Drafting ESL report card comments for your second language learners involves taking into account both the academic and social language proficiency levels in the target language.

These ESL report card comments consist mostly of academic language proficiency standards – those elements of English needed for the child to communicate in academic settings, absorb new concepts, analyze complex academic material, and think critically.

Because one of the best practices in ESL instruction involves providing ample opportunities to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language, the following ESL report card comments are divided into those respective categories.

Furthermore, within those categories, you’ll see divisions: beginning, intermediate, advanced, and advanced high.

Note that an ESL student in any grade level could be at a beginning stage; English proficiency level is not directly correlated to grade level. It simply depends on the child’s English proficiency, without regard to grade level.

Report Card Comment Qualifiers for English Language Learners

When using any of the ESL report card comments below, make them more/less positive or negative simply by adding or eliminating a word or phrase.

Examples:

  • _____is progressing very well…
  • _____meeting standards…
  • _____struggling with…
  • _____frequently…
  • _____often…
  • _____does not…
  • _____soars in the area of…
  • _____rarely…
  • _____not progressing well…
  • _____has a hard time…
  • _____excelling in…
  • _____needs improvement with…

ESL Report Card Comments Bank

General ESL Report Card Comments for Reading

  • _______ regularly decodes words using sound-letter relationships, prefixes, suffixes, base words, and cognates.
  • _______reads from left to right, top to bottom with ease.
  • _______needs reinforcement in new vocabulary.
  • _______ has a strong sight word vocabulary.
  • _______ frequently uses reading aids such as illustrations, text features, context clues, and graphic organizers to comprehend text.
  • As the semester progresses, _______ requires decreasing amounts of linguistic accommodations.
  • _______greatly benefits from frequent rephrasing and repetition of unfamiliar material.
  • It is evident that _______ applies prior knowledge when reading to assist her in understanding the text fully.
  • _______actively and confidently participates in readers/writers workshop.
  • I recommend that _______ develop her stamina for reading silently for increasing amounts of time.
  • _______ is strong in (insert any specific reading skill).
  • I recommend that _______utilizes a bilingual dictionary when appropriate to assist with comprehension.
  • _______ demonstrates frequently that he utilizes meta-cognitive reading strategies (e.g. making connections) to comprehend text.

Proficiency-Level Specific Comments for Reading

Beginning

  • ______has little to no ability to read and understand English within an academic context.
  • ______reading comprehension level is defined as beginning.
  • ______understanding of English is limited to some high-frequency words.
  • ______is highly dependent on prior knowledge and visuals to comprehend text.
  • ______has difficulty understanding fundamental English language structures.
  • ______often reads slowly, word by word.

Intermediate

  • ______has ability to read and understand simple English within an academic context.
  • ______struggles to comprehend grade-level texts at an independent level.
  • ______reading comprehension level is defined as intermediate.
  • ______understands a variety of English vocabulary across contexts.
  • ______routinely applies some higher-order thinking skills when reading texts but relies on scaffolding to sustain understanding.
  • ______regularly re-reads a text to clarify meaning.
  • ______exhibits a growing understanding of fundamental English language structures.
  • ______often reads slowly and in short phrases.

Advanced

  • With accommodations, ______ comprehends grade-appropriate English within an academic context.
  • ______occasionally has difficulty with less commonly-used vocabulary words.
  • ______reading comprehension level is defined as advanced.
  • ______displays a solid understanding of multiple-meaning words.
  • ______understands a variety of grade-appropriate English vocabulary across contexts when sufficient support is provided.
  • ______routinely applies higher-order thinking skills when reading texts, though may sometimes require scaffolding.
  • ______demonstrates that he/she is using English language structures to comprehend grade-level texts.
  • ______commonly reads familiar simple sentences and longer phrases with appropriate speed and rate.

Advanced High

  • _______ comprehends grade-appropriate English within an academic context while provided minimal linguistic accommodations.
  • _______basic and higher-level comprehension skills are on par with native English-speaking peers.
  • _______level of English vocabulary acquisition is comparable to his/her native English-speaking peers, with some exceptions related to technical or low-frequency terms.
  • _______frequently recites texts with grade-appropriate expression, speed, rate, and intonation.

General ESL Report Card Comments for Writing

  • _______regularly makes the effort to put into practice recently-learned vocabulary from various content areas.
  • _______applies English spelling rules and patterns with accuracy.
  • After drafting, _______ edits her writing, noting standard grammar usage.
  • _______displays an increasing ability to apply more complex grammatical structures in his writing.
  • _______ is progressing very well in (insert any specific writing skill).
  • _______utilizes a variety of sentence structures in her writing.
  • I recommend that _______utilizes a bilingual dictionary when needed to assist with appropriate vocabulary usage.
  • _______is able to express himself through writing quite easily.

Proficiency-Level Specific Comments for Writing

Beginning

  • _______demonstrates little ability to meaningfully express himself in English withing grade-appropriate writing tasks.
  • _______ writing is most clear and accurate when using high-frequency words along with simple sentences.
  • Most frequently, ________uses the present tense.
  • Semantic and syntactic errors in _______writing hinders readers’ understanding.

Intermediate

  • ______exhibits limited English which inhibits his meaningful expression of ideas in writing.
  • ______applies high-frequency English vocabulary in her writing.
  • ______frequently has difficulty expressing abstract ideas.
  • ______limited vocabulary often causes repetition of ideas.
  • ______uses the past and future tenses inconsistently.
  • Semantic and syntactic errors in parts of _______writing hinders readers’ understanding.
  • Though _______ routinely has inaccuracies in her writing, it’s wonderful that she’s taking risks in her writing.

