Friday, January 15, 2010

Teacher Comments

Last week, someone in my Twitter network was discussing teacher comments and wondered what a WORDLE of the comments might show. I thought it was a good idea, and asked a local school district to share their comment list so that I could copy and paste into the WORDLE interface.

Here is the resulting WORDLE:

I was looking particularly for an overall positive or negative tone, or a message that particular behaviors were more important than the content or associated skills. With this WORDLE, I get an overall neutral message. There's not anything jumping out at me that screams all negative or all positive.

There are some words missing though, I think, such as "Proficient," "Mastery," and "Assessment." Words like "improved," "outstanding," and "quality" should be bigger, meaning that they represent a higher percentage of usage than words like "missing," "weak," or "failure."

I think what I'm really looking at here is an opportunity. For many teachers/schools, the report card is the sole communication tool. With a little tweaking, we could have a more positive frame around the comments that go on that report card associated with the representation of learning that has taken place.

What are your thoughts? What would your "Teacher Comment Wordle" look like?



  1. Interesting what came of the comments teachers are restricted to using on digitally produced report cards. Wondering what teachers might say if they had adequate time, energy and resources to provide parents with an individualized picture of their child's strengths and needs in the classroom?

    A wonderful question to ponder .... has technology taken away from, and reduced authentic, individualized evaluations of kids to pigeonholing them into predetermined comments?

  2. I was wondering if anyone would catch that. I thought this might be a good action research project, and I kind of expected the list I used to be more neutral. Good eye, Mrs. Smith.