5 Students, 5 Stories: What a Whole Child Perspective Reveals About Student Potential

ERB’s newly launched Whole Child Solution combines the assessment of academic achievement with measures of students’ social and emotional skills and their perceptions of their place in the school community. The resulting insights enable educators not only to understand where a student is today but also to identify the best path forward in helping each student reach their potential.  

To make the Whole Child Solution immediately and practically useful for educators, ERB 360 Access presents the results to you in a powerful data visualization. It provides a holistic snapshot of each student, offering insight into the factors that may foster or impede each students’ academic growth.

To see how this works in practice, let’s look at five students from “ERB Academy.” The names have been changed – and there is no actual ERB Academy – but these are data from real students who participated in the ERB pilot of our Whole Child Solution during the spring of 2023.

Georgia Hart

The chart above shows that Georgia Hart has an uneven profile of academic achievement, with particular strengths in Vocabulary and Verbal Reasoning. Her strong performance in Mathematics, combined with a weaker grasp of Quantitative Reasoning, suggests she can perform mathematical operations but does not see the bigger picture of how math concepts fit together.  

Georgia has a strong sense of belonging in the school community and feels very engaged by her studies. These are assets that can be leveraged to help Georgia focus and advance in her weaker academic areas. By contrast, Georgia has a low assessment of her ability to make responsible decisions, including how to respond when she faces a problem at school.  Helping Georgia learn how to navigate various problems or situations – both on her own and with the aid of others – will reinforce her commitment to the school community and may help jumpstart her academic growth in areas of relative weakness.

Ian Jackson

Ian Jackson is at the top of his class academically. His social awareness, relationship skills, and sense of belonging in the school community suggest he fits in well with the school culture and has a network of friends. While Ian has no apparent areas for remediation, it would be worth keeping an eye on his emotional well-being. Examination of his responses to survey questions in the emotional well-being index shows a moderate level of stress and unhappiness whose source is not apparent from his academic engagement and success in school. 

Collin Daniels

Collin Daniels is struggling academically. This may be affecting his emotional well-being in the form of heightened stress and not feeling positively about himself. However, Collin brings a high level of commitment to school, as is reflected in his strong sense of belonging and academic engagement. His social and emotional skills, particularly his self-management and responsible decision-making, will also help him respond effectively to tutoring or other learning support focused in those areas needing academic improvement.

Olivia Park

Like Collin, Olivia Park is struggling academically, and she will need extra support in order to stay on grade level. Olivia enjoys reading, and her Reading Comprehension score suggests she has a foundation that can support her growth in other areas. Before Olivia can make substantial progress academically, though, teachers will need to help her develop the tools that will enable her to be a more effective learner. Olivia’s skills in self-management and responsible decision-making, as well as her level of academic engagement, can all be strengthened. Supporting and motivating Olivia in these areas is a necessary first step to accelerating her academic progress.

Karen Leonard

Finally, Karen Leonard is a strong student who has fallen into the trap of persuading herself that she is not good at math. To exit that trap, it could be productive to build her self-awareness by cultivating a growth mindset with respect to quantitative studies. Karen’s strong self-management and responsible decision-making skills, combined with her academic engagement and sense of belonging in the school community, can aid her in escaping the “bad-at-math” quicksand and achieving her full potential in all subject areas.

The Pilot Study of our Whole Child Solution in spring 2023 showed us that each student is unique. When it comes to the intersections of academic performance, social and emotional skills, and sense of belonging and engagement, there are almost as many stories as there are students.  

ERB’s Whole Child Solution is a bundle of assessments that enables educators to gain a broad perspective on the supports and blockers that can help or hinder the academic progress of each student. Looking at areas of relative weakness helps determine what a student needs to work on. Looking at areas of strength suggests the levers that an empathetic educator can use to help a student fulfill their potential.  

In addition to the assessments themselves, ERB’s Whole Child Solution provides tips and tools for the educator who wants to jumpstart student growth in any area of academic learning, social and emotional skills, and engagement and belonging in the school community.

Learn more about ERB’s new Whole Child Solution, which provides data-driven insights for educators and families surrounding academic growth and achievement, social and emotional skills, and levels of student well-being and engagement.

About the Author

Thomas R. Rochon became president of ERB in 2017. He has held faculty appointments at Princeton University and Claremont Graduate University, a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, and a year as Fulbright Scholar in Japan. Administratively, Tom has served as dean and provost at Claremont Graduate University, as provost at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and as president of Ithaca College in New York. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was a regular speaker on European political trends for foreign service officers in the U.S. Department of State. Within the world of educational assessment, Tom has served as executive director of the GRE testing program at the Educational Testing Service. 

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