Engagement in school might be one of the best ways to predict a student's outcomes, according to a report by Gallup on student attitudes toward school.
To create the report, Gallup surveyed approximately 900,000 students in grades five through twelve who represented around 3,000 schools from 540 school districts across the United States. The survey was conducted online during the fall of 2016.
Students were asked about their level of engagement with school and their optimism for the future, as well as their level of entrepreneurial and financial awareness. In general, researchers found that nearly half (49%) of public school students are engaged with school and 47% are optimistic for the future. For the purposes of the study, Gallup defined engagement as "involvement and enthusiasm with school."
Researchers found that being engaged in school was correlated with a variety of positive outcomes. Students who were more engaged were more likely to:
- Perform well academically;
- Have lower levels of absenteeism; and
- Feel optimistic about their future choices, such as attending college.
However, students tend to become less engaged as they move through school, with the least engaged students being those who are closest to earning their high school diplomas.
The student poll also revealed five more insights about today's K-12 students:
- Most students maintain a friendship with a peer, but many students do not have a chance to be involved with what they see as their greatest strength;
- The greatest motivation for students to do well in school is being able to do what they believe is their greatest strength;
- Many older students do not have an adult in their lives whom they feel is nurturing and supportive;
- The desire to start a business is not very strong for most students, however students in lower grades have a greater desire than those in higher grades; and
- Students who participate in extracurricular activities are more likely to perform well academically and have positive outcomes in other areas.
(Gallup, 5/25; Gallup report, accessed 5/31)
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