Helping Students Avoid the “Engagement Cliff” through High School Redesign
“I take history because I like it, and I take science because it’s relevant to what I want to do,” expressed Garett, then a junior with engineering aspirations at Cañon City High School (CCHS) in Colorado. “Pre-calc isn’t fun, but it’s important for life.”
Garett’s desire to take courses related to his goals is shared by students across the country, and research confirms that relevance and interest are critical components of student motivation. Unfortunately, in survey data from more than 230,000 students, only about half of respondents said they thought what they learned in school was relevant to the real world. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 74 percent of 5th grade students reported being engaged at school, while only 32 percent of 11th graders said the same—a phenomenon referred to as the “engagement cliff.”
The above excerpt was originally published in Behavioral Scientist. Click here to view the full article.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.