What can you start doing today to begin boosting student engagement?
In a recent study conducted by Wonderlic, Inc. and the Imagine America Foundation, researchers discovered the top 14 characteristics that are highly correlated with student engagement. This is promising research for schools that are looking for ways to increase retention, completion, and transfer rates, because the effects of engagement on academic achievement are well documented. This is also especially encouraging for schools that serve nontraditional or disadvantaged student populations, because helping these students feel engaged at school has a positive effect on their success and retention.
Top 14 school characteristics (ranked) that can impact engagement:
How can I cultivate these characteristics at my school?
A look at this list will most likely reveal items your school is already doing, items your school could do better, and items your school is not yet doing. You may also notice that the 14 items naturally fall into three broad categories, which may make it easier to mobilize efforts around each item on your campus. To tackle this list, consider the recommendations below when deciding how to put an action plan in place at your school to increase student engagement:
Recognition & Respect
ü My teachers know my name
ü My advisor treats me with respect
ü My teachers treat me with respect
ü My teachers have earned my respect
ü My advisor cares about my success in school
ü My teachers want me to succeed
ü Utilize an LMS that has a student communication feature and uses data analytics to flag when students require attention from a professor or advisor
ü The program I am enrolled in matches my career interests
ü The program and classes at this school are preparing me well for the job I want
ü The skills I learn in class are up to date and important for the job I want
ü Administer a career inventory upon enrollment to help students select courses and programs that align with their career interests
ü Align curriculum with job-specific skills and employer expectations
ü Give students the opportunity to earn credentials that demonstrate their job readiness
Quality of Learning & Learning Environment
ü My classes are interesting
ü I feel safe at school
ü My teachers are committed to providing a quality education
ü My teachers are experts in their fields
ü My classes are well structured and productive
ü Consider implementing a flipped classroom model so that professors can make the most out of class time
ü Utilize an assessment tool that simultaneously evaluates quality of instruction and alignment of course objectives to students’ career goals
How can I be sure our efforts are working?
When you’re ready to start improving student engagement at your campus, you will want to begin by setting measurable goals and track the progress toward your goals through measurement and evaluation. One way to do this is to administer student engagement and student motivation surveys to each individual upon enrollment and completion so that you can monitor the effectiveness of your initiatives. It is considered a best practice to adopt an external evaluation mechanism to reduce bias and to increase objectivity. An added benefit of going with an external provider is that many of them also offer consulting, professional development, and support services.