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Finding the Right Balance in Addressing Student Wellbeing



The student experience is changing, both due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of modern factors that add stress and increase the risk of student burnout. District leadership is making changes to address growing concerns over student wellbeing, such as the increase in school violence following the return to in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year, the measurable learning loss students experienced following a year or more of remote learning, and the increased rate of student-reported burnout. At the same time, there is concern over implementing tools or assessments that require invasive questioning or controversial topics to the school community..

This requires a careful balancing act by educators and district administrators to support students, identify challenges that influence student learning, and implement interventions proactively. The right tools are key, which is why PASS is a trusted partner for many school districts aiming to ensure safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environments for their students.

Focusing on Key Factors that Influence Student Attitudes

PASS assesses nine factors related to school connectedness, self-efficacy, and motivation. By measuring against benchmarks established for each of the nine factors in these three categories, districts collect actionable data that helps identify where students most need support.

One of the reasons for doing this is that not all students will voice their concerns directly. In a case study, we looked at Daniel from Shevington High School (name changed for privacy), a student who was quiet, well-behaved, shy, and seemingly set for success. Daniel's teachers and counselors identified a fundamental lack of confidence in his abilities through an assessment designed to evaluate student attitudes towards self and school.



Focused entirely on Daniel’s attitude toward his performance in school, the PASS survey provided actionable insights to Shevington educators so they could intervene and support him before his low self-esteem impacted his performance. PASS focuses on these factors within the classroom, aiming to measure the impact of all stakeholders with a focus on early warning signs that students can convey within the survey.

You Have to Maslow Before You Can Bloom

Rather than a broad, sweeping survey that generates controversy, PASS looks only at what we can control within our sphere of influence as educators. Each factor measured by PASS has outcomes on which educators can act. How a student feels about school, their teachers, attendance, or their academic abilities are all measurable elements that can indicate potential challenges that will impact a student’s well-being in the future.

While Bloom’s Taxonomy offers a framework for the core skills and abilities students are expected to develop in school, students will struggle to develop these skills if they are deficient in any of the stages of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. PASS helps identify if a student lacks the sense of belonging, self-esteem, or motivation needed to succeed in developing new knowledge to achieve those goals. In a 2019 Edutopia video, psychiatrist Pamela Cantor noted that “when we’re able to combine social, emotional, affective, and cognitive development together, we are creating many, many more interconnections in the developing brain that enable children to accelerate learning and development.” Educators have been working tirelessly to provide this support to students. In a recent webinar, PASS Educational Consultant Scott Shapiro was joined by Theresa Bartholomew, Director of Educational Programs for Warrior Run School District in central Pennsylvania, to discuss the changes schools can make in the physical school environment, classroom, relationships, and community in which students operate.

These proactive measures can help establish a more supportive environment for students throughout the school year. PASS goes a step further and allows schools to quantify key elements of how students feel about themselves and school. As Scott notes, “ if you do not have a screener, if we're just relying on qualitative student observation, you can miss the internalized student, the student who may feel stressed, the student who is compliant and complacent.”

Providing a Baseline of Success for Students

For students to self-actualize and reach a growth stage in which they can develop all of the skills and abilities needed to succeed in school, tools are needed that can measure student attitudes when they are not readily apparent. PASS is such a tool, helping educators identify hidden factors that impact student success. Already supporting hundreds of school districts and millions of students, PASS provides multi-level reporting based on a research-backed assessment that allows school personnel to draw on a library of interventions to support student success. Learn how Pass works here or request a demo to see PASS in action.


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