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Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the construct

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Research supports the connection between engagement, achievement, and school behavior across levels of economic and social advantage and disadvantage. Despite increasing interest and scientific findings, a number of interrelated conceptual and methodological issues must be addressed to advance this construct, particularly for designing data-supported interventions that promote school completion and enhanced educational outcomes for all students. Of particular concern is the need to (a) develop consensus on the name of the construct, (b) identify reliable measures of the dimensions of the construct, and (c) complete the construct validation studies needed to move research and intervention forward. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 45(5), 2008 C
2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/pits.20303
STUDENT ENGAGEMENT WITH SCHOOL: CRITICAL CONCEPTUAL AND
METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES OF THE CONSTRUCT
JAMES J. APPLETON
Gwinnett County Public Schools, Georgia
SANDRA L. CHRISTENSON
University of Minnesota
MICHAEL J. FURLONG
University of California Santa Barbara
Research supports the connection between engagement, achievement, and school behavior across
levels of economic and social advantage and disadvantage. Despite increasing interest and scientific
findings, a number of interrelated conceptual and methodological issues must be addressed to
advance this construct, particularly for designing data-supported interventions that promote school
completion and enhanced educational outcomes for all students. Of particular concern is the need to
(a) develop consensus on the name of the construct, (b) identify reliable measures of the dimensions
of the construct, and (c) complete the construct validation studies needed to move research and
intervention forward. C
2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The importance of student engagement with school is recognized by educators, as is the
observation that far too many students are bored, unmotivated, and uninvolved, that is, disengaged
from the academic and social aspects of school life. More than 20 years ago, researchers remarked that
although attendance at high school was compulsory in the United States, engagement could not be
legislated (Mosher & MacGowan, 1985). Laws may regulate the structure of the educational system,
but student perspectives and experiences substantially influence academic and social outcomes.
Despite the passage of time, the importance of engaging all students in their education continues
to resonate strongly with families, students, educators, and researchers. The purpose of this article
is to critically examine how the engagement construct has been used by researchers and to propose
a way to integrate perspectives that have been used in research. We first identify myriad concep-
tualizations of engagement and describe definitional similarities and differences. Relevant student
engagement research (i.e., behavior and psychological connections with school) is then reviewed,
and it is emphasized that engagement is malleable and relevant for predicting and preventing school
dropout, as well as facilitating positive educational outcomes for all students. To further clarify the
boundaries of the engagement construct, we explicate the motivational theories that are foundational
to engagement and provide an explanation of the relationship between the constructs of motivation
and engagement. We conclude with a discussion of core conceptual and methodological consid-
erations for advancing the engagement research. Engagement, a potentially important and useful
construct, is at a critical crossroads, one in need of conceptual clarity and constancy (Blumenfeld,
2006). This article is intended as a step toward that important end.
MYRIAD CONCEPTUALIZATIONS OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
The short, approximately 22-year history of engagement highlights its need for a clear definition.
In 1985, a review by Mosher and MacGowan found only two studies that actually used the term “en-
gagement,” and one of thesestudies defined engagement as student participation in school-offered ac-
tivities, but proceeded to infer it by examining disengagement (Natriello, 1984). Although uses of this
Correspondence to: James Appleton, Ph.D., Coordinator, Research and Evaluation,Division of Academic Support,
Gwinnett County Public Schools, Instructional Support Center, Suite 2.240, 437 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee,
GA 30024-2978. E-mail: Jim Appleton@Gwinnett.k12.ga.us
369
370 Appleton et al.
construct have proliferated, definitional clarity has been elusive. The theoretical and research litera-
tures on engagement generally reflect little consensus about definitions and contain substantial varia-
tions in how engagement is operationalized and measured. Fredericks, Blumenfeld, and Paris (2004)
discussed the potential of engagement as a metaconstruct, bringing together separate lines of research
(e.g., motivation, belonging, school climate) and providing an opportunity to examine how these
subsumed constructs interact. However, these and other authors also noted that there is considerable
inconsistency in the concepts and terminology used across studies (Fredericks et al., 2004; Furlong
et al., 2003; Jimerson, Campos, & Greif, 2003). An example of the varied names for the engagement
construct and corresponding definitions frequently used by researchers is provided in Table 1.
Despite this inconsistency, juxtaposition of varied definitions of engagement elucidates themes
across groups of researchers. For instance, some definitions contrasted the positive outcome of
engagement with the negative result of disaffection, such as disenchantment and alienation (e.g.,
Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Skinner & Belmont, 1993), whereas others implied that the negative
outcome was the absence of engagement itself. Furthermore, some specified contextual fulfillment
of fundamental needs as mediators of engagement (Christenson & Anderson, 2002; Connell &
Wellborn, 1991; Furlong et al., 2003), whereas others focused on engagement itself with less
attention to its precursors. All definitions included behavioral components, and many also contained
emotional/psychological components, but far fewer included academic or cognitive components in
their definition. Finally, most researchers defined engagement in a general, broad sense with only
two who explicitly mentioned an element of reaction to challenge (Klem & Connell, 2004; Skinner,
Wellborn, & Connell, 1990); others may have meant to imply such an element.
One constant across the myriad conceptualizations of engagement is that it is multidimen-
sional. Yet, agreement on multidimensionality differs from agreement on the number and types of
engagement dimensions, which ranged from two to four.
Engagement as a Multidimensional Construct
Engagement is typically described as having two or three components. Researchers espousing
a two-component model often include a behavioral (e.g., positive conduct, effort, participation) and
an emotional or affective (e.g., interest, identification, belonging, positive attitude about learning)
subtype (Finn, 1989; Marks, 2000; Newmann, Wehlage, & Lamborn, 1992; Willms, 2003), with
both subtypes foundational to understanding engagement.
More recent reviews of this literature, however, resulted in a tripartite conceptualization that
included a cognitive (e.g., self-regulation, learning goals, investment in learning) subtype (Fredericks
et al., 2004; Jimerson et al., 2003) and was consistent with theories proposing fundamental needs of
autonomy, competence, and relatedness (e.g., Connell & Wellborn, 1991). These theories proposed
action (engagement vs. disaffection) and outcome differences resulting from interactions within the
social context that determined how well the student perceived the environment to meet his or her
fundamental needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness (Connell & Wellborn, 1991). A simple
model of this process (adapted from Skinner et al., 1990, p. 23) would be CONTEXT −→ SELF
−→ ACTION −→ OUTCOME.
In addition to the two- and three-component models, researchers have proposed an engage-
ment taxonomy with four subtypes: academic, behavioral, cognitive, and psychological (Reschly &
Christenson, 2006a, 2006b). This taxonomy integrates the theoretical work of Finn (1989), Connell
(Connell, 1990; Connell & Wellborn, 1991), and McPartland (1994) and the implementation of
the Check & Connect intervention model (http://ici.umn.edu/checkandconnect/) over 13 years; it
purports to provide understanding of student levels of engagement and to recognize the goodness
of fit between the student, the learning environment, and the factors that influence their fit (Reschly
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
Student Engagement 371
Tab l e 1
Definitional Variations Across Conceptualizations of Engagement
Name Research CitationaConstruct Definition
Engagement A. Audas & Willms, 2001 A. Extent to which students participate in academic and
nonacademic activities and identify with and value the goals
of schooling.
B. Connell & Wellborn,
1991
B. When psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, belonging,
competence) are met within cultural enterprises such as
family, school, and work, engagement occurs and is
exhibited in affect,behavior, and cognition (if not,
disaffection occurs).
C. Russell, Ainley,
& Frydenberg, 2005
C. Energy in action, the connection between person and
activity; consisting of three forms: behavioral,emotional,
and cognitive.
D. Skinner & Belmont,
1993
D. Sustained behavioral involvement in learning activities
accompanied by positive emotional tone (vs. disaffection).
E. Skinner, Wellborn,
& Connell, 1990
E. Initiation of action, effort, and persistence with schoolwork
and ambient emotional states during learning activities.
Engagement in
schoolwork
F. National Research
Council/Institute of
Medicine (2004)
F. Involves both behaviors and emotions and is mediated by
perceptions of competence and control (Ican), values and
goals (I want to), and social connectedness (I belong).
Academic engagement G. Libby, 2004 G. Extent to which students are motivated to learn and do well
in school.
School engagement H. Fredericks,
Blumenfeld, & Paris,
2004
H. Emotional (positive and negative reactions to teachers,
classmates, academics, and school), Behavioral
(participation in school), and Cognitive (investment)
Engagement subtypes.
I. Furlong et al., 2003 I. Affective, Behavioral, and Cognitive Engagement subtypes
(same as Jimerson et al., 2003) within student, peer group,
classroom, and schoolwide contexts.
J. Jimerson, Campos,
& Greif, 2003
J. Affective (feelings about school, teachers, and peers),
Behavioral (observable actions), and Cognitive (perceptions
and beliefs) Engagement subtypes.
Student engagement K. Chapman, 2003 K. Willingness to participate in routine school activities with
subtle cognitive, behavioral, and affective indicators of
student engagement in specific learning tasks.
L. Natriello, 1984 L. Student participation in the activities offered as part of the
school program.
M. Yazzie-Mintz, 2007 M. Cognitive/Intellectual/Academic (students’ effort,
investment, and strategies for learning),
Social/Behavioral/Participatory (social, extracurricular, and
nonacademic school activities; interactions with peers), and
Emotional (feelings of connection to school, including their
performance, school climate, and relationships with others).
Student engagement in
academic work
N. Marks, 2000 N. Psychological process involving the attention,interest,
investment, and effort students expend in the work of
learning.
O. Newmann, Wehlage,
& Lamborn, 1992
O. The student’s psychological investment in and effort directed
toward learning, understanding, or mastering the knowledge,
skills, or crafts that academic work is intended to promote.
(Continued)
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
372 Appleton et al.
Tab l e 1
Continued
Name Research CitationaConstruct Definition
Student engagement
in/with school
P. Mosher & MacGowan,
1985
P. Attitude leading toward and participatory behavior in
secondary school’s programs (state of mind and way of
behaving).
Q. Klem & Connell, 2004 Q. Ongoing engagement (behavioral, emotional, and cognitive
components); reaction to challenge (ideally engage
optimistically).
R. Christenson
& Anderson, 2002
R. Psychological (e.g., belonging), Behavioral
(e.g., participation), Cognitive (e.g., self-regulated learning),
and Academic (e.g., time on task) Engagement.
Participation
identificationb
S. Finn, 1989, 1993;
Finn & Rock, 1997
S. Participation in (at four increasing levels) and identification
with school (belonging in school and valuing school-related
outcomes).
aLetters are intended for aligning citations with definitions and not meant to convey a hierarchy.
bAlthough not labeled “engagement,” this theory is at the core of many conceptualizations of engagement.
& Christenson, 2006a, 2006b). Variables such as time on task, credits earned toward graduation,
and homework completion represented indicators of academic engagement, whereas attendance,
suspensions, voluntary classroom participation, and extracurricular participation represented indi-
cators of behavioral engagement. Cognitive and psychological engagement were considered less
observable and gauged with more internal indicators, including self-regulation, relevance of school-
work to future endeavors, value of learning, personal goals and autonomy as indicators of cognitive
engagement and feelings of identification or belonging, and relationships with teachers and peers as
indicators of psychological engagement.
The addition of academic engagement was foundational to the four-part typology. It honored
the strong, consistent finding that high rates of academic learning time are correlated with stu-
dent achievement for students with and without disabilities (Fisher & Berliner, 1985), aligned with
researchers who examined engagement for specific tasks (Marks, 2000), resonated with teachers con-
cerned about time on task and work completion, and responded to comments from Check & Connect
students (Sinclair, Christenson, & Thurlow, 2005). The dimensions of engagement used in the High
School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) at the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy,
Indiana University, also included academic engagement; however, they conceptualized three dimen-
sions: cognitive/intellectual/academic (i.e., engagement of the mind), social/behavioral/participatory
(i.e., engagement in the life of school), and emotional (i.e., engagement of the heart) (Yazzie-Mintz,
2007).
STUDENT ENGAGEMENT—RELEVANCE FOR SCHOOL COMPLETION
Engagement is considered the primary theoretical model for understanding dropout and is
necessary to promote school completion, defined as graduation from high school with sufficient
academic and social skills to partake in postsecondary enrollment options and/or the world of work
(Christenson et al., 2008; Finn, 2006). Sufficient engagement with school, however, does not occur
for far too many students. Data from 2003 indicated that 3.5 million youth and young adults (16–
25 years old) had not earned a high school diploma and were not currently enrolled in school
(Barton, 2004). Many dropouts, by ages 16 to 24, are not employed (45% Black, 32% Hispanic,
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
Student Engagement 373
and 31% White). Moreover, by ages 25 to 34 employed male dropouts average an annual income
that rendered a family of five at the poverty threshold ($22,903 in 2002), with the average annual
income of employed female dropouts unable to keep a family of four out of poverty ($17,114 in
2002). In addition, the earnings of students who dropped out of school declined 34.7% from 1971
to 2002. Completing school with an appropriate set of skills is vital, and is even more important
as work positions with adequate compensation become increasingly less accessible to lower-skilled
applicants (Barton, 2004). Furthermore, youth who do not complete high school are more likely
to be incarcerated and experience long-term dependency on social services (Christenson, Sinclair,
Lehr, & Hurley, 2000). Since peaking at 77.1% in 1969, high school completion rates have declined
to estimates as low as 66.1% by 2000 (Barton, 2004).
