Seeing the whole student: The power of holistic data collection & triangulation

Ilia Lindsay, Registered Psychologist, Komodo Psychology Lead


Seeing the whole student: The power of holistic data collection & triangulation



In today's educational landscape, fostering student growth extends far beyond academics alone. For some time now we have entered a societal phase where wellbeing is prioritised and the school environment is no exception to this. Now that we recognise the multifaceted nature of a student's development, schools are increasingly turning to holistic data collection as a means to gain a comprehensive understanding of their students' wellbeing. At Komodo, we firmly believe that embracing holistic student data collection can pave the way for a more supportive and effective school and education journey. At Komodo we support schools to gather meaningful wellbeing data which can then be used to see the whole student. We encourage schools to use Komodo data and triangulate this with academic measures and attendance. By doing this we see a robust view of the student and their strengths and needs because we have gathered across self-reports, standardised measures and objective teacher observations. 

Holistic data collection encapsulates a student's diverse experiences, allowing educators and support staff to paint a complete picture of their overall wellbeing. While academic achievements are undoubtedly important, other factors such as attendance, emotional wellbeing, and social engagement contribute significantly to a student's success. Through our Komodo question library, schools are able to tailor wellbeing surveys to meet their unique student population demographic and needs. By collating and analysing a greater breadth of data  we enable a greater depth of knowledge about the students. In return, this supports teachers and pastoral care staff to identify potential challenges early on and tailor interventions that address the root causes or maintaining factors of student difficulties.

Triangulating different data sources enhances the accuracy and reliability of the insights gained. Academics, attendance records, teacher and student reports, and specific wellbeing data may each reveal individual aspects of a student's progress, but the power of data really comes in when these pieces of information converge and clearer understanding emerges. For example, a drop in academic performance or concentration and focus in class could be assumed as disinterested or challenging behaviour; however, with data triangulation, we could see that this behaviour coincides with poor sleep and increased emotional distress in the home environment. This example shows two very different possible underlying factors and two very different intervention paths. By triangulating information, schools are better able to notice and understand patterns and correlations which provide a basis for targeted support and intervention. To read more about how we can help your school triangulate student data see more information about our collaborative work with CPOMS and Intellischool here

Utilising both student reports and teacher observations adds yet another layer of depth to the holistic data collection approach. Students themselves are invaluable sources of information, often offering insights that might otherwise go unnoticed. Their self-assessments and reflections shed light on their perceptions of their learning journey, helping educators understand their strengths, challenges, and internal world.  On the other side of this, teachers, being on the frontline of daily interactions, can provide observations about a student's behaviour, engagement, and interactions with peers. Combining these two qualitative aspects with quantitative data creates a more accurate portrayal of a student's overall progress and development.  

There are numerous benefits of schools using holistic data collection and triangulation. Firstly, it promotes a proactive rather than reactive stance towards student wellbeing support. By identifying potential concerns before they escalate, schools can design timely interventions that cater to the specific needs of each student. Secondly, holistic data collection fosters a student-centric environment, one that acknowledges the uniqueness of every learner and tailors learning experiences accordingly.  Thirdly, making use of self-report alongside teacher observation shows students their voice and perspective is valued and respected. By enabling student voice, schools allow students to feel there is space for genuine reciprocal communication, where they can actively participate and are involved in the decision-making around their school life and mental wellbeing   (To read more about student voice click here). Lastly, the insights derived from triangulated data not only benefit individual students but can also be collated on a larger scale to inform cohort-level changes and and curriculum decisions, creating a more effective and inclusive learning environment for all (to read more about making your classroom inclusive click here)

The importance of holistic student data collection cannot be overstated. By collating diverse data points – from academics and attendance to wellbeing and student self-reports – schools gain a holistic view of student development and wellbeing. Following this, when schools employ triangulation methods that merge the various data sources we see greater accuracy and depth of insights enabling teachers to provide timely and meaningful support.

At Komodo, we are big advocates for the integration of holistic data collection and triangulation in schools - if you would like to explore how we could help your school


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