This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on school engagement and school improvement. The research question of the thesis is how we can improve student engagement to promote school improvement. For the literature search, selection, and documental analysis process I used the PRISMA protocol. I first grouped the 40 selected studies by topic, and analysized to identify the factors that influence the development of student engagement and the possible relationships to school improvement models. This review provides evidence that there are five facilitators influencing the development of student engagement: leadership, teaching methods, use of ICT, and positive relationships in the school and the classroom. This study will contribute to the research by presenting the lines of greatest interest in this area.
The main objective is to review the literature on the factors that influence student engagement.
The specific objectives of this study include:
- Identifying studies on school engagement.
- Identifying connections between the factors that both influence school engagement and improve schools.
- Identifying futures research lines in this area.
Previous review studies (Fredricks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004; González, 2010; Reschly & Christenson, 2012) expose the difficulty of offering a concrete definition because is a multidimensional concept. They describe the student's engagement as a socio-psychological construct that involves affective/emotional, behavioral and cognitive aspects. It is important the difference between indicators, facilitators (Sinclair, Christenson, Lehr, & Anderson, 2003).Indicