Traditional assessments focus on eligibility and deficits. The model being developed and researched by this focus group incorporates an assets/strength based approach to assessing cognitive, behavioral and social/emotional functioning. Resiliency theories and a neurodevelopmental framework are the ‘lens’ and perspective that guide these Strength Based Evaluations in the search for the assets and abilities of students. By understanding their unique gifts, students are enabled to leverage their abilities, set goals, organize strategies and advocate for themselves. In addition, this approach provides students with a solid foundation for understanding, addressing and responding to areas of academic challenge.
Customized strategies are included in strengths-based evaluations. This core group is studying the potential impact of a paradigm shift where the focus changes from a deficit based perspective to exploring and using strengths to empower the student and their family.