Advanced

  • With linguistic accommodations, _______expresses himself meaningfully in grade-appropriate writing assignments.
  • _______demonstrates a solid grasp of English grammatical rules.
  • _______writing increasing has a more academic tone.
  • _______writing is generally understood by readers.
  • _______occasionally showcases errors in his writing associated with ESL learners such as…

Advanced High

  • With minimal linguistic accommodations, _______expresses himself meaningfully in grade-appropriate writing assignments.
  • _______demonstrates a strong grasp of English grammatical rules.
  • _______writing is easily understood by its readers.
  • Overall, _______writing is comparable to those of his native English-speaking peers.
  • _______writing is generally understood by readers.
  • _______errors in writing are minor.
  • Though _______ is a strong writer, he/she could use some reinforce in (insert any specific writing skill).
  • _______occasionally showcases errors in his writing associated with ESL learners such as…

General ESL Report Card Comments for Listening

  • _______easily recognizes the elements of the English sound system.
  • With practice and time, _______grasps basic and academic vocabulary, expressions, and language structures heard in classroom instruction.
  • _______routinely seeks clarification of listening comprehension when needed.
  • To support listening comprehension, ______often uses linguistic, contextual, and visual cues.
  • _______strategically builds listening understanding of the English language through various medias such as video and audio.
  • With a bit of explanation, _______comprehends figurative language and more complex spoken language.
  • _______has little difficultly understanding the main idea and essential details of a conversation.
  • _______easily follows instructions, responds to requests/questions, and retells a sequence of events.
  • Listening to music and watching television in English will support his English listening comprehension.

Proficiency-Level Specific Comments for Listening

Beginning

  • _______struggles to understand spoken English in an academic setting.
  • _______has a hard time comprehending basic conversations and discussions, even when visual cues are provided and the topics familiar.
  • With little support, _______frequently has trouble understanding instructions.
  • ______usually does not ask for assistance when understanding isn’t clear.
  • ______chooses to observe peers for cues or remain silent when comprehension fails.

Intermediate

  • With unfamiliar topics, ________ needs verbal and visual cues to aid listening comprehension.
  • _______comprehends basic high-frequency spoken English within academic environments.
  • _______is able to identify the key words and phrases needed to grasp the main idea of a message.
  • When comprehension breaks down, _______routinely asks for clarification by asking questions and asking the speaker to slow down, rephrase, or repeat.

Advanced

  • With linguistic support, _______ has the ability to comprehend academic English within academic settings.
  • _______grasps well the main idea and details of the spoken messages.
  • Occasionally, _______requests that the speaker rephrase, repeat, or slow down in order to clarify meaning.
  • _______understands elaborate discussions, directions, and conversations even though she at times needs a bit of time to process the information.

Advanced High

  • With minimal accommodations, _______understands grade-appropriate spoken English within an academic setting.
  • _______understands elaborate discussions, directions, and conversations with only an occasional need for more time to process the information.
  • At times, _______ needs cues to process specialized language.
  • ______habitually comprehends the main idea and details of the spoken word comparable to her native English-speaking peers.
  • ______rarely requests the speaker to slow down, rephrase, or repeat information in order to clarify understanding.

General ESL Report Card Comments for Speaking

  • ______produces comprehensible sounds in English.
  • ______routinely speaks with clear and accurate detail.
  • ______actively contributes to interactions among peers.
  • ______grade-appropriate vocabulary is expanding at a steady pace.
  • ______speaks using a variety of grammatical structures.
  • ______strategically shifts between academic and social English within the appropriate contexts.
  • ______applies a range of vocabulary necessary when giving and requesting information.
  • ______is able to express her feelings, opinions, thoughts, and ideas with ease.

Proficiency-Level Specific Comments for Speaking

Beginning

  • _______struggles to speak English in an academic setting.
  • _______often speaks using simple phrases or words and the topics are very familiar.
  • _______exhibits a very limited vocabulary.
  • In order to connect sentences more fluently, _______ requires an improvement in grammar usage.
  • _______linguistic errors significantly hinders the message he tries to communicate.
  • _______pronunciation greatly hinders communication.

Intermediate

  • ______often uses English most frequently heard in academic settings.
  • ______English pronunciation is generally understood by others.
  • ______easily expresses himself in simple sentences.
  • ______linguistic errors only hinder communication when more complex English is used.
  • ______exhibits basic vocabulary needed to perform within academic contexts.
  • ______grammar and semantic usage is emerging. However, she most often uses the present tense.

Advanced

  • _______frequently speaks using grade-appropriate English within academic contexts.
  • _______comfortably participates in conversations with peers.
  • With ease, _______ discusses familiar topics with others using abstract and content-based terms.
  • _______exhibits a solid understanding of the basic English grammatical rules.
  • _______significant linguistic errors occur most frequently when she’s attempting to use more complex grammar and sentence structures.
  • Though _______at times mispronounces words, her speaking is generally understood by others.

Advanced High

  • ______speaks grade-appropriate English well with minimal support.
  • ______frequently and actively participates in academic conversations with peers.
  • When communicating, ______utilizes content-based and abstract vocabulary on par with that of his native English-speaking peers.
  • ______commonly using complex sentences and grammatical structures similar to those of her native English-speaking peers.
  • ______rarely makes linguistic errors that interfere with his general message.
  • Though _______ at times mispronounces words, his overall communication is rarely affected.

Wrapping Up: ESL Report Card Comments

Drafting meaningful ESL report card comments for your elementary learners need not be too time-consuming and overwhelming.

These comments should provide for you some guidance and speed up the report card comment writing process.

Also remember to begin and end on a positive note, and include next steps.

And if you’d like your ESL comments to be even “beefier”, head on over to report card comment heaven! You’ll find every type of comment to fit your needs.

Until next time,

~Missi

Reference: Texas Education Agency (TEA) Chapter 74. Curriculum Requirements Subchapter A. Required Curriculum