During this month, I’ll be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to finish-up some more extended writing projects.
During this short break, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2018.
You might also be interested in A Look Back: All My Favorite Posts From The Past Eleven Years In One Place!
Ah, “student engagement.”
A phrase used often (see The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement), but its meaning can vary.
A new study (it’s behind a paywall, but there are ways around it: see “Unpaywall” Is New Tool For Accessing Research Papers For Free and Sci-Hub Loses Domain Names, But Remains Resilient)suggests that “student engagement” increased for awhile following the passage of No Child Left Behind, but then went down.
In a moment, I’ll share what the authors suggest are some of the reasons behind those changes (they won’t be a surprise to educators).
What I find particularly intriguing, though, is how they arrived at their definition of “student engagement.”
They used an annual ten-question survey given to children by the Bureau of Labor Statistics called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Children and Young Adults.
Specifically, ten questions in the CHILD SELF-ADMINISTERED SUPPLEMENT
Here are the questions:
Those seem like intriguing questions to me, and I can see how they might be good measures of “student engagement.”
What else would you include?
Now, getting back to the conclusions of the study and how it relates to NCLB. Here’s what they say:
One way to interpret this pattern is that some of the early changes made by the states—such as the development of streamlined standards, curricula, and tests; provision support to struggling schools; and increased instructional time (U.S. Department of Education, 2007; Wong et al., 2009)—may have boosted engagement but that over time, accountability pressure—specifically the increased likelihood of falling into sanctions—may have eroded school engagement, consistent with previously conducted local studies demonstrating decreases in student engagement in response to high-stakes testing and accountability systems (e.g., M. G. Jones et al., 2003; Nichols & Berliner, 2007)….Though the present study cannot identify what NCLB mechanisms likely impacted engagement, previous research suggests that narrowed curricula, reduced instructional support and autonomy in the classroom, and increased teacher anxiety (e.g., Au, 2007; Diamond, 2007; Finnegan & Gross, 2007; Griffith & Scharmann, 2008; Hannaway & Hamilton, 2008; McMurrer, 2007; Pederson, 2007; Plank & Condliffe, 2013) may have played a role.
This is a very interesting read! Isn’t it so true that relationship is key. In my limited experience and study I have found that a positive student teacher relationship based not he teacher caring about students not just doing their job is vital to engagement. In my opinion the large economies of scale model of schools in WA at the moment is the undoing of the contemporary education system environment. Thousands of students go to campuses with hundreds of teachers daily and it seems impossible for teachers to know all students by name and many students only know a handful of teachers over their 5 years at the ‘super school’. There are simply too many students and teachers in one place for regular interaction and the building of safety and belonging. Therefore, students become more anonymous which exacerbates behavioural problems and this can’t be overcome easily with positive student teacher relationship and care.
Thank you for enlightening all teachers. I have started following your blog, and I am amazed at all of your knowledge and resources. Bless you for sharing! Jo Rose
Thanks for the kind words. Glad you find it helpful.