Given these troubling statistics, much work has gone into efforts to better predict, understand,
and proactively intervene on the problem of school dropout (see Doll & Hess, 2001). Dropout
theorists have noted that a focus on immutable characteristics not only implies that much of the
reason for student dropout is resistant to change (Doll & Hess, 2001), but also obscures factors
amenable to educator change efforts (Baker et al., 2001; Barton, 2004; Christenson, Sinclair, Lehr,
& Godber, 2001; Hess & Copeland, 2001). Attempts to delineate more alterable influences on
dropout have led to a growing interest in engagement (Christenson & Thurlow, 2004; Fredericks
et al., 2004; Jimerson et al., 2003).
School Dropout as a Gradual Process
The construct of engagement is useful for capturing the gradual process by which students
disconnect from school (Finn, 1989). Consistent with the understanding that dropping out of school
is not an instantaneous event, but a process that occurs over time, engagement provides a means to
intervene at the earliest signs of students’ disconnection with school. Engagement focuses attention
on alterable variables to help increase school completion rates (Christenson et al., 2001; Connell,
Halpern-Felsher, Clifford, Crichlow, & Usinger, 1995; Doll, Hess, & Ochoa, 2001) and to reform
high school experiences to help foster students’ achievement motivation (National Research Council
& Institute of Medicine, 2004). Empirical results also suggest that correlates of dropping out can be
disentangled to identify those that are more amenable to educator interventions from other intractable
influences (Barton, 2004; Finn, 1993; Finn & Rock, 1997; Finn & Voelkl, 1992; Rumberger &
Thomas, 2000), which has led researchers to focus on student engagement as a critical target for
intervention efforts (Christenson et al., 2001).
Two Check & Connect studies highlight the role of student engagement in promoting school
completion and demonstrate the usefulness of interventions targeting engagement. For instance, 94
students with learning or emotional/behavioral disabilities in an urban district received the Check &
Connect intervention in grades 7 and 8 (Sinclair, Christenson, Evelo, & Hurley, 1998). On entrance
to high school, they were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Grade 9 posttest
results showed that, despite having no favorable pretest advantages, treatment students had a number
of advantageous outcomes. They participated significantly more in school (enrolled at the end of
the school year and completed course assignments) and performed significantly better than control
students on a number of academic indicators (earned more credits during grade 9 and were more
highly rated by special and general education teachers for academics or behavior).
A related study involved students from a high-risk district in which less than 50% of students
completed high school in 4 years. The sample included 144 ninth-grade students, with 69% of
these having a primary label of emotional or behavioral disability (Sinclair et al., 2005). In addition
to status risk factors, teacher ratings were well below average for academic competence, social
competence, and problem behavior. Four- or 5-year implementations of Check & Connect resulted
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
374 Appleton et al.
in several significant differences between the randomly assigned treatment and control groups.
Treatment students had lower cohort dropout rates, attended school more persistently, exhibited
more persistent attendance through periods of transition between schools, and participated more in
the individualized education plan process with articulated transition goals. Effect sizes ranged from
0.26 to 0.58.
Engagement—Necessity of Behaviors and Psychological Connections
Research demonstrates the critical role of both behavioral and affective components for high
rates of student engagement (Christenson et al., 2008; National Research Council and Institute of
Medicine, 2004). Furthermore, engagement is a predictor of academic performance.
Behavioral Component. In a seminal article on school dropout, Finn (1989) contrasted the
frustration–self-esteem and participation-identification models. The former model illustrates the
effect of faulty school practices on unsuccessful school outcomes for a student, resulting in a reduc-
tion of self-esteem, ensuing problem behaviors, and, combined with negative peer influences, further
unsuccessful school outcomes. The latter focuses directly on alterable variables, most notably, the
degree of participation in school activities and quality of instruction. Successful student perfor-
mance is a result of participation in school activities, the quality of instruction, and student abilities.
Successful performance affects identification with school, which, in turn, leads to increased levels
of participation in school activities. Both models are cyclical and hold the potential for students
to become involved within a pattern of either positive and engaging or negative and disconnecting
behaviors. The components of participation and identification support a move beyond the focus
on more intractable characteristics of students (e.g., race/ethnicity, home language, family income)
in favor of predicting outcomes based on risk factors more amenable to educator change efforts.
Functional risk factors, rather than solely demographic risks, become the focus of intervention
(Christenson et al., 2008).
Students at high risk for school failure based on status variables such as ethnicity, home lan-
guage, race, and/or socioeconomic level can be differentiated by their amount of participation in
and/or identification with the tasks and activities of the school, and these differences are related to
important outcomes such as academic achievement and persistence with academic work. Using the
nationally representative National Educational Longitudinal Survey: 1988 (NELS: 88) data set, Finn
(1993) conducted two studies, with the first examining a national sample of 15,737 eighth-grade,
public school students to determine if there was an association between engagement (operationalized
as participation) and academic achievement. Using three factors—attendance, classroom behavior,
and participation beyond the typical academic program—four participation categories were formed.
Finn found a significant linear and quadratic trend, indicating a strong relationship between par-
ticipation and achievement and larger differences at higher levels of participation than at lower
levels. The positive impact was greater for a high degree of participation (vs. a more moderate
degree) than it was for a moderate degree of participation (vs. a minimal degree or lack of participa-
tion). This finding is consistent with Osterman’s (1998) conclusion that engaged students perceive
more support from teachers and peers and that this perception leads to a beneficial cycle of in-
creased levels of engagement and increased adult support (see also Furrer, Skinner, Marchand, &
Kindermann, 2006). In sum, engagement seems to have a “rich-get-richer” quality, which portends
well for effective early intervention for students showing signs of school withdrawal. Given the
lack of any interaction between participation and either gender or race/ethnicity, as well as the
consistency of these results when socioeconomic level was covaried, Finn’s findings appear relevant
across gender, socioeconomic levels, and the four categories of race/ethnicity considered in the
study.
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
Student Engagement 375
A second study by Finn (1993) using NELS: 88 data examined 5,945 at-risk (based on race,
home language, or socioeconomic level) eighth graders to clarify whether level of participation and
classroom and/or emotional engagement explained variations in mathematics and reading achieve-
ment tests. Students were categorized as “successful,” “passing,” and “unsuccessful.” Successful
students differed from unsuccessful peers by attending class and arriving on time; being prepared
for class; taking part in, as opposed to disrupting, the activities of the classroom; completing more
homework; and being more active in extracurricular activities. Neither the frequency of school
changes prior to eighth grade nor student perception of the school’s warmth and supportiveness
related significantly to academic performance. Identification related significantly (with moderate to
low correlations) to participation within the classroom. These results suggested that (a) identification
with school was related to participation, (b) participation was related to achievement, and (c) that
levels of participation predicted the variation in reading and math achievement of at-risk students.
