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Student Engagement: Why Aren’t We Listening? Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., Director High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) Center for Evaluation.

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Presentation on theme: "Student Engagement: Why Aren’t We Listening? Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., Director High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) Center for Evaluation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student Engagement: Why Aren’t We Listening? Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., Director High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) Center for Evaluation & Education Policy, Indiana University And W. Glen Miller, Jr., Ed.D., Manager School Improvement, Chesterfield County Public Schools Virginia Assessment Program: From Development to Data Virginia Association of Test Directors 2008 Conference – Richmond, VA October 29, 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement

2 Student Engagement: Why Aren’t We Listening? Presentation Overview I.Context II.What is the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE)? III.A Concept of Engagement IV.What the Students Say: HSSSE Spring 2008 Data V.What We Can Do: Engaging All Students

3 Standards & Accountability Graduation Rates Dropout Rates

4 Structures Programs & Initiatives Engagement of Students

5 High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) HSSSE is a national research and professional development project, with three primary purposes: -- To help high schools explore, understand, and strengthen student engagement -- To work with high school teachers and administrators on utilizing survey data to improve practices -- To conduct rigorous research on issues of student engagement Spring 2008 Respondents -- 66,062 students completed surveys (73% response rate) -- Students came from 117 different high schools -- High schools were located in 27 different states Spring 2008 Respondents – Chesterfield County -- 6,672 students completed surveys (70% response rate) -- Students came from 12 different high schools

6 High School Survey of Student Engagement Central Questions What does student engagement mean in schools? What does student engagement look like in schools? In what ways and to what degree do students engage in the life and work of high schools? Why is student engagement important to the life and work of a school? Why do students engage or “dis-engage” in the life and work of school? What are the connections between important student variables — e.g., race, class, gender, academic track — and the level and dimensions of student engagement? What roles do teachers, administrators, and school structures play in engaging or “dis-engaging” students?

7 What is engagement? Researchers have generally defined and measured engagement in terms of: Time on task Attendance/absence/truancy Internal motivation HSSSE defines engagement as a multi-dimensional construct, with three primary components: Cognitive/Intellectual/Academic Engagement: -- the work students do and the ways students go about their work -- engagement connected to instructional time Social/Behavioral/Participatory Engagement: -- the ways in which students interact within the school community -- engagement with the school outside of instructional time Emotional Engagement: -- how students feel about their current school situation, including the people with whom they interact, the work, and school structures

8 I wish school could be intellectually challenging as well as academically challenging.

9 Why won’t they bring what we are learning to life?

10 I can’t stress enough that we want to learn, but the focus at our school is not on knowledge nearly as much as it is on letter grades.

11 I always wished at least one teacher would see a skill in me that seemed extraordinary, or help to encourage its growth.

12 High School Survey of Student Engagement Spring 2008 Data Overview

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14 Foundations of Engagement

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17 A Question of Resources? The High-Tech High School Example

18 They’re making that up…They just want to make us look bad. -- the principal of High-Tech High School

19 And from the students of High-Tech High School: I feel like administrators put too much emphasis on making the school look good, not the students’ best interest. High school years are supposed to be a prime time of growing in all ways but ridiculous busy work prevents personal growth outside of school. I am not engaged in any classes and think there is too much emphasis on TESTS. I often feel that we are pushed to learn answers instead of material, or to do well on a test instead of understand the concept. [This school] cares a lot about its image. Maybe too much!

20 Questions from an Indiana high school teacher: Can we really trust the students? Realistically, how many students should we expect to engage?

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23 Student Actions for Learning

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25 Rigor and Relevance

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27 Relationships, Support, & Connection

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32 Pedagogy

33 Q35: Would you like to say more about any of your answers to these survey questions? I really like this survey because I was asked questions that I really needed to think about and figure out what I really need to do with my life...starting with graduating. School revolves too much around grades…and not about “knowledge.“ I can't stress enough that we want to learn, but the focus at our school is not on knowledge nearly as much as it is on letter grades. Too much focus is put on learning to memorize for tests, then we forget. Teach concepts-- not facts. I feel that the hours I spend on homework are greatly decreasing my interest in learning rather than reinforcing the material I've been taught. Grades are valued too highly by most everyone. I should be allowed to take advanced courses even if I did not get high grades in previous related courses. I lack the ability to do homework and projects efficiently, but not the ability to learn. School is not safe. There are a lot of students here, but not with education on their mind or as their first priority. Drugs, violence, and other things are a problem here. We need help. Truckloads of asinine rules and regulations restrict even the most basic of human rights and freedoms. Teachers show favoritism to students. Staff focuses too much on how we look and not enough on our education. I think the rules in this school are no good. Especially dress code. The way we look has nothing to do with learning.

