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Engagement and Motivation Matter


June 19, 2014


Engagement and Motivation Matter

Education Week's Diplomas Count 2014 salutes recent gains in high school graduation rate and shines a light on the role of engagement and motivation in student success.

A companion report, Engaging Students for Success, surveyed about 500 K-12 teachers and administrators and found that, while engagement and motivation were ranked as the most important drivers of student achievement, only 40 percent of respondents said that their students were highly engaged and motivated. Less than half of respondents thought that their pre-service training prepared them to engage and motivate students. Additional challenges identified included lack of parental support, student apathy, inadequate time and resources, and accountability pressures and administration policies.

The top approaches to promoting student engagement and motivation identified by respondents were:  

  • Schoolwork that is relevant to real-world challenges and life experiences
  • Fine arts courses
  • Programs to connect students with careers and businesses
  • CTE courses
  • Challenging and rigorous coursework and assignments

In addition, the following were the three most common responses to the question "What are the most effective strategies you use to engage and motivate students?":

  • Use a variety of interactive and hands-on activities
  • Build personal relationships with students
  • Make curriculum interesting and relevant

As these survey findings indicate, students are engaged and motivated to succeed when they have access to relevant, hands-on learning that connects them, through real-world activities, to postsecondary education and the workplace.  

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