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What makes Feedback Genie special—and unique—is that it's the only solution crystallizes the process for writing narrative feedback. The most classic paragraph format is the inverted pyramid—topic sentence, supporting information and a conclusion. Other computer-assisted solutions lack one or more of these writing elements. Without a full complement, teachers must revert to typing their ideas or continually copy/paste text from other sources in order to fill in the gaps. The additional steps required to overcome this shortcoming undermine any time-saving benefits other programs offer.
Report card formats vary from school to school. Some schools provide a small section while others allow an unlimited amount of space. We invite you to consider the following suggestions that can be incorporated into your reporting format given time and available space.
If space allows, this section is a generic paragraph that summarizes recent academic term—the information, key concepts and skills incorporated into discussions, as well as activities and projects. The term overview can also highlight objectives and goals. More broadly, it provides the context for individual student achievement. It's a section that shows on all student report cards for a given course or class.
Ideally, self-contained teachers would compose a paragraph for every subject whereas specialists or secondary teachers might have short paragraphs representing key learning strands for their discipline. For example, an elementary teacher might have one paragraph on behavior, another on work habits, then paragraphs that relate to each subject. Specialists or secondary teachers might have a paragraph related to each key concept or technique for that discipline. An evaluation sentences would be the topic sentence summing up how well the student has mastered a subject or key strand.
Sharing specific observable behaviors by each student helps the teacher demonstrate objectivity. When providing evidence, highlight student strongest areas first. Identify weaknesses afterward. Many schools utilize progress reports with letters, numerics or check boxes that indicate the student's level of performance. If your school utilizes progress reports with descriptors or numerics that already indicate how well a student meets a certain standard or expectation, avoid similar verbiage as well as comments that merely mention task completion. If low marks were earned, the student and parents expect and deserve to know why. Writing "Johnny averaged a score of 72 percent" simply won't cut it. Share any underlying reason(s) why the student earned low scores referring to earlier discussions, activities, projects, homework, tests, etc.
Impact statements highlight the significance and implications of supporting details. Impact statements provide greater depth to narratives because they explain how student decisions and actions help or hinder success. While supporting details are subordinate to an evaluation, impact sentences are subordinate to supporting details.
Reveal a path that guides the student to the next level. For students that need significant improvement in multiple areas, the teacher should limit recommendations to a manageable few, providing clear, actionable steps how the parent can help. For students that excel or those who are already on track provide suggestions for challenging enrichment activities at home. Next steps can also include what the teacher/school will do to support the student moving forward.
This section might only be a few sentences, yet when written thoughtfully and purposefully your closing paragraph can accomplish many things:
Commending the student on progress/achievement
Boosting student self-esteem and self-confidence
Encouraging the student to strive toward higher goals
Developing a good rapport between the teacher/family
Closing remarks are a wonderful way of wrapping up summative evaluations. When done well it instills hope that with continued focus and determination, the future is bright.