Improving Student Engagement Tip #1: Friends and Family Make a Difference

As you may already know, Wonderlic and the Imagine America Foundation (IAF) recently conducted a study to determine what factors influence student engagement. We discovered that student engagement occurs when students make a significant, psychological investment in their learning. Engaged students put a large amount of effort into learning, and they take pride in incorporating what they learn into their lives.

But what makes a student engaged vs. disengaged?

Our analyses found that one important factor in building student engagement is support from both family and friends.

The graph below shows that students who more strongly agreed that the important people in their lives support their decision to go to school were also more satisfied with their progress towards completing their program. (1 = Strongly Disagree to 5 = Strongly Agree).

  Student Engagement

To succeed is no small task, nor is it an individual one. Our analyses indicate that establishing and fostering student support systems drive both student engagement and educational outcomes. As the graph above suggests, students are more likely to progress through their studies if they have a strong support system at home.

Unfortunately, students vary in the amount of emotional support and encouragement they receive. To this end, one best practice is for schools to engage the students’ support system. For example, schools could institute a family and friends appreciation night to build stronger support systems, and get them more heavily invested in their loved one’s educational goals. By engaging these student support systems, schools will be able to both maximize graduation rates and have students progress towards graduation in a timely fashion.

In addition, by using a student engagement survey across time, schools can determine the effectiveness of their initiatives and use the data to modify those initiatives accordingly.

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