‘Active’ Student Engagement Goes Beyond Class Behavior, Study Finds

Education Week:

Some warning signs are easy to spot: It’s well-established that the kid goofing off in the back of the classroom, who plays hooky and turns in homework late, is disengaged, and at a higher risk of falling behind and eventually dropping out of school. But where are the red flags for the student who sits quietly, answers when spoken to, and politely zones out?

A new study, published online in the journal Learning and Instruction, probes how more subtle facets of student engagement can be harder to flag, but just as critical for their long-term academic success.

“When we talk about student engagement, we tend to talk only about student behavior,” said lead author Ming-Te Wang, a Pittsburgh education psychology assistant professor, in a statement. But, Wang added, “that doesn’t tell us the whole story. Emotion and cognition are also very important.”

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan tracked more than 1,000 mostly minority students from 23 public middle schools in a Maryland suburb of Washington. At the beginning of 7th grade and the end of 8th grade, the researchers interviewed the students about their school climate, such as the emotional support they felt from administrators, teachers, and other students, their ability to choose projects and teammates for class assignments, and whether they considered the material they learned relevant to their lives.

Read the whole story: Education Week

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