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It Matters: Students speak out about engagement

March 01, 2022 1 min read
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Recently, 347,248 students from around the world shared their feelings about engagement in school. Elementary students’ responses indicated that they were more engaged in their own learning and school environment than their middle and high school counterparts.

Understanding and helping institutions meet the needs of students has been Cognia’s™ focus for many years. Our data, along with research in this field, show that student engagement is essential for the development of positive academic, social, and emotional outcomes. In 2017, Cognia, a global nonprofit dedicated to helping institutions and other education providers, designed its Student Engagement Survey (SES) to gauge how students feel about their classroom and school experiences. Educators can use the survey results to reflect on, and respond to, what students say about those experiences.

When remote/hybrid learning began in March 2020, access to student voices became inconsistent. It was increasingly difficult for educators to keep a pulse on what students were feeling, thinking, and experiencing in their learning environments. Using Cognia’s Student Engagement Survey, educators in more than 1,600 schools worldwide were able to collect perspectives on behavioral, cognitive, and emotional commitment from nearly 350,000 students.

The survey results show that middle and high school students reported finding considerably less personal meaning and value in their learning activities than elementary students. For example:

  • Elementary student responses indicated higher levels of behavioral commitment when compared to older students in areas such as the effort they put forth to complete their work.
  • Elementary students also indicated strong committed emotional engagement regarding their positive feelings about their school and classroom and taking ownership to stay positive when compared to middle and high school student responses.

Data Graph

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    Given the survey results, Cognia offers a sampling of evidence-based strategies designed to increase engagement levels for students in grades 3-12, regardless of their learning environment. A complete list of strategies can be found in the full data story.

    Data Chart

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    Read the full data story to gain more insight into students’ perspectives about their engagement.

    Read the technical brief to learn more about the Student Engagement Survey.