34 Q35: Would you like to say more about any of your answers to these survey questions? -- continued – We need more activities that students are interested in – if you see no reason for learning, you choose not to learn it. I just think there is more I could be doing to help others, but I can't when I am stuck in a classroom. I want to be able to interact with students more. Discussions are a good way to learn. I love to do anything except sit quietly at my desk while the teacher talks her head off and lectures us. Some classes I have a whole hour of free time. It makes me feel like I’m wasting my time in school. More creative teachers who work with students hands-on would create a more exciting and motivational environment. Teachers need to be more motivating and encourage students to do well in school. They also need to make learning fun and interesting. Unimaginative teachers have left me bored and unmotivated. Most of the stuff we learn in school doesn’t apply for the future. Our school is more strict on what we wear than our grades. I really enjoy projects because I get involved more and presenting to the class is fun and makes you more confident. I have noticed this year all kids learn a lot better if you involve them in discussions or board work. I feel like there are too many projects, especially projects where one person does all the work.

35 Q35: Would you like to say more about any of your answers to these survey questions? -- continued – When I said I go to school because of my teachers, it’s only for the 1-2 that care. A good teacher makes all the difference between a pass or a fail. Our school has some of the best academic standards, but we are still not challenging our students enough. The individual is ignored and discouraged. Rules are hypocritical, unfairly enforced, and play majorities. The school does not listen to what students have to say. They jump to conclusions and don’t listen to what we have to say. This is a great school, full of opportunity. However it shows little empathy…to students that have a different way of learning. I was never pushed by any teacher to do the best that I can. This school needs to care more about their students. I do well in school but the work is pointless and gets me no closer to my goals. The administration and most teachers are more concerned with awards and standardized tests than teaching.

36 Q35: Would you like to say more about any of your answers to these survey questions? -- continued – These surveys are pointless because you guys will do nothing even if there is a problem. Pointless! You won’t change anyway so why do you care? These surveys are pointless because no matter what we say none of the supervisors will listen to us. Do you really think a survey will change anything about this school? I do not believe anyone will read this and actually care. Will this survey change anything? Will curriculum be changed if enough people say they're bored. Will research papers be cut if everyone says that they aren't excited at all about them? I doubt it. Most of our teachers are great, but some that I’ve had are not. One didn’t even know my name at the end of the year! Listen to the students and take us seriously! I hope everyone takes this survey and actually expresses their opinions. Please act upon these surveys.

37 Structures Advisories Small Learning Communities & Academies New Tech High Schools & Project-Based Learning Environments Programs & Initiatives Common Goal Initiative America’s Promise Alliance CT State Board of Education District & School Initiatives

38 Engaging All Students ***Student engagement is not a policy – it is a culture.*** Know what the students think. Believe what students say and care about what students think. Set a clear purpose for education in the school, and be sure that this purpose is enacted by everybody in the school community. Create structures and processes that meet the learning needs of the students, not just the needs of the adults. Engage all students deeply and equally.

39 Local Implementation The HSSSE is one of the measures we use for our current six-year plan, The Design for Excellence Schools are given one month (Feb) to administer the surveys to 10 th and 12 th graders. Schools use the results to track “student engagement” from the 10 th -12 th grades and to compare their students with national sample

40 Why study engagement? Engaged students get more from school on all levels than do their disengaged peers.

41 How is engagement defined? Cognitive/intellectual/academic engagement: describing the work students do and the ways students go about doing their work Social/behavioral/participatory engagement: describing the ways in which students interact within the school community Emotional engagement: describes how students feel about where they are in school

42 HSSSE Overview A paper and pencil survey that “investigates the attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs that students have about their work, the school learning environment, and their interaction with the school community.” Results can help schools explore the causes and conditions that lead to student success or failure, engagement or “dis-engagement,” persistence or dropping out. The instrument provides a comparison with 65,000 students nationwide (32 states), comparison with CCPS students, and sophomore to senior comparison at each school. Baseline information collected in 2008 with 3435 sophomores for future study

43 Information Available Demographics for school and HSSSE sample including self-report of instructional track and postsecondary aspirations CD contains disaggregated data Clusters of items support rigor/relevance/relationships framework

44 CCPS 10 th and 12 th graders respond to the HSSSE survey in spring % said there is one adult who knows me well 45% feel challenged academically 30% say they are not engaged in school 76% go to school to go to college; 47% to acquire skills for the workplace 46% of those who had considered dropping out did so because they couldn ’ t see the value in the work they were being asked to do 71% said they were bored every day or every class; of those, 42% were bored because the work wasn ’ t relevant

45 Where Do We Go From Here? Look at your report internally Where appropriate, also consider SIP Surveys and School Climate Surveys Each HSSSE school binder contains 6 sections and a CD of data files and the data in Excel format for additional analysis Answer the “Three Questions”

46 Where Do We Go From Here? (The Three Questions) – Where can we showcase or highlight progress? – What are a few items of interest?? – What is an area of concern for our school? Items due to the Division of Instruction by Dec 1

47 Ethan Yazzie-Mintz, Director High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) Center for Evaluation & Education Policy Indiana University 1900 East Tenth Street Bloomington, IN Phone: Fax: Website: High School Survey of Student Engagement


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