9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2015 7:40 AM by nealk2020

    Does Student Engagement Matter?

    steveburt

      Recently, the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute published their 2015 report on American Education titled, How Well Are Students Learning. The report is a very interesting read (and if you have some extra time this weekend, its worth it). On the topic of student engagement, the report makes a number of interesting contentions including the following:

      • On measures of student engagement, several countries noted for their superior performance on a much-cited international test rank below average on levels of student interest.
      • Increasing a student’s enjoyment of reading doesn’t correlate with improved reading scores.
      • On measures of student motivation, many countries saw their math scores decline even though their students reported higher levels of motivation.

      The obvious conclusion here is that despite the efforts of a number of leading academics in the U.S. and elsewhere to promote student engagement, it doesn't improve student achievement.

      To me, this conclusion seems not only counter-intuitive (and a bit suspect), but it raises some significant questions about engagement-based pedagogy.

      What has your experience been - and what do you think?

        • Re: Does Student Engagement Matter?
          Bonnie Feather

          WOW! I agree that these findings seem counter-intuitive. However, drilling down into such research can help us to target efforts toward increasing student achievement. There may be reasons to target student motivation (and I believe there are many!) but we should also learn what needs attention in other areas in order to increase achievement. Perhaps we might learn that achievement could increase through other changes in the educational system- curriculum, teaching/learning styles and methods, and so on.

           

          I do plan to read the linked article this weekend, and I'll bookmark this area so I can return and post my thoughts.

           

          Thanks for posting the link and your questions, steveburt!

           

          ~Bonnie

            • Re: Does Student Engagement Matter?
              steveburt

              Thanks, Bonnie. I appreciate you response. I suspect you are correct that, at times, the baby (of student achievement) gets thrown out with the bathwater in that there has been an uptick in the promotion of things like gamification to help foster engagement without enough thought (read: formative and summative assessments, standards-based) into the design.

              Let's continue this discussion as you get a chance to look through the report...

            • Re: Does Student Engagement Matter?
              glen_w

              Steve,

               

              I speak from the experience of observation and data with my 7th grade students on our last unit. We designed very engaging activities and throughout the unit were very pleased with how many students actively participated. When we gave the unit test, we were pleasantly surprised that students averaged 84%. The test was NOT easy because it had many DoK level 2 and level 3 questions. I think this is evidence of how important student engagement in learning is. (As a side note, the teachers who implemented our planned lessons as inquiry vs. direct instruction had a higher student performance average of 89%.)

                • Re: Does Student Engagement Matter?
                  Bonnie Feather

                  It's good to know that in your experience, our intuition is correct. I suspect there is always much more going on than the two- engagement/lack of & achievement level.

                   

                  Others, after you read the article linked in the discussion intro, what are other factors which might affect achievement in spite of/ in addition to student level of engagement?

                   

                  ~Bonnie

                • Re: Does Student Engagement Matter?

                  Conversely, lack of student engagement does not help achievement.  Engagement is, perhaps, a path and not a destination.  Although engagement does not assure any specific achievement it may make it possible.  As an example, both Kahoot (group oriented) and Quizizz (individually oriented) are very engaging.  It is the content utilized and how it will be utilized that will determine how it affects achievement.

                   

                  The following is a url for a good comparison between Kahoot and Quizizz - Quizizz | Smore