Student Well-Being Research Center Reports

Student Engagement During the Pandemic: Results of a National Survey

October 2021

Student engagement is a longstanding concern among educators. The issue became even more urgent in March of 2020, when U.S. schools shut down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, forcing millions of American students and teachers to engage in remote learning for the very first time. Although some students thrived in the new environment, educators worried that too many were being left behind as remote learning continued into the 2020-21 school year for some learners while others see-sawed back and forth between in-person and home instruction and still others experienced a next normal of “typical” school days punctuated by social distancing, quarantines, and masks.

In November of 2020, the EdWeek Research Center took stock of the pandemic’s impact on student engagement by administering two nationally representative, online surveys, one to PreK-12 teachers and another to students in grades six through twelve. Many of the questions overlapped. This report compares the results of the students who responded to that survey with the results of middle and high school teachers, since elementary students were not polled.

The results suggest that, in many ways, when it comes to student engagement, students and teachers are simply not on the same page.

Coverage of social and emotional learning is supported in part by a grant from The Allstate Foundation, at AllstateFoundation.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.