Thursday, August 5, 2010

Student Engagement, Achievement, and Effective Teaching - A CEA Report

I rarely look at the Canadian context because, quite frankly, there is very little to look at. But a recent report by the Canadian Education Association (CEA) is definitely worth a read. What did you do in school today? is a CEA report which explores the relationships "among student engagement, achievement, and effective teaching". The report, a national initiative, is an attempt to look at one of the major challenges in education and provide some "Canadian" data on how best to take the next steps. The challenge?! - to engage students whose passions do not fit within the traditional curriculum, students who could do better at their studies, students who put in the time but make little effort, students who are invested only in passing the test, students who tune out, and those who drop out.
This challenge is not just contained to the classroom, it transcends education, philosophies and methods, expectations, and the future of education as a system, process, and function of society.

The initiative which lead to this report started back in 2007 and obtained its data from an online survey which measures "four aspects of social, academic and intellectual engagement, as well as student wellness and five indicators of classroom and school climate." And the data has some serious numbers behind it, the first-year findings are based on data collected from 32,322 students in 93 schools from 10 school districts, and pretty well evenly distributed between the two sexes.

The findings are quite interesting, and in some cases unfortunately predictable. The following graph shows the percentage of students with a positive sense of belonging in Grades 6 through 12:

The ninety-three schools which participated in the survey have already began analyzing data to better understand the findings from the students’ perspective and within their local contexts.