Using the NELS: 88 data set, Finn and Rock (1997) conducted a similar study using 1,803
African American and Hispanic students in grades 8 to 12. These students were deemed “at risk”
based on minority status and low socioeconomic level. The sample was divided into resilient students,
nonresilient completers, and nonresilient dropouts. They found that resilient and nonresilient students
(effect sizes of 0.41–0.82) differed both by teacher-reported behavioral engagement differences
(favoring resilient students) in student work ethic, regular class attendance, and attentiveness and
cooperation in the classroom and by student-reported timely and regular school attendance and
reduced frequency of getting into trouble. Significant differences favored resilient over nonresilient
students on indices of psychological engagement (self-esteem and locus of control), and locus-
of-control differences favored nonresilient completers over dropouts. Higher levels of self-esteem
differentiated students who persisted with their schooling despite the setbacks of low grades and/or
subpar test scores. These behavioral and psychological engagement differences remained when
socioeconomic level and family structure were covaried.
Psychological Component. Research into the importance of affective connections at school
has examined students’ sense of belonging, identification with school, and sense of relatedness.
Baumeister and Leary (1995) examined the importance of affective connections to others by consid-
ering the need to belong as a fundamental human motivation. To qualify as a fundamental motivation,
they specified that a need must (a) create effects in most conditions by functioning across diverse
settings, (b) result in affective outcomes and guide cognitive processing by influencing affect and
cognition, (c) result in problematic effects when the need is not met by producing negative effects
beyond momentary distress, (d) elicit behavior that is goal directed and intended to satisfy the
motivation, (e) apply broadly to diverse people and transcend cultural boundaries, (f) not merely
be a derivative of other motivation(s), (g) impact a wide range of behaviors, and (h) relate to out-
comes beyond one’s immediate psychological functioning. On extensively reviewing the empirical
literature, they found support for the majority of these requirements, which supported the belong-
ingness hypothesis. This hypothesis is theorized to have two core aspects: “. . . people seem to need
frequent, affectively pleasant or positive interactions with the same individuals, and they need these
interactions to occur in a framework of long-term, stable caring, and concern” (p. 520).
Focusing on belonging within a school setting, an examination of 612 predominantly Caucasian,
middle-class, suburban students in grades 5 to 8 found that students’ sense of belonging increased
over time, while their sense of intrinsic value and interest in school declined substantially during
the same time period (Goodenow, 1991). In addition, three measures of psychological functioning
(belongingness, expectations of academic success, and intrinsic value of school) were significant,
low-to-moderate correlates of teacher reports (6 weeks later) of student grades and student effort.
Finally, sense of belonging was more closely related to the outcome measures of effort at grade 7
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
376 Appleton et al.
than at other grade levels, suggesting a particular value of belonging and increased vulnerability
to experiences of not belonging at that transitional grade level (Goodenow, 1991). This finding is
also consistent with Eccles et al.’s (1993) proposal that motivation varied with the fit between the
educational context and student developmental needs.
Another examination of sense of belonging involved 301 junior high students attending two
diverse schools in a city, which was in the state’s bottom quartile for per capita income (Goodenow,
1992). Mean student responses suggested high expectations for success, valuing of academic work,
and considerable effort/persistence, whereas mean scores were significantly lower for measures of
belonging, support by others, and satisfaction with school. In addition, student sense of belonging
was moderately and significantly correlated to the values of one’s friends, student expectancies, value
of schoolwork, school motivation, and significantly, but only minimally related to effort/persistence
with difficult academic work. Results further indicated that the relationship between sense of belong-
ing and school motivation and effort/persistence was robust even when the values of the student’s
immediate friendship group were controlled. Finally, significant differences existed by gender with
girls more likely to (a) report friends who valued doing well in school, (b) show higher levels
of overall school motivation and satisfaction, and (c) have a greater sense of belonging. Hispanic
students expressed a greater sense of belonging in a school comprised of 75% youth of Hispanic
descent. Taken together, these findings support Goodenow’s (1991) finding of an important role for
student sense of belonging. A notable caveat was that urban students tended to have lower levels of
belonging in school. In comparison, higher perceived belonging in school was found for Hispanics
where they represented a majority of the student body and for girls when they perceived greater
support toward academic ends from their friends.
Another area of research involving student affective connections examined how school warmth
influenced academic achievement (Voelkl, 1995) and how students identified (valued and felt they
belonged) within their school (Voelkl, 1997). In this research, an important mediating variable, par-
ticipation, influenced the relationship between school warmth and academic achievement (Voelkl,
1995). Using a NELS: 88 sample of 13,121 eighth graders, significant, moderate correlations be-
tween school warmth and measures of reading, mathematics, science, and history achievement were
reduced to nonsignificance with participation removed from the model. These findings combined
with Goodenow’s (1991, 1992) findings, which found an association between belonging and effort/
persistence as well as motivation, begin to suggest a way in which the affective connection to school
may impact academic achievement.
Longitudinal results (grades 4–8) involving 1,335 African American and Caucasian students
from 104 urban, suburban, rural, and inner-city schools also supported the link between participa-
tion, identification with school, and student achievement (Voelkl, 1997). This research considered
whether teacher-rated participation in the classroom and general academic achievement predicted
identification with school over time. Results included significant, low correlations between achieve-
ment in grades 4 and 7 and identification with school. When participation in grade 8 was related
to identification, a significant moderate correlation emerged. Finally, the significant and moder-
ate correlations between achievement in grades 4 and 7 and participation suggested that previous
achievement bolstered future levels of identification. Analyses of gender and racial differences
provided further insight into the robustness of that result. Voelkl’s (1997) examination of gender
differences in identification corroborated Goodenow’s (1992) finding that girls have higher levels
of belonging with school. Once separated by race, results revealed that previous achievement was
significantly related to future levels of identification only for White students (Voelkl, 1997). Find-
ings that persisted across race included the significant relationship of classroom participation and
identification. These findings corroborate both the Voelkl (1995) result that affective connections to
school may impact achievement through participation and Finn’s (1989) participation-identification
Psychology in the Schools DOI: 10.1002/pits
Student Engagement 377
theory. Also, for both Black and White students, higher levels of achievement were associated with
greater student participation (Voelkl, 1997).
