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Does School Engagement Predict Student Success?

Children’s interest and engagement in school influences their prospects of educational and occupational success 20 years later, over and above their academic attainment and socioeconomic background, researchers have found.

The more children felt connected to their school community and felt engaged, rather than bored, the greater their likelihood of achieving a higher educational qualification and going on to a professional or managerial career. Click here to read the full article: http://theconversation.com/school-engagement-predicts-success-later-in-life-15157

The study from researchers at Menzies Research Institute Tasmania is published in the British Educational Research Journal.

The researchers used data from the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study, which collected health-related data from school children aged nine to 13 years, and again 20 years later when they were young adults.

The research team created a “school engagement index” using questionnaire items on school enjoyment and boredom, including items such as motivation to learn, sense of belonging, participation in school or extra-mural activities and enjoyment of physical activity.

They found that each unit of school engagement was independently associated with a 10% higher chance of achieving a post-compulsory school education at some point during the next 20 years, including as a mature age student.

And those who were engaged at school were more likely to go on to a professional, semi-professional or managerial career.

Lead author Joan Abbott-Chapman, University Associate at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, said the study was an important confirmation for teachers and educators that what happens in school has life-long consequences.

“If students can be engaged by curriculum, through the mode of delivery, through a rich variety of learning experiences and through the way teachers relate with students, then this is going to pave the way for achievement in adulthood,” she said.

Parents also have an enormous influence over their child’s educational participation, Dr Abbott-Chapman said, but they could take heart that even students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds could be encouraged to achieve success.

“If parents are able to co-operate with schools and teachers to help to promote student engagement, then this is likely to provide a springboard, if you like, for future achievement in school and in employment right through to adulthood,” she said.

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