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Their opinion matters – the importance of student engagement surveys

With so many stakeholders involved in ensuring students have a positive educational experience, there’s a whole chorus of voices involved in their success.

But some of the most important opinions don’t come from teachers or administrators. They come from the students themselves.

While School Perceptions provides a variety of survey platforms to school districts around the country, it’s our Student Engagement Survey that provides school districts with an important opportunity to not only measure overall student engagement but also identify any students who may need assistance.

“Engagement” is a word that’s heard frequently in educational circles, and for good reason. At a very basic level, student engagement refers simply refers to how involved, enthusiastic and interested a student is in his or her educational community. It addresses classroom participation and individual learning, but it also includes school and community activities outside of classroom work.

Research consistently shows that there is a positive correlation between student engagement and academic success: the more engaged and active a student is, the more likely he or she is to have positive educational outcomes.

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the greater a student’s engagement in high school, the greater the chance the student will succeed in college. It’s not just about academic engagement either; this success is influenced by the development of study habits and other behavioral patterns before graduation. True student engagement isn’t just about grades. It’s about improving the entire experience for students.

There are some factors known to affect academic performance that are beyond the control of school districts, and these are primarily socioeconomic based. But research also shows that student engagement is malleable, which means that schools that value engagement efforts can positively change student performance.

The best place to start is with a student engagement survey.

Our Student Engagement Survey measures seven indicators of student engagement: connectedness, drive, citizenship/leadership, preparation, social and emotional aptitude, wellness and academic and career planning. Additionally, we are able to customize our survey with district-specific questions.

Equally as important as academic engagement are the ways in which positive engagement also supports students’ overall mental health and well-being. A well-rounded, supported student fires on all cylinders – it’s difficult for a student distracted with social or emotional issues to achieve success at school.

Research has shown a strong link between students’ social and emotional learning and overall achievement. Strong social and emotional skills can lead to improved attitudes, behaviors and academic performance, and its one of the indexes in our survey. In addition to providing data on students’ academic health, the School Perceptions Student Engagement Survey is also a tool for assessing students’ emotional health, meaning that some districts are able to tap into mental health funding to support it.

Regardless of a district’s initial reason for using a student engagement survey, it serves as a great baseline for reaching students on a completely inclusive level. It allows you to do more than identify students who may need some intervention; you can affirm those students who are engaged through their own efforts. Our data actually allows districts to measure engagement, and when you can measure something, you can manage it.

And taking a long-term vision, which incorporates annual student surveys in your school or district, can help track students’ engagement as they progress through the grades, an area of concern for researchers. Statistically, education experts know that engagement tends to drop off as students progress into higher grades, and with data and a plan, it’s something that districts can address proactively.

To learn more about how we can help your district make student engagement a priority, give us a call at 262.644.4300 or email us at


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