Google PageRank is too crude, though there was a scale – from 0 to 3. Alexa has little to say about novice blogs. A count of posts and comments is useful: generally speaking, a blog with 20 posts is better than one with 10. 100 comments are better than 20 (though it’s really not ethical to post fake comments on your own blog: you know who you are.)
I had been reading these blogs as they developed over the weeks, and of course had my own subjective views on which to base an assessment. But I was still seeking a simple, objective measure to validate my view. And I found it.
Technorati‘s count of ‘blog reactions’ was the single best (simple, powerful) measure of how well a blog had engaged in the conversation. Among this student class, there was a high of 26 and a low of 3; blogs with more than 10 reactions were above average.