Wait, you can measure that? Student engagement and why it matters | Toby Elmore | 5 Min Read

In anticipation of a forthcoming research study I will complete investigating connections between perceived locus of control, agentic engagement, and student sense of belonging, I offer descriptions of these different constructs and why we, as educators, should care about them. To reference my first article on perceived locus of control, please click here. 

It is safe to say that most learner-centered teachers desire their students to be engaged during the learning process. However, it is important for those of us in the educational community to dig deeper into what we mean by student engagement. 

Engagement is broadly defined as the degree to which a student actively participates in an activity. Participation can manifest itself in a broad range of ways, from quiet, constructive reflection to raucous debate and discussion. Much of the research literature to this point has focused on three ways students engage in the learning process: behavioral, cognitive, and affective (or emotional) engagement.

  • Behavioral engagement refers to the visible ways in which a student displays effort, resilience, and rules-based actions; it can also be measured in concrete, observable elements such as attendance, time-on-task, and disruptive or productive in-class activity.
  • Cognitive engagement refers to…
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Toby Elmore

Toby Elmore is studying at the University of San Francisco School of Education.