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Do the following sentences grammatically correctly express satisfaction with the candidates performance:

We considered your progress against the Ph.D. degree timeline, work habits, publication and research output, motivation and commitment. Based on this review, I would like to encourage you to continue your progress and acknowledge your superior performance to date.

I'm particularly uncertain about the first sentence, which almost sounds like the opposite of what is tried to be said.

  • Just change considered to assessed and you're good. We assessed your progress against the Ph.D. degree timeline, and considered your work habits, publication and research output, along with your motivation and commitment. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 15 '18 at 21:47
  • Although the sense of your second sentence is clear, the sentence is ambiguous. It would be possible to construe it with either for you to or I ahead of acknowledge, meaning entirely different things. – Ronald Sole Sep 15 '18 at 23:08
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You are correct, and the word "consider", while generally neutral, has negative implications in this context. This is likely because it's often used euphemistically to describe unsatisfactory performance. For example:

We consider your progress against the Ph.D. degree timeline to be lacking.

As Tᴚoɯɐuo suggests, replace "consider" with "assess" or "evaluate" and this removes any stigma.

We have evaluated your progress against the Ph.D. timeline ... and find it satisfactory.

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