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Jun 23 2019 - 08:00pm
Thrively
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"Every child has a genius. Every child deserves to thrive." (Thrively: About Us)

Assessing Student Strengths

A team of neuropsychologists, entrepreneurs, and educators who share a commitment to helping children thrive have created a learning platform that takes a new approach to student assessment. Thrively focuses exclusively on measuring student strengths and supporting the development of what its creators’ call each child’s inner genius. Thrively’s Strengths Assessment is designed especially for children and highlights each student’s positive qualities. After taking the assessment, students are introduced to their five top strengths and are invited to engage in activities that will build on these strengths. No weaknesses appear in student profiles; Thrively is an entirely affirmation-based platform. In addition to measuring strengths, Thrively also identifies each student’s dominant learning style. All assessment information is shared with teachers and parents with the hope that catering instruction to student strengths will help foster growth.

Courses and Careers

When creating an account, Thrively asks students to identify their passions and career aspirations. Each child’s profile page is then populated with courses and resources that might interest them. A student who enjoys swimming, for example, might be notified of recreational swim teams in his area; an aspiring actress might be presented with a compilation of online resources to improve public speaking skills. Such resources are often comprised of various links to TED Talks, interviews, or other online material that Thrively has compiled into one location.

Thrively’s teachers and advisors also contribute online courses and lessons to the platform. Teachers can assign students to take a course in Growth Mindset or Design Thinking, for example. The free version of Thrively does not include courses, but teachers have the option to purchase individual courses.

Cost and Questions

While Thrively offers a free version, its free resources are quite limited. Only the strengths assessment and compilations of online resources are available, while the learning styles assessment and custom-made courses are reserved for paying customers. A yearly subscription costs $99 for 30 students and $899 for up to 250, so the platform is a significant investment. And while the platform’s affirmative approach claims to have been designed based on research in neuroplasticity, its website does not cite research or results supporting the effectiveness of its method. Potential users might question whether focusing entirely on student strengths and ignoring areas needing development might result in an underdevelopment of qualities such as perseverance, humility, and teamwork. It is also unclear how and in what capacity Thrively could be incorporated into K-12 classrooms.

Despite these unanswered questions, Thrively offers educators an avenue to support student growth and development in a positive way. Its customized profiles seek to engage each student, while its ability to share analytics can help educators better understand their students’ interests and learning needs.

Image: by Steven Libralon via Unsplash
Posted in: New Learning TimesNL Sector|By: Rebecca Sullivan|36 Reads