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Measuring Student Engagemement in Upper Elementary Through High School: A Description of 21 Instruments


Authors:   Jennifer Fredricks, Wendy McColskey

As schools and districts seek to increase engagement, it is important for them to understand how it has been defined and to assess the options for measuring it. This report reviews the characteristics of 21 instruments that measure student engagement in upper elementary through high school, providing information on the range of instruments available. More specifically, this report summarizes what each instrument measures, describes its purposes and uses, and provides technical information on its psychometric properties

For More Information Contact: Kathleen Mooney

Product Specifics

Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Number of pages: 88
Price: $0.00


Administrators, Classroom Teachers, Policymakers

Key Ideas:

  1. To increase student engagement education professionals first need to understand how engagement has been defined and to assess the options for measuring it. 
  2. Engaged students are more likely to earn better grades and perform well on standardized tests (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, and Paris 2004; Marks 2000). 
  3. Inclusion of engagement as a goal of school improvement, growing awareness of the connection between disengagement and dropping out, and use of engagement as a program or intervention outcome can help explain the increased interest in understanding and collecting data on engagement.

Ways to use:

  1. To help educators identify which dimensions of engagement can be assessed (e.g., behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, and/or cognitive engagement). 
  2. To help potential users understand how particular measures may align with their intended uses. 
  3. To provide psychometric properties of identified student engagement instruments in an effort to help users review the degree to which the instruments operate as intended (that is, how much evidence is available to support the appropriateness of inferences made as a result of employing the measures).

APA Citation:

Fredricks, J., McColskey, W., Meli, J., Mordica, J., Montrosse, B., and Mooney, K. (2011). Measuring student engagement in upper elementary through high school: a description of 21 instruments. (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2011–No. 098).