It's that joyful time of the semester again where everyone is setting and marking a lot of assessments and writing junior reports. Tensions are high, patience is low and sleep is something we catch up on during the weekends. Many classroom teachers are writing reports for close to 200 students. While teachers are more than capable to writing their own comments, it is a repetitive task - often commenting many times on the same tasks or skills, and it can be hard to come up with original comments particularly towards the end of the reporting cycle.
I came across a page on SchoolReportWriter discussing using ChatGPT to generate report comments, and while I'm not sure I would want to rely on ChatGPT to write comments about specific students, I was interested to see what it could do to generate comment banks for staff to use across the school. I concentrated on specific elements within a report comment, so that different sentences could be pieced together from different categories to make up a complete (or near complete) comment. Obviously they would still need to be personalised and checked to ensure that they meet the requirements of the school's report style guide.
I used Chat GPT to generate a series of generic report comments for specific topics such as :
- academic achievement based on basic performance descriptors (Outstanding, High, Sound, Basic, Limited)
- technology use
- attention and application to school work
- completion of classwork
- research skills
- critical and creative thinking
I used ChatGPT and the following prompts to generate the comments:
I was actually really impressed with most of the comments that were generated, and I ended up with 17 pages of report comments that could be used by most staff. I did go through and make edits. One of the main issues was that some of the comments were generated in first person. I experimented with asking ChatGPT to produce comments in a passive voice, but I didn't like the way the sentences were structured - they were much too clunky. It was easier to rephrase them myself. I also deleted some of the comments because I felt they were too negative, not phrased in a way that parents would appreciate or didn't convey a message that was consistent with the key messages of the school.
Report comment banks are nothing new, but ChatGPT allowed me to generate a comprehensive report comment bank very quickly and I was able to tailor it for specific items. If I was to develop a HSIE specific set I would enter specific tasks, fieldwork, skills, Business Reports, etc. I was impressed with the ability of ChatGPT to complete a job that will hopefully reduce teacher workload. Click the icon below to download the Reports Comment bank generated by ChatGPT.
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the Geoactive text book series.