I work in academia and recently got a student writing his bachelor thesis. While he was about two weeks late in contacting me (which was apparently normal according to my colleagues; he also explained to me that he was busy), he seems to read the papers I recommended carefully before contacting me.
My professor (my boss) asked me whether I consider that student as good. I just told her that the student seems to read papers carefully. Now I wonder whether I did it correctly.
In general, when my superior ask me about the impression of my new subordinate, should I emphasize the good aspect or the bad aspect? (Some people told me that I should emphasize bad aspect so that if that subordinate turns out to be an incompetent one (i.e. yielding bad results), I would not be the one to blame.)
Should I mention something that is already normal e.g. in my case, the student contacted me about two weeks late?
Would there be any cultural differences in dealing with this (I am in Germany)? Would the answer be different if I am in a non-academic field?