Emotional vocabulary - the biggest challenge for Comparative Judgement?

"You seem to be asking me to use something that compares, judges and ranks kids?"

Emotional vocabulary matters. Look at the pairs of synonyms in the list below. In an educational context, is one more acceptable than the other? Why is this?

  • 'marking' or 'judging'?
  • 'grading' or 'ranking'?
  • 'assessing' or 'comparing'?

Our user research tells us that while in practice a comparative approach can be fairer (see earlier posts), the language inherent in the process can be a barrier. But what can be done?

Can't we just soften the tone?

We have looked at this but have always ended up in a bowl of 'word salad'. Let's look at some synonyms

  • Judging - decide, determine, deduce
  • Compare - contrast, weigh up, balance
  • Rank - classify, grade, order

RM Balance anyone?

The core terms are the right ones (Compare, Judge, Rank) because they are the most accurate. The challenge is not to change them, but to make them better understood.

How do we improve the understanding of the comparative process?

This remains a key focus for our team. There is a major focus on the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) to improve overall accessibility. The new Product Portal has been built from the ground up using the very latest and best design principles. For example, it takes a 'mobile first' approach and tries to use a vocabulary and tone that is welcoming and encouraging. We have also introduced a simple mobile judging experience (Top of the Class) to help people to get a quick idea of the underlying principles and benefits.

The experience for Admins and Judges in the main tool is our next big effort and we are taking time to listen to our users carefully. If you are not currently a user you can sign up for a free trial right now and let us know what you think.