A holistic assessment of students is a specific process that includes several steps and procedures in order to interpret test results and draw certain conclusions. In this context, a holistic approach means focusing not only on the assessment data received with the help of interviews, standardized tests, and different types of surveys but also on other external factors, such as an environment that can influence children’s behaviors and assessment results.
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Thus, Overton (2016) states that, while assessing a student and interpreting tests, “it is important to view the child or adolescent and her or his environment holistically” (p. 406). As a result, there is a range of considerations or aspects that should be taken into account during a holistic assessment.
The first important consideration is that a child can be viewed as dependent on her or his environment. It is also necessary to note that this environment is shaped by both a family and a young individual (Overton, 2016). Therefore, while assessing test results, an evaluator should remember the information received during the communication with parents and other persons who participate in educating a child.
Furthermore, a holistic assessment means understanding what aspects of an environment influence a child’s vision (Overton, 2016). The next important consideration is that a child becomes focused on adapting to the environment in which she or he lives. Consequently, the motivation of a child, as well as her or his behaviors, can be influenced to a great extent, and this fact should be taken into account while interpreting different types of test results (Overton, 2016). An evaluator should understand the background of a child in order to see the full picture and provide a holistic assessment.
Furthermore, while using tests to measure academic achievements, analyze behavioral patterns, and conduct diagnostic assessments, evaluators need to focus on children’s specific experiences, conflicts in families, problems, and losses in order to assume that these factors can influence children’s answers to questions and test results (Overton, 2016). From this point, it is important to refer to aspects of children’s psychological, emotional, and social development while conducting assessments. The reason is that any event in a child’s life can influence her or his further behavior and interactions with adults and children.
In addition, much attention should be paid to the determined atypical behavioral patterns or reactions expressed by a child (Overton, 2016). These observations are important to be added to the discussion of a child’s psychological state, as well as to the analysis of her or his achievements at a certain developmental stage. Therefore, the main considerations that are identified as significant to focus on while assessing children are related to the detailed analysis of a child’s past experiences and current environments, including family and school contexts.
The main reason to refer to the mentioned considerations while performing academic and diagnostic assessments is the necessity of providing the background to understand students’ achievements, behaviors, and reactions. A holistic assessment is based on using a lot of information about a child that is critical for making accurate conclusions and proposing effective interventions. From this perspective, it is possible to state that all the details related to a student’s environment are important to influence her or his vision and behavior, and they should be taken into account while interpreting tests and drawing efficient conclusions.
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Overton, T. (2016). Assessing learners with special needs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.