For the past ten years, educational institutions have been collecting quantitative data that helps educators assess student placement and abilities and create curriculum to meet the students’ needs. However, statistics do not cover all aspects of a student’s environment and learning capabilities. The article “Rethinking Data: How to Create a Holistic View of Students” suggests that teachers need to understand the totality of a student rather than only the information that can be quantified. One method for doing this suggested in the article is a 360 Spreadsheet (Figure 10-1) in which teachers can note the students’ passions, family life, activities, and other aspects of their personal lives.

Teachers can use this knowledge however works best in their classrooms. Lisa Tremonte, a special education teacher from New Jersey, created her spreadsheet and found that her students lit up when she asked them about their hobbies or families. “They know that I listen to them, care about them, and think their lives are important” she commented (“Rethinking Data”). No quick fix exists to resolve the challenging issues that educators face. However, building connections with students outside of only academics can foster mutual respect between teachers and students and encourage student engagement. Students can recognize that their education is a piece of the larger whole of their lives, not an obstacle to overcome.

Sample 360 Spreadsheet



“Rethinking Data: How to Create a Holistic View of Students.” MindShift, KQED Inc., 25 Aug. 2015, Accessed 28 Aug. 2017.


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