College & Workforce Readiness

News Flash: High School Students Are Bored

By Anthony Rebora — July 01, 2010 1 min read
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A recently released annual survey on student engagement has found that, in the grand American tradition, high school students continue to be bored. The “2009 High School Survey of Student Engagement,” conducted by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, reveals that 66 percent of the students surveyed said they are bored on at least a daily basis in school, with 17 percent reporting that they are bored in every class. Two percent of the students said they are never bored in school, raising suspicions that they could be Russian spies. (Kidding about that last part.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the factor the students most frequently cited as the cause of their boredom was that the “material wasn’t interesting,” with “lack of relevance” of the material following not too far behind. Some 35 percent of the bored students, however, indicated that the source of their boredom was a lack of interaction with their teacher.

Indeed, the report suggests that providing greater interaction of some sort might be at least part of the answer to relieving students’ malaise. Asked to rate to degree to which various types of classroom work excite or engage them, the students gave the highest positive ratings to “Discussion and Debate” (especially when “there are no clear answers”) and “Group Projects.” “Projects and Lessons Involving Technology” also scored well. By contrast, “Teacher Lecture” received the lowest ratings, with only 26 percent of students responding positively.

The students also indicated, with a whopping 82 percent in agreement, that they would welcome more opportunities to be creative at school. Food for thought ...

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.


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