More recently, a sense of relatedness has been examined for its role in student engagement and
subsequent academic performance (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Specifically the following relationships
were examined: (a) the association between relatedness and classroom engagement and performance;
(b) the role of parents, teachers, and peers on engagement; (c) the influence of age and gender on
the relation between relatedness and engagement; and (d) the level of engagement associated with
different relatedness profiles (i.e., patterns of relationships with certain social partners). This study
involved 641 student in grades 3 to 6 who were from suburban-rural communities and mostly
(95%) Caucasian. Results suggested that student- and teacher-reported levels of student behavioral
and emotional engagement each mediated the relationship between aggregated relatedness (across
parents, teachers, and peers) and student grades. Moreover, student-reported relatedness to parents,
peers, and teachers significantly predicted both student- and teacher-reported student engagement
beyond student-reported perceived control at one point in time and also across the school year from
fall to spring (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Student feelings of relatedness overlapped moderately across
partners (parents, peers, and teachers), yet relatedness with each partner was uniquely important in
predicting engagement. Furthermore, although girls indicated higher levels of relatedness, the effect
of relatedness (especially with teachers) on engagement (especially student-reported) was more
salient for boys—as expected, relatedness to teachers declined with age, yet surprisingly, relatedness
was a better predictor with older than younger children. Finally, it was interesting to note that although
high teacher relatedness (amidst low parent and peer relatedness) and low peer relatedness (amidst
high parent and teacher relatedness) resulted in significant differences (compared to the all high or all
low relatedness groups) in student-reported behavioral and emotional engagement; these differences
were not reflected in the perspective of teacher reports of engagement.
Overall, theory and research suggest that a student’s psychological connection to school plays an
important role in affecting student motivation and participatory behaviors, participating in school-
work positively impacts students’ affective connections with school, and multiple engagement
subtypes and reporters are important for gauging the effects of relatedness on engagement and
engagement on academic outcomes. Essentially, the previously described participation and identi-
fication aspects of engagement and these affective or psychological aspects of engagement seem
mutually reinforcing and synergistic in improving student educational outcomes. These results con-
tinue to support the importance of a multidimensional conceptualization of student engagement with
school.
Engagement—A Construct Relevant for All Students
Every school irrespective of school level, geographic locale, or demographic characteristics
of students has students who are disengaged and engaged. In fact, the student body in schools
can be organized along a continuum of marginal-disengaged to member-engaged students. Data
from the 2006 HSSSE, based on responses from 81,499 students in grades 9 to 12 from 110
schools in 26 states, illustrates the applicability of the engagement construct to all students (Yazzie-
Mintz, 2007). It was found that students reported being less engaged across high school years
if they were male; if they were from an ethnic group other than White or Asian; if they were
lower socioeconomic levels; or if they were in special education rather than vocational, general
education, or advanced classes. It is noteworthy that 72% of the students indicated they were
engaged in school; thus, more than one fourth of students are not. All schools have students who
are uninvolved, apathetic, and/or discouraged learners—even without demographic-related risks.
Brophy (2004), a motivational researcher, challenges educators to explicitly instruct and intervene
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378 Appleton et al.
with students to address motivation, including also self-perceived competence, initiative, autonomy,
and relationships—all of which characterize engagement.
THE ROLE OF MOTIVATION IN STUDENT SCHOOL EXPERIENCES
The concept of motivation is at the core of teaching and learning (Maehr & Meyer, 1997).
Motivational research has progressed from (a) perceiving the student “as a machine” attempting
to meet basic needs, (b) to viewing the student “as a decision maker” weighing the likelihood of
attainment and value of an outcome, and finally (c) to identifying the student “as creator of meaning”
considering causal attributions and the value and purpose of pursuing goals. One outcome of this
movement toward a view of personal creation of meaning has been renewed general interest in
cognitive motives and specific interest in intrinsic motivation. Student investment in education is
believed to largely be a function of their perception of task or ability goals of the school culture
(Maehr & Midgley, 1996).
Self-determination theory (SDT) provides an important and comprehensive theoretical frame-
work that helps clarify the functioning of the student engagement construct. SDT theorists assert
that every person across cultures requires the fulfillment of fundamental needs of autonomy, com-
petence, and relatedness, although the means of fulfilling such needs may vary by culture (Ryan &
Deci, 2000). At least two aspects of SDT are especially relevant for educators. The first is that SDT
provides an integrated conceptualization for the internalization of external demands. The second is
the focus on contextual factors under the control of schools resulting in the provision of specific sug-
gestions for educators on how to improve student motivation, engagement, and subsequent academic
performance.
Rather than focusing on intrinsic motivation as the only desired end, SDT acknowledges
that the catalyst for behavior in many situations (commonly in education) is external to oneself
(Ryan & Deci, 2000). The theory specifies qualitative differences in the level of self-determination
associated with extrinsic motivation; situates these levels along a continuum; and contends that
external expectations can be internalized, integrated, and result in highly autonomous functioning
(Ryan, 1995). This process is described as a move “. . . away from heteronomy toward autonomy,
or from external to self-regulation” (p. 405), and it is differentiated across five levels (Ryan, 1995).
Amotivation processes involve not valuing and incompetence, and are characterized by inaction or
the lack of intent to act. External regulation processes include compliance or pursuit of rewards, with
causality externally located, and where relative autonomy is extremely low. Introjection processes
include guilt or anxiety with attribution of cause still externally located, and low relative autonomy.
Identification processes include conscious valuing without integration into the self, the attribution of
cause now internally located, and increased levels of autonomy experienced. Integration processes
include integration and congruence, the locus of causality internal, and a high sense of autonomy.
Given that education typically requires students to learn content and accept social values imposed by
others, there is potential value to increased understanding of the processes involved in transitioning
students from externally regulated compliance to self-regulated collaboration in the pedagogical
process.
The second aspect of SDT that is particularly relevant for educators is its careful analysis of
context and students’ experience of that context. This delineation clarifies the role an educator can
serve in increasing students’ sense of autonomy and self-regulated behavior. The specification of
autonomy, competence, and relatedness as fundamental needs is accompanied by potential methods
of capitalizing on these needs to facilitate the integration of extrinsically motivated behaviors (Ryan
& Deci, 2000). Educators can facilitate student self-determination with extrinsically motivated tasks
by using relationships, setting up students for success in course tasks (via scaffolding of lessons and
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Student Engagement 379
attention to developmental level), and orchestrating student opportunities for decision making and
other authentically autonomous experiences.
Support for SDT across age levels is found in studies showing that teacher and administrator
use of autonomy-supporting methods predict motivational processes and subsequent achievement
(Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991; Guay & Vallerand, 1997). Furthermore, students taught using di-
rected, but noncontrolling methods exhibited greater rote learning, greater interest, and increased
conceptual learning, presumably due to increased levels of autonomy (Grolnick & Ryan, 1987).
Further support for SDT is indicated in that high-ability students, who were uncertain about their
ability or felt externally controlled, reported anxiety and anger toward school; whereas, in contrast,
students certain of their ability and experiencing autonomy reported feelings of curiosity and in-
creased persistence with academic tasks (Miserandino, 1996). Finally, consistent with SDT, main
effects on test performance, processing depth and persistence, and a synergistic interaction effect for
deep processing and test performance were found in expected directions, which were consistent with
the intrinsic or extrinsic nature of student goals and level of experienced autonomy (Vansteenkiste,
Simons, Lens, Sheldon, & Deci, 2004). Complementary theory and research supports the positive
impact of mastery or learning goals versus performance goals on persistence and continued motiva-
tion with academic tasks (Maehr & Meyer, 1997; Maehr & Midgley, 1996; Meece, Blumenfeld, &
Hoyle, 1988).
