Early Elementary Influences on Student Engagement in Learning

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2006-12-11

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Student engagement is a process that combines the attention, interest, investment, and effort students expend in work towards learning. Studies have shown that engagement leads to academic achievement and that disengaged students have lower scores on achievement tests and a higher probability of dropping out of school (Connell et al. 1994; Finn et al., 1995; Marks, 2000). The goal of this study was to probe the validity of an explicit predictive model of the antecedents of engagement involving measures of prior achievement, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and parent involvement and the total effect of these variables decomposed into direct and indirect (via engagement) effects on academic achievement. Results indicate that a self-report measure of engagement was found to predict achievement for a sample of 676 third grade students but that engagement had no incremental validity in predicting achievement. The construct validity of engagement and parent involvement measures are discussed.

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