A cyclic 3-step approach to Student Wellbeing
Why regularly monitor student wellbeing?
Global research tells us that youth mental health has declined rapidly in the past twenty years with 50% of all lifetime mental health disorders presenting before the age of 14 years old. Besides, adolescence is a tough stage with both physical and cognitive maturation, constant swaying between needing support and striving for independence, identity exploration and all of the social complexities that arrive during this developmental stage.
In the aftermath of COVID-19, a global movement of increased awareness around the importance of wellbeing and holistic health has arisen, and schooling associations are now mandating that schools adhere to safeguarding and child protection laws and protocols. Accreditation bodies are requiring international schools to produce evidence of their student wellbeing monitoring and solutions. This is fantastic but deciding where to start, how to do it best, and how to rest assured that what you are implementing is actually going to make a difference.
The process of monitoring and collecting data, efficiently measuring outcomes and therefore effectively managing student wellbeing can seem a daunting, resource expensive task. The reality though is that this can be broken into a three-step process that continues to move in a cyclic nature. Let's take a brief look at what each step entails below, and click on each step's title to access the dedicated in-depth resources.
The dictionary definition of monitoring is "to observe and check the progress or quality of (something) over a period of time; keep under systematic review".
So this is where we start. We first need to make decisions on how you will monitor wellbeing and what you will monitor.
When considering how to monitor student wellbeing, we need to make a choice on:
- Self-report or teacher report
- Online or paper or in-person delivery
- Embedding monitoring processes in the school day as opposed to stand-alone events
- Informed consent and confidentiality of information.
When considering what we are going to monitor, we should reflect and decide on:
- What are the wellbeing targets or priorities for our school?
- What does research tell us about adolescent development and wellbeing trends in
- What will our students and school community benefit from?
Once we have worked out what we would like to monitor and how we will do this, the next step is to consider measurement.
What is the function of collecting and measuring this data? What type of results are we after?
- Regular or 'pulse' surveys - to discover regular patterns and trends over time to predict and prevent arising situations
- Benchmarking once or twice a year - to see your school performance against a national or local average
- Standardised psychometrics - to measure progress in therapy or for clinical purposes.
After having first worked out how and what we want to monitor, and started to actually measure, we now need to use the data to manage student wellbeing.
This is the most powerful part of this process, because it allows us to be intentional and strategic in our choices for targeted and effective student support interventions at every level:
- School-wide - to allow change in the school climate
- Targeted cohort - for specific strength and skill-building to help a group of students identified through monitoring
- Individual - for students needing specialised care.
An important thing to note is that this process is cyclical, it doesn’t stop. Student wellbeing will never be 100% - not in the constantly ever-changing world we live in, especially during adolescence as this will always be a challenging time of change so our wellbeing strategy needs to be dynamic and evolving.
This process should work in a feedback loop. We monitor, measure, manage then use that data to change or repeat how we monitor, measure and manage.
Wellbeing is not stagnant, so our initiatives and processes should match this dynamic. We can use this process to guide strategical decisions, curriculum, funding and pastoral care resolutions. We need to be working in a cycle of constant reflection and learning.
Is your approach to student wellbeing evidence-based? Find out in this FREE resource by clicking on the image below!
- Bradshaw, C. P., Waasdorp, T. E., & Leaf, P. J. (2015). Examining variation in the impact of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports: Findings from a randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 546.
- Goodman, S., & George, H. P. (2020). School-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education.
- Griffiths, A. J., Diamond, E. L., Alsip, J., Furlong, M., Morrison, G., & Do, B. (2019). School‐wide implementation of positive behavioral interventions and supports in an alternative school setting: A case study. Journal of Community Psychology, 47(6), 1493-1513.
- Hess, R. S., Shannon, C. R., & Glazier, R. P. (2016). Evidence-based interventions for stress in children and adolescents. Handbook of evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents, 343-354.
- Lane, K. L., & Menzies, H. M. (2003). A school-wide intervention with primary and secondary levels of support for elementary students: Outcomes and considerations. Education and Treatment of Children, 431-451.
- McLeod, S. (2007). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Simply psychology, 1(1-18).
- Owens, R. L., & Waters, L. (2020). What does positive psychology tell us about early intervention and prevention with children and adolescents? A review of positive psychological interventions with young people. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(5), 588-597.
- Schiavon, C. C., Teixeira, L. P., Gurgel, L. G., Magalhães, C. R., & Reppold, C. T. (2020). Positive education: Innovation in educational interventions based on positive psychology. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, 36.
- Siegel, D. J. (2014). Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain: an Inside-out Guide to the Emerging Adolescent Mind, Ages 12-24. Findaway World, LLC.
- Tejada-Gallardo, C., Blasco-Belled, A., Torrelles-Nadal, C., & Alsinet, C. (2020). Effects of school-based multicomponent positive psychology interventions on well-being and distress in adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49(10), 1943-1960.