to fall back on. Use these phrases and sentence stems as inspiration the next time you sit down to write social studies report card comments.

Phrases That Describe Strengths

Try some of the following positive phrases that tell about a student's strength in your report card comments for social studies. 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:

  1. Utilizes [maps, globes, and/or atlases] to locate [continents, oceans, and/or hemispheres].
  2. Identifies a variety of social structures in which they live, learn, work and play and can describe dynamic relationships within these.
  3. Explains the significance of [national holidays, people, and symbols] on the global and individual level.
  4. Establishes a sense of their place in history to describe how specific events in the past have impacted them.
  5. Describes how different cultural, economical, political, and geographical factors influenced a single event or time period in history.
  6. Explains their own rights and responsibilities in society and can tell what it means to them to be a good citizen.
  7. Utilizes social studies vocabulary correctly in context.
  8. Demonstrates an understanding of the structures and purposes of government.
  9. Displays awareness of how people and institutions promote change and can provide at least one example of this (either past or present).
  10. Applies process skills in social studies such as [drawing conclusions, sequencing, understanding different points of view, exploring and investigating problems, etc.] in a variety of scenarios.
  11. Analyzes and evaluates the role of [trade] in society and is able to tell a few factors that influence the [production of goods].
  12. Supports reasoning with evidence during discussions and debates.

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:

  1. Is showing improvement in describing the influences of [belief and tradition on culture].
  2. Applies social studies vocabulary correctly in context with support such as multiple-choice options. Continued practice using vocabulary terms is needed.
  3. A goal for this student moving forward is being able to explain what factors influence [where a person or group of people decide to live].
  4. Continues to progress toward the learning goal of [describing how personal identity is constructed].
  5. Utilizes [maps, globes, and/or atlases] to locate [continents, oceans, and/or hemispheres] with guidance. We will continue working toward independence with this.
  6. Continues to develop skills associated with analyzing multiple sources to collect information about a subject. We will use these skills much more often in the future and continue to sharpen them.
  7. Partially identifies the significance of [geography on culture and communication]. This is a good area to focus our attention on.
  8. Describes a few ways that culture can influence human behavior and choices. Our goal is to name even more by the end of the year.
  9. Developing an understanding of how accounts of past events differ and why it is important to critically examine varying perspectives.
  10. Understands some of the reasons that [a body of government might form] and begins to describe the relationship between [people and institutions].
  11. Has a limited understanding of how to compare and contrast that we will continue working on.
  12. Determines some but not yet most of the factors at play in historical instances of [conflict resolution].

If a student lacks motivation or doesn't put forth effort, consider including that in the larger report card rather than the social studies section. You should try to keep these comments related to academics as this is not the place to discuss behavioral issues.

Other Growth-Centric Sentence Stems

Here are a few more sentence stems that you can use to set goals for student learning. Be specific about where and how you have determined that a student requires assistance. Try to set a target for each area of improvement that you identify.

The student:

  • Demonstrates a need for...
  • Requires additional help with...
  • Could benefit from...
  • Needs to be encouraged to...
  • Will work toward independence with...
  • Demonstrates some improvement in...
  • Needs help to increase...
  • Would benefit from practicing...