The below story was written by Gail Cornwall and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. 

Strength-based learning is gaining traction in education systems all across the US as more districts realize the importance of personalized learning. This form of education focuses on what the individual child does well, in contrast to focusing on weaknesses. Focusing on their weaknesses can often harm a child’s self-image, making them discouraged and disengaged. Thrively supports strengths-based learning because we believe that by focusing on a child’s strengths and creating content specific to these strengths, keeps them more engaged. After taking the Thrively Strength Assessment, US News reports that elementary students in the Galt school district were able to identify his/her top strengths and experience the benefits of strength-based learning every day. According to US News,

“Students at all five of Galt’s public elementary schools take an online quiz known as a “strengths assessment” in which their sense of how much they relate to certain statements – such as, “For me, everything has to be planned” – helps identify their strengths.”

But Karen Schauer, the superintendent of Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (who lists her top strengths in her email signature) says that in her nearly 40 years as an educator, “It’s just one of the most powerful things I’ve ever been a part of.”

Most teachers who try the approach start by giving a quiz. The one Galt’s fourth-graders take comes from the CliftonStrengths Youth Explorer, a framework developed and sold by Gallup, the 82-year-old management consulting company best known for its public opinion polling. Waters uses a different list of strengths, called Values in Action, when working with educators in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. Others use strength systems designed by the British Centre of Applied Positive Psychology or by Thrively, a California-based startup.

While the number of schools using the method isn’t tallied anywhere, the number of tests taken could serve as a loose proxy for interest in it. Jon Burt, who heads Gallup’s K-12 education consulting arm, says that each year more than 1 million students in the U.S. take one of that company’s quizzes. Jillian Coppley Darwish, president of Mayerson Academy, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that advises educators, says that her organization has introduced the Values in Action framework to nearly 70 schools in the U.S., and Thrively’s president, Alex Cory, says that about 44,000 teachers across the 50 states have signed up for Thrively accounts.


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We love to see personalized learning and strengths-based education expanding across the nation every day. Thrively aims to lead this pursuit in transforming the education community and the way children learn.  By focusing on their strengths, children and students can find their true passions and embark on their pathway to personal development and impact. Essentially, we want to see your children or students succeed! So why not give strengths-based learning a try? Have your students or children take our Strength Assessment today and unlock their full potential.