Understanding Student Engagement A Critical Piece To The Student Success Puzzle
Posted: Dec 14, 2017
As teachers comb through academic assessments to analyze student achievement, a critical piece of data is often missing. Understanding a student’s engagement in their school work and school community is critical. Research shows that a young person’s relationships, resiliency skills and grit are equally important factors for educators to consider. However, this data is rarely collected or considering when identifying interventions and supports for students.
"We know that there is a strong correlation between a student’s engagement level and their future success in both academia and life," shares Sue Peterson, of School Perceptions, LLC, a company that works with school districts across the country to gather and analyze student engagement. School Perceptions research team has identified six key indexes of student engagement including connectedness, drive, citizenship, preparation, social and emotional aptitude and wellness.
The School Perceptions Student Engagement Survey gathers data on each engagement indicator and generates a score for a student. This data allows educators to see what additional supports or skills a student needs to develop to find success. Additionally, the tool provides an opportunity to identify students that may be struggling within the school system.
"If we want to build resiliency in our students both in and out of the classroom, we must first look critically at what factors impact their engagement," notes School Perceptions President, Bill Foster. The School Perceptions Student Engagement SurveyTM is a 50 question survey asks students to respond to questions about how they spend their free time, their perception of the rigor and relevance of the curriculum, how they utilize various support systems, their involvement in school life and planning they have done for life after high school graduation. "It’s important that students develop skills in each area of engagement before they leave the k-12 school system," adds Foster.
The tool is also design to help school districts look systemically at how they serve students. Data can be disaggregated by sub-sets of the student population, allowing a District to check engagement levels for various groups including race, special education, English language learners and free and reduced lunch. The data will also allow schools to see if engagement levels change at various grade levels.
"While every school system is unique, we often see that engagement indicators in students receiving free and reduced lunch change beginning in seventh grade," shares Peterson. "Not surprising, as this is an age where students start to take notice of the ‘haves and the have nots.’" The data is designed for a district to look at such trends and put support systems, additional programming and opportunities in place for students.
Survey administration takes place within the school setting through School Perceptions web-portal. Each student is provided a survey access code that allows them to complete the online questionnaire while also aligning responses with demographic information from the District’ student management system. The survey is designed for students in 4th through 12th grade and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
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