Relationship Between Motivation and Engagement
Although interest in engagement has increased recently, its distinction from motivation re-
mains subject to debate. As one conceptualization, motivation has been thought of in terms of the
direction, intensity, and quality of one’s energies (Maehr & Meyer, 1997), answering the question
of “why am I doing this?” for a given behavior. In this regard, motivation is related to underlying
psychological processes, including autonomy (e.g., Grolnick & Ryan, 1987; Skinner et al., 1990),
relatedness/belonging (e.g., Goodenow, 1993a, 1993b; Goodenow & Grady, 1993), and competence
(e.g., Schunk, 1991). In contrast, engagement is described as “energy in action, the connection
between person and activity” (Russell, Ainley, & Frydenberg, 2005, p. 1). Engagement reflects a
person’s active involvement in a task or activity (Reeve, Jang, Carrell, Jeon, & Barch, 2004). To
illustrate this distinction as it pertains to reading tasks, motivational aspects include (a) perceived
reading competency; (b) perceived value of reading in order to obtain larger goals (better grades,
parent/teacher praise); and (c) perceived ability to succeed at the reading task, among others (Guthrie
& Wigfield, 2000). Engagement aspects include the number of words read or the amount of text
that was comprehended with deeper processing of the content. Engagement is about relationships
(Sinclair et al., 2005); it is not considered a “solo activity” (Yazzie-Mintz, 2007, p. 1) and demands
a person-environment fit (Reschly & Christenson, 2006a, 2006b). Motivation and engagement are
separate but not orthogonal—one could be motivated but not actively engaged in a task (Connell
& Wellborn, 1991; Furrer & Skinner, 2003). Motivation is thus necessary, but not sufficient for
engagement.
Although motivation is central to understanding engagement,the latter is a construct worthy
of study in its own right. Furrer and colleagues (2006) noted the importance of viewing engage-
ment within a motivational framework because engagement can change via cyclic interactions with
contextual variables and influence later academic, behavioral, and social outcomes, which are the
products of these context-influenced changes in engagement. Figure 1 represents the cyclical rela-
tions among level of engagement, as well as the quality and quantity of support received from the
context en route to expected outcomes. This model uses Connell and Wellborn’s (1991) framework
with student-perceived control (Skinner et al., 1990).
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380 Appleton et al.
FIGURE 1. Self-processes model applied to educational settings. Note. Adapted from Connell & Wellborn (1991, p. 54);
Skinner, Wellborn, & Connell (1990); Furrer, Skinner, Marchand, & Kindermann (2006); and Appleton, Christenson, Kim,
& Reschly (2006).
CRITICAL CONCEPTUAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
How student engagement is conceptualized, the importance of multiple engagement subtypes,
and its applicability for all students is paramount to advancing the use of this construct and improving
academic, social, and emotional learning outcomes for students. The role of contexts in facilitating
student engagement also cannot be ignored. First, attention should be paid to the current use of the
terms student engagement and school engagement in recent literature (Appleton, Christenson, Kim,
& Reschly, 2006; Christenson et al., 2008; Fredericks et al., 2004). Our position is that the use of
the terms student engagement is preferred over school engagement because schools engage students
as learners, and they are engaged to varying degrees. Schools have holding power for students;
thus, school policies and practices can (and in some situations must) foster engaging climates,
especially for disconnected youth. Also, the use of school engagement may emphasize influences of
the school setting while minimizing the focus on family and community/neighborhood influences.
An alternative referent, student engagement with school, suggests a broader term that could draw
attention to academic activities away from the school setting (e.g., mathematics used to build a faster
enduro go-kart) and to school-related influences that are more distal to the school setting per se (e.g.,
a community mentality that “book learning” is less important than learning an industrial trade). In
addition, the mandated school years are but one developmental experience, one time period, and
one perspective—student engagement is relevant across the life trajectory of an individual (Furlong
et al., 2003). Perhaps others use school engagement because although engagement is conceptualized
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Student Engagement 381
as an aspect of both the individual and the environment, the educational context is viewed as seminal
(Fredricks et al., 2004).
Second, the importance of multiple engagement subtypes is evident across researchers with
the work of Fredericks and colleagues (2004) propelling this notion by arguing for its status as a
metaconstruct. The factors described previously (i.e., participation, motivation, relatedness) provide
useful exemplary components with which to illustrate the potential of student engagement as a
metaconstruct. Examining participation, motivation, and relatedness via separate lines of research
supports a fine level of specificity of conceptualization and nuanced measurement, yet could sacrifice
an understanding of how these constructs interact within the school environment. Part of the poten-
tial of a student engagement metaconstruct lies in its capacity to examine how subsumed constructs
interact and in determining the outcomes associated with differing patterns of interactions (configu-
rations of types of engagement) (Fredericks et al., 2004). This integrative nature offers promise for
intervention design.
Compelling research involving nearly 30,000 students in grades 6 to 8 from 304 Chicago public
school provides a poignant example of the necessity of examining components of engagement in
combination (Lee & Smith, 1999). Using 1-year achievement gains in mathematics and reading to
gauge learning, student level of perceived social support for learning from teachers, parents, peers,
and the community, in and of itself, did not relate to student learning. Likewise, the other instrumental
variable in this study, academic press (operationalized as teacher perception of the school’s focus on
challenging students academically and the student’s perception of being challenged academically),
in and of itself, did not lead to learning. What was related to substantial increases in learning was
the combination of academic press and social support for learning. Clearly, a very important aspect
of the metaconstruct of student engagement is its multidimensionality, with both the more (i.e.,
academic and behavioral engagement) and less overt (i.e., cognitive and psychological engagement)
subtypes relating to important outcomes.
Yet, in examining engagement, the majority of research has focused on more observable
indicators that are related to academic and behavioral engagement; in fact, these two engagement
subtypes were the primary dependent variables included in the Check & Connect projects (Sinclair
et al., 1998, 2005). Although less research has focused on cognitive and psychological subtypes of
engagement (in comparison to academic and behavioral indicators), there is evidence suggesting their
importance to school performance. For example, a robust relationship was found between cognitive
engagement and both personal goal orientation and investment in learning (Greene & Miller, 1996;
Greene, Miller, Crowson, Duke & Akey, 2004), which, in turn, was associated with academic
achievement (Miller, Greene, Montalvo, Ravindran, & Nichols, 1996). Similarly, psychological
engagement was associated with adaptive school behaviors, including task persistence, participation,
and attendance (Goodenow, 1993a). In general, students who feel connected to and cared for by
their teachers report autonomous reasons for engaging in positive school-related behaviors (Ryan,
Stiller, & Lynch, 1994). Given these findings, it would seem necessary to move beyond indicators of
academic and behavioral engagement to understanding the underlying cognitive and psychological
needs of all students (see National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2004, p. 212, for
further support).
