• Comment database files are created and maintained in the Assessment Writer, but they are separate files to teachers' class files. Each comment database is given a name and a .cdb extension, eg Maths.cdb.
  • You can have multiple comment databases open simultaneously, in the Assessment Writer, switching between files via the Window menu.
  • You can have as many different comment databases as you wish, eg one for English, Maths, a general work habits one, etc. Different users can have whatever combination of comment databases that are appropriate for them to use.
  • Each teacher may set up their own comment databases, or a group of teachers, a faculty or curriculum area may create comment databases for use by several teachers. Or a combination of approaches may be used.
  • Comment databases are completely portable and may be created and/or copied to any location you wish. For example, if a group of teachers create a common comment database, it can be copied into the appropriate folder on each teacher's Notebook computer.
  • Comment databases are designed to allow comment snippets, phrases or sentences to be set up, with these then being selected and combined, as required, in teacher's class files. Therefore, if well-constructed, comment databases aid in the formulation of interesting and varied comments on reports.
  • The format of each comment database is hierarchical. For example:

 

Category

Values

Comments

Writing

High

{He/She/Name} has submitted an excellent folio
   

{His/Her/Name's} writing folio showed an ability to express complex ideas in fluent pieces of writing.

 

Medium

Appropriate comments

 

Low

Appropriate comments

Reading

High

Appropriate comments

 


 

Creating a new Comment Database

  • Run the Assessment Writer, in the same way as you do to work on your class files.
  • From the File menu select New Comment Database.

OR

Press Ctrl N.

A blank comment database window is displayed, with <New Comment Database> appearing in the title bar.

  • Click File, and then Properties.
  • In the Title field, enter an appropriate description, eg Maths Comments.

This will be shown in the Information box in the Tasks window when you hover over the particular comment database.

In addition, this title will appear as the heading in the printout of the comment database.

  • Press Ctrl S OR Click the Save icon.
  • In the Save As window, select the drive, path and name for the new comment database. It will have a .cdb extension, eg Maths.cdb.

 

Setting up the Comment Database

Once you have created a new comment database, or if you want to add to an already existing one:

  • Select Category from the menu bar or right-click in the Categories box and select Add.
  • Add the Category description and click OK.
  • Select Value from the menu bar or right-click in Values and select Add.
  • Add the Value description and click OK.
  • Add further categories, and values for them, in the same way.
  • Now, comments are entered for each of the different category values, with each row of the comments table being one comment:
  • Click the category and then the value, to which you want to add comments.
  • In the Comments table, click the blank row – the one with an asterisk in it.
  • To insert special name and pronoun substitution text, press Ctrl I or click the Substitution icon, when positioned at a point in a comment where you want a student's name and/or an appropriate pronoun to appear.
  • Select the appropriate Name/Pronoun combination – if the default selection is not correct – and press Enter or click OK.

NB Press F1 when in the Name/Pronoun substitution box for full details of its options

  • Type in the rest of the comment.
  • Repeat for all other comments required for the particular value, and for other values and categories.
  • Spell check the comments in the comment database, selecting from the options in the Spell menu, eg Check All.


Editing and deleting comments

Standard editing tools (eg cut, copy, paste) are available in the Comments section. Right-click to display the menu.

To delete a comment row:

  • Select the row you want to delete.
  • Select Edit, then select Delete Comment.

Delete a Category or a Value via the Category and Value menu bar options, respectively.

Re-ordering

You may change the order of any of the categories, any of the values or any of the comments.

It's best to have the most useful or commonly-used comments at the top of the list, to make it easier when drawing upon them in the Comment Tutor section of your class files.

  • Click the category, value or comment you wish to move up or down.
  • Click the Move Up or Move Down icons applicable to the appropriate section, until it is positioned in the correct place.


Displaying existing Comment Databases

Just as you can display and open your class files from the Tasks window, you may do the same for comment databases.

A Display/Hide comment databases icon in the Tasks window allows you to toggle on or off a comment database panel.

This panel, when displayed, lists the comment databases found in the default location set in the Assessment Writer, eg C:\Program Files\Quick Vic Reporting\Comments.

As you move the mouse pointer down over each comment database, an information box displays details about it, eg the number of comments in it.

As you open and close comment databases, as with your class files, you will be returned to the Tasks window. From here you may select further comment databases to open, close down completely or perform other tasks allowed in the Assessment Writer.

Opening a Comment Database

  • If the comment databases panel is not already showing in the Tasks window, click the Display comment databases icon.
  • If your comment databases are then listed in the panel, click the one you want to open, as shown above.

OR

  • If your comment databases are not listed:
  • Click File in the menu bar.
  • Click Open a Comment Database.
  • From the Selection box that appears, find the location of your comment databases and double-click the one required.
  • A message will ask if you want to make this the default location, making it easier to find them in future. Click Yes if this is where your comment files are normally stored, and they will be listed in the Tasks window from then on.

Additional Features

Listed below are some of the additional tools that enable you to fully utilise comment databases.

Spell check comments

From the Spell menu you can make a selection as to the components of the database that require spell checking, as you would in a class file. For further details on this refer back to the Spell Check section.

Print a listing of all the comments in the database

You may print out a complete listing of the contents of a comment database file – its categories, values and comments

  • Open the comment database you wish to print.
  • Select Print Comments from the File menu.
  • From the Print box then displayed, choose the print options you require.
  • Click OK to begin printing.

Import/ Export comments

Importing comments is an alternative to manually entering categories, values and comments directly into a comment database file in the Assessment Writer. For example, you may set up the comments in Microsoft Excel or Word and then import them into a comment database via File -> Import Comments.

To be able to import comments from another source, they must be in a special format, called comma-separated value (or CSV format). Within the CSV files, the comment data fields to be imported must be inserted in a set manner. Care must also be taken when comments being imported contain embedded blank lines.

Example file format:

Before you can import comments, you must firstly create and open the comment database into which they are to be imported.


Name/Pronoun substitution

NOTE: If you wish to use name/pronoun substitution in your comments, the special codes must be entered correctly in your .csv file , in accordance with the following:

  • Curly brackets must surround the control text, eg. {His/Her/Name} .
  • Use a slash (ie /) between the various components of the control text.
  • Use the case that you require, eg. {His/Her} will produce Proper case substitution; {HIS/HER}, all upper case, etc.
  • All pronoun substitution options must have both the male and female pronoun, with the male pronoun first.
  • For name only substitution, enter either {Name} or {Name's} only.
  • For pronoun substitution only, insert only the required pronoun combinations, eg. {He/She}, {his/her} etc.
  • If substitution text is entered in any way other than in the required format, eg. {She/He} instead of {He/She}, correct substitution will not occur, but the text as typed will appear in the comment.

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