14 Characteristics Impacting Student Engagement
What can you start doing today to begin boosting student engagement?
In a recent study conducted by Wonderlic, Inc. and the Imagine America Foundation, researchers discovered the top 14 characteristics that are highly correlated with student engagement. This is promising research for schools that are looking for ways to increase retention, completion, and transfer rates, because the effects of engagement on academic achievement are well documented. This is also especially encouraging for schools that serve nontraditional or disadvantaged student populations, because helping these students feel engaged at school has a positive effect on their success and retention.
Top 14 school characteristics (ranked) that can impact engagement:
- My teacher knows my name
- My advisor treats me with respect
- The program I am enrolled in matches my career interests
- My classes are interesting
- The program and classes at this school are preparing me well for the job I want
- I feel safe at school
- My teachers treat me with respect
- My advisor cares about my success in school
- My teachers have earned my respect
- The skills I learn in class are up to date and important for the job I want
- My teachers are committed to providing a quality education
- My teachers want me to succeed
- My teachers are experts in their fields
- My classes are well structured and positive
How can I cultivate these characteristics at my school?
A look at this list will most likely reveal items your school is already doing, items your school could do better, and items your school is not yet doing. You may also notice that the 14 items naturally fall into three broad categories, which may make it easier to mobilize efforts around each item on your campus. To tackle this list, consider the recommendations below when deciding how to put an action plan in place at your school to increase student engagement:
How can I be sure our efforts are working?
When you’re ready to start improving student engagement at your campus, you will want to begin by setting measurable goals and track the progress toward your goals through measurement and evaluation. One way to do this is to administer student engagement and student motivation surveys to each individual upon enrollment and completion so that you can monitor the effectiveness of your initiatives. It is considered a best practice to adopt an external evaluation mechanism to reduce bias and to increase objectivity. An added benefit of going with an external provider is that many of them also offer consulting, professional development, and support services.