College and Career Readiness

Comprehensive System of Learning Supports

Equal attention to Learning Supports is essential so that:
  • Every student will demonstrate academic achievement and be prepared for success after high school;
  • Every student will be supported by highly prepared and effective teachers and school leaders; and
  • Every school will offer a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.

Engagement and Re-engagement

Research has demonstrated that student engagement is correlated with higher achievement (e.g., standardized tests, grades) (Connell et al., 1995, Skinner et al., 1990, Alexander, et al., 1997).  Engagement encompasses three areas, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive.

Behavioral engagement consists of:

  • participation in social or extracurricular school activities;
  • involvement in learning and academic tasks which includes behaviors such as staying on task, putting forth effort, completing assignments, and contributing to class discussions;
  • and demonstrating positive conduct (e.g., following rules, adhering to class norms, attending class).

Emotional engagement often refers to:

  • emotional reactions to school and people in the school, including interests, boredom, happiness, sadness, and anxiety; and
  • value placed on the work, including enjoyment of the activity, importance of doing well on the task, and any negative aspects of engaging in the task.

Cognitive engagement involves:

  • the use of metacognitive strategies to plan, monitor, and evaluate one’s cognition when accomplishing tasks;
  • the ability to manage and control efforts on tasks (e.g., staying on task when distractions are present, persisting through challenging work, and being flexible); and
  • psychological investment in learning (i.e., a desire to go beyond the requirements in order to understand and master the knowledge, skill or craft, a preference for challenge).

Antecedents of Engagement

  • voluntary choice
  • clear and consistent goals
  • small size
  • student participation in school policy and management
  • opportunities for staff and students to be involved in cooperative endeavors
  • academic work that allows for the development of products
  • teacher support
  • peer acceptance
  • clear academic and social behavioral expectations
  • autonomy-supportive environments
  • authentic and challenging tasks

    Source–School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence, 2004

It is imperative to identify disengaged students and intervene as soon as possible. Some recommendations include:

  • explore why the student has become disengaged (talk to student)
  • formulate a personalized plan that promotes feelings of competence, autonomy, and relatedness
  • provide opportunities for meaningful application
  • monitor student’s progress and alter personalized plan accordingly

Engagement Resources