3.2 Scoring strengths


Scoring guide for strengths

Here’s how we score this item:

  • High Provides three or more details on the child’s strengths/interests AND provides one or more generic positives/ explanations of what the teacher likes about the positives.
    • Note that comments like “doing well academically,” “smart,” or “strong student” can be counted as either details or generic comments– be generous on 3rd detail.
  • Medium Provides either multiple details of things student does well (above grade level in reading, turns in work on time) with no broad comment or explanation (a great student; that’s so wonderful to see) OR has multiple generic positives with two or fewer details.
  • Low Either shares positives after worries/concerns, shares no positives, or has only one generic positive (She’s great; No academic worries)

Here’s the trickiest part of this item! Teachers can share positives at any point during the opening and so you might be scrolling back to this item and changing your score as a teacher goes back to saying nice things about the student. Most teachers do it right in beginning, but that isn’t always the case! Also note that timing matters– if the teacher leads with what is wrong with the child, it doesn’t matter how nice they are later- that gets a low score.


Now let’s see what it looks like in practice!

If the participant says…. So, you know, just, I’m sure you know, but Katie’s a voracious reader. She reads above grade level, she’s always has a book in her hand, and that’s such a amazing thing to see in a student to to always be reading. So she’s, she’s definitely she’s definitely remarkable.

They would be scored… High

Because… The teacher shared multiple details about the child’s strengths and interests including 1) she’s a voracious reader; 2) she reads above grade level; 3) it’s amazing to see a student always reading AND the teacher has a generic positive about the student; “she’s definitely remarkable!” Note that you can be generous in scoring the third detail– we are looking for a nice mix of specifics and broader explanations of why the teacher likes the behavior or what the teacher thinks.


If the participant says…. Yeah, she’s doing well with her academics.

They would be scored… Low

Because… There are no details here– this counts as one generic positive and that isn’t enough to show a parent that the teacher knows and cares about their child.


If the participant says…. Well, first off, I want to talk about ways in which that some of her strengths in my classroom, which have been really positive and, and really influential of the other students and the general environment class. She is a very hardworking student, and it’s apparent to me. She is above grade level in reading, which is amazing. She works really hard in that, and she is just an avid reader. You can always find her nose in a book, and she really has a kind of a keen interest in non-fiction, which is really interesting and, and really exciting to see out of a ninth grade student.

They would be scored… High

Because… This teacher went all in on describing Katie’s strengths! There are at least three positive details about the child as well as broad statements such as “which is amazing”


If the participant says…. So, it’s been a pleasure to have Katie in class so far this year. She’s a really bright student, I can tell that she has a really strong passion for reading

They would be scored… Medium

Because… Here the teacher has one generic comment (a pleasure) and two sort of more specific details (bright and passion for reading). That isn’t enough to score as a high.


If the participant says…. She is doing really well academically, she’s on grade level for everything, reading. She, she sometimes struggles to focus on doing independent work, she’ll pull out a book instead of doing her assigned task,

They would be scored… Medium

Because… Note that the teacher pivoted to something that sounds a lot more like a critique than a positive here. There aren’t enough details about what Katie is doing well to be in the high– but there is a statement about her doing well academically and being on grade level for everything. The two overlap, but we are okay (again) here with repetition and that’s enough for medium.


Ready to try a few on your own? Click on the greeting quiz to see how you would score some openings! Remember: To pass the certification test for this item you need 80% or higher accuracy!