Third, the relevance of the engagement construct for all students (not merely those at risk
of dropping out) is bolstered by high school reform efforts that explicitly underscore students’
motivation to learn (Brophy, 2004). Admittedly, a conceptual shift is necessary to increase focus
on student engagement, especially in this period of high-stakes school accountability. If dropping
out involves a gradual process of disengagement from school, school completion is presumably
facilitated by continued, if not increasing, engagement over a student’s time in school. Research has
emphasized the examination of indicators of more overt subtypes of engagement—academic and
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382 Appleton et al.
behavioral—even while knowledge of more internal subtypes of student engagement—cognitive and
psychological—may enhance timely, effective interventions. Engagement in general, and cognitive
and psychological subtypes, specifically, seem especially helpful as a framework for preventing
school dropout and promoting school completion, especially for apathetic learners who do not see
the relevance or value of school or discouraged learners who have experienced extreme frustration
trying to perform better and now lack confidence as a learner. The cyclical nature of engagement
implies that both early efforts to engage students, as well as the failure to do so, may have led to
drastically different outcomes later in a student’s educational career. However, comparing motivation
and engagement, they are not the same construct. Engagement fits well as an essential pathway
in a process through which motivational and other constructs influence important school-related
outcomes. Nonetheless, whether this process should be defined by the constructs at its roots or its
vital engagement pathway remains the subject of future debate.
Finally, several researchers posit that engagement is a mediator between contextual influences
(i.e., facilitators) and desired learning outcomes such as academic achievement (Appleton et al.,
2006; Christenson et al., 2008; Fredericks et al., 2004). Yet, the distinction between indicators
of engagement and facilitators of engagement identified among the set of alterable predictors of
school completion highlights the role of school, family, and peer contexts in closing any engagement
definition gap. Indicators of engagement that convey a student’s degree or level of connection
with school and learning, such as attendance patterns, accrual of credits, and problem behavior, are
represented in engagement subtypes. In contrast, facilitators of engagement are contextual factors that
influence the strength of the connection, such as school discipline practices, parental supervision of
homework completion, and peer attitudes toward academic accomplishment. Examining facilitators
of engagement has implications for intervention practice and policies, while indicators of engagement
can guide identification procedures—initiating referrals at the first signs of withdrawal—and monitor
the progress of individual students and programs. Crucial to efforts to monitor the engagement of
all students is the determination of the most predictive indicators and influential facilitators across
relational contexts and over time (Eccles et al., 1993; Reis, Collins, & Berscheid, 2000). Attention
to student development across diverse student subgroups is vital to maintaining a school context
with sufficient holding power to engage all students.
As suggested throughout this discussion, the need for definitional clarity is pressing. Although
research is increasing, variations of researcher perceptions of the engagement construct are also
producing a conceptual blurring and inconsistency in the terms’ use across studies (Fredericks et al.,
2004; Jimerson et al., 2003). Equally notable is the ease and frequency with which concepts seem
to be included as engagement subtypes and the anomalous circumstances under which concepts
are excluded with any sort of certainty. Perhaps this is due to the underlying metaconstruct nature
of engagement, or perhaps there is a need for a stricter definition. Hinde (1979) once described
relationship science as a “conceptual jungle.” In its current state, the engagement construct seems
to be in such a jungle. Such a research crossroads, although challenging, provides an opportunity to
empirically and theoretically refine and clarify this construct.
The number and configuration of engagement subtypes provide another source of inconsistency
and conceptual haziness. Engagement has regularly been believed to involve both behavioral (e.g.,
participation) and affective (e.g., identification with school) components (Audas & Willms, 2001;
Finn, 1989, 1993), with some theorists conceptualizing similar components, but labeling “affective”
as “psychological” (Newmann et al., 1992; Willms, 2003). Others retain a two-component structure
(using “attitude leading to” and “behavior of” participating in the school’s programs), but do not
clarify whether that attitude is primarily affective or cognitive (Mosher & MacGowan, 1985).
Some theorists and reviewers have noted a cognitive aspect in addition to behavioral and affective
components (Chapman, 2003; Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Fredericks et al., 2004; Furlong et al.,
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Student Engagement 383
2003; Jimerson et al., 2003; Klem & Connell, 2004). Finally, others include behavioral, cognitive,
and psychological (affective) subtypes, but further differentiate an “academic” aspect (e.g., accrual
of credits toward graduation) (Christenson & Thurlow, 2004; Yazzie-Mintz, 2007). It may be that
consensus will only be achieved for the multidimensional aspect of student engagement, and, if so,
researchers will need to define clearly their conceptualization in each study. Vagueness can no longer
be allowed; the type of engagement must be understood relative to each research finding. We favor
a comprehensive conceptualization.
On a positive note, although there are considerable differences in the conceptualization of
engagement and its subtypes, Klem and Connell (2004) argued that despite these differences,
there is strong empirical support for the connection between engagement, achievement, and school
behavior across levels of economic and social advantage and disadvantage. Engaged students tend
to earn higher grades, perform better on tests, and drop out at lower rates, while lower levels of
engagement place students at risk for negative outcomes such as lack of attendance, disruptive
classroom behavior, and leaving school (Klem & Connell, 2004). It is promising that across varied
conceptualizations of student engagement with school, there is promising empirical support for the
construct’s relations with important social, emotional, and academic outcomes.
Yet, growing interest in, and excitement about, the construct must be tempered by the numerous
measurement issues that persist with student engagement. Of utmost importance is that there are
few instruments to measure student engagement and equate with expected outcomes; two exceptions
are the Student Engagement Instrument (Appleton et al., 2006) and the HSSSE (Yazzie-Mintz,
2007). Both measures gather the perspective of the student. Because their perspective is queried
rather than inferred, it may be a more valid way to understand students’ experiences and meaning
in the learning context, especially about students’ personal competency beliefs, desire to persist
toward goals, and sense of belonging (Appleton et al., 2006; Bronfenbrenner, 1992). The value
of consistent use of psychometrically sound measures would help remediate the current situation
where the same scale items have been used to represent different subtypes of engagement across
studies (Jimerson et al., 2003). Perhaps the most imperative and pressing direction for future research
involves establishing construct validity for student engagement. Much work remains to clarify the
promising engagement construct and improve consistent measurement across research groups. The
constancy of the construct across researchers—in conceptualization and measurement—is vital.
Failure to achieve clarification and consistency may obscure a construct of considerable potential
within a proliferation of competing conceptualizations.
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... That means achievement motivation has an essential role in learners engaging in academic activities. The level of motivation contributes well to the degree of involvement in learning activities (Appleton et al., 2008;Soric et al., 2017). ...
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... Although some students are well engaged in the teaching and learning activities, some are not engaged by being apathetic, casual chatting, not being excited, not focusing, or even sleeping during learning activities (Appleton et al., 2008). Thus, learner engagement in an online classroom is critical because students who feel unmotivated, bored, and uninvolved make them detached from the learning process's academic and non-academic aspects (Appleton et al., 2008;Fredricks, 2011). ...
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... School engagement is a concept that encompasses student motivations, perceptions, and actions (Appleton et al., 2008;Baron and Corbin, 2012). The process of engagement may take several forms, such as participation, involvement, and integration, which require rational thinking and action. ...
... Over the past few years, the issue of school engagement in higher education has become increasingly important (Trowler, 2010). Because it provides a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, academic success, and positive learning outcomes, school engagement is critical to the education system (Appleton et al., 2008;Furlong and Christenson, 2008;Dunleavy and Milton, 2009;Gunuc, 2013Gunuc, , 2014. Past studies indicate that most students enrolled in teacher training programs are moderately engaged at school (Gür, 2017;Ozdemir, 2017;Büyükgöze et al., 2018). ...
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... 147). Engagement entails students' reactions to, and interactions with, the learning material as it is embedded in the physical, instructional, and social environment, and has been studied actively for decades [16][17][18]. Motivation is an attitude that is much more general than Engagement, which must always be subject specific. Once an educational system creates an educational program, then measuring its success on an individual level requires an analysis of the following factors of engagement: Behavioural, Emotional, Cognitive, and Agentic. ...
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We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... La recherche montre que l'engagement scolaire des élèves est lié au décrochage scolaire (Finn & Rock, 1997;National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2004), aux résultats scolaires, à l'obtention d'un diplôme (Appleton, Christenson & Furlong, 2008;Eccles, 2004;Finn, 1989Finn, , 1993Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004;Jimerson, Campos, & Greif, 2003), au développement des jeunes (Lerner, Lerner, & Benson, 2011), et, plus tard, au succès académique et professionnel . D'après Christenson, Reschly et Wylie (2012), s'il y a consensus sur l'idée que l'engagement scolaire est un concept multidimensionnel, les auteurs divergent fortement quant au nombre de dimensions constitutives de ce concept. ...
... The SEI is a 33-item self-report measure of academic engagement designed to measure the cognitive and affective engagements of university students (Appleton et al., 2008). It was originally designed and validated for ninth-grade students (N=1, 931) in a diverse, urban school district in the upper Midwest (Appleton et al., 2006). ...
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... Feelings of school belongingness and connectedness are linked to a host of positive youth outcomes, including better mental health (Rueger et al., 2016;Chu et al., 2010) and academic outcomes (Appleton et al., 2008), as well as lower rates of truancy (Christenson & Thurlow, 2004) and behavior problems (Wang & Fredricks, 2014). Peer relationships and support are instrumental in fostering feelings of school belongingness and connectedness (Estell & Perdue, 2013;Juvonen et al., 2012;Pham & Murray, 2016). ...
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This paper analyzes to which extent cognitive engagement and behavioural engagement of pupils are associated to individual factors (like gender, social background, or grade repition) and to contextual factors linked to the school (like school climate or the perception of the relations between students). The sample is composed of 1473 pupils from secondary schools in Luxembourg. The statistical analysis is based on three models of multiple linear regression, which explain about 15% of the variance of the cognitive engagement and about 22% of the variance of the behavioural engagement.
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Although most individuals pass through adolescence without excessively high levels of "storm and stress," many do experience difficulty. Why? Is there something unique about this developmental period that puts adolescents at risk for difficulty? This article focuses on this question and advances the hypothesis that some of the negative psychological changes associated with adolescent development result from a mismatch between the needs of developing adolescents and the opportunities afforded them by their social environments. It provides examples of how this mismatch develops in the school and in the home and how it is linked to negative age-related changes in early adolescents' motivation and self-perceptions. Ways in which more developmentally appropriate social environments can be created are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article discusses the development and validation of a measure of adolescent students' perceived belonging or psychological membership in the school environment. An initial set of items was administered to early adolescent students in one suburban middle school (N = 454) and two multi-ethnic urban junior high schools (N = 301). Items with low variability and items detracting from scale reliability were dropped, resulting in a final 18-item Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) scale, which had good internal consistency reliability with both urban and suburban students and in both English and Spanish versions. Significant findings of several hypothesized subgroup differences in psychological school membership supported scale construct validity. The quality of psychological membership in school was found to be substantially correlated with self-reported school motivation, and to a lesser degree with grades and with teacher-rated effort in the cross-sectional scale development studies and in a subsequent longitudinal project. Implications for research and for educational practice, especially with at-risk students, are discussed.
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This article discusses the development and validation of a measure of adolescent students' perceived belonging or psychological membership in the school environment. An initial set of items was administered to early adolescent students in one suburban middle school (N = 454) and two multi‐ethnic urban junior high schools (N = 301). Items with low variability and items detracting from scale reliability were dropped, resulting in a final 18‐item Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) scale, which had good internal consistency reliability with both urban and suburban students and in both English and Spanish versions. Significant findings of several hypothesized subgroup differences in psychological school membership supported scale construct validity. The quality of psychological membership in school was found to be substantially correlated with self‐reported school motivation, and to a lesser degree with grades and with teacher‐rated effort in the cross‐sectional scale development studies and in a subsequent longitudinal project. Implications for research and for educational practice, especially with at‐risk students, are discussed.
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Research on dropping out of school has focused on characteristics of the individual or institution that correlate with the dropout decision. Many of these characteristics are nonmanipulable, and all are measured at one point in time, late in the youngster’s school career. This paper describes two models for understanding dropping out as a developmental process that may begin in the earliest grades. The frustration-self-esteem model has been used for years in the study of juvenile delinquency; it identifies school failure as the starting point in a cycle that may culminate in the student’s rejecting, or being rejected by, the school. The participation-identification model focuses on students’ “involvement in schooling,” with both behavioral and emotional components. According to this formulation, the likelihood that a youngster will successfully complete 12 years of schooling is maximized if he or she maintains multiple, expanding forms of participation in school-relevant activities. The failure of a youngster to participate in school and class activities, or to develop a sense of identification with school, may have significant deleterious consequences. The ability to manipulate modes of participation poses promising avenues for further research as well as for intervention efforts.
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A sample of 1,803 minority students from low-income homes was classified into 3 groups on the basis of grades, test scores, and persistence from Grade 8 through Grade 12; the classifications were academically successful school completers (''resilient'' students), school completers with poorer academic performance (nonresilient completers), and noncompleters (dropouts). Groups were compared in terms of psychological characteristics and measures of ''school engagement.'' Large, significant differences were found among groups on engagement behaviors, even after background and psychological characteristics were controlled statistically The findings support the hypothesis that student engagement is an important component of academic resilience. Furthermore, they provide information for designing interventions to improve the educational prognoses of students at risk.