I really like the report card alert system. I am very hesitant to use the student comment feature because I think I would miss new student/parent comments. If the student comment alert was similar to the report card alert, I would definitely give it a try.
A thought bubble appears next to a score when there is a new comment on it but goes away once you have clicked on that score (it assumes you have looked at it once you click on it). I suppose if you are frequently entering individual assessments and don't have time to read the new comments, you might forget to go back and look at it.
Are you wanting the thought bubble alerts to stick around longer and have a more intentional dismissal system?
I think the bubble next to the name and standard is good, but my concern is that I wouldn't notice it right away. I open the gradebook every day, but I don't look at every class or scan through the scores. The Report Card alert was bright yellow next to the class on the left hand menu list. Something that sort of pops up there to say new comments or something, just to know you should check that class out. Does that make sense?