Summary by Public Education NewsBlast
"A new study in the journal Learning and Instruction examines how subtle facets of student engagement are critical for long-term academic success, reports Sarah Sparks in Education Week. Researchers tracked 1,000 mostly minority students from 23 public middle schools in a suburb of Washington, D.C. At the beginning of 7th grade and the end of 8th grade, researchers interviewed students about emotional support from administrators, teachers, and other students; ability to choose projects and teammates for class assignments; and whether they considered class material relevant to their lives. Separately, researchers assessed students on behavioral engagement, including how often the student completed homework on time, followed school rules, and responded in class discussions; emotional engagement, including whether the student felt interested in class subjects and accepted in the school culture; and cognitive engagement, including how well the student managed and monitored his or her own learning. Researchers found that what improves student behavior only sometimes engages them emotionally and cognitively. Students who said teachers set clear expectations and responded consistently were more likely to participate in class and feel connected. Teacher emotional support didn't directly affect student cognitive engagement -- rather, students were more likely to take ownership of learning when studies were personally interesting. Similarly, control over schoolwork did not improve student motivation or enhance feelings of competency unless choices were aligned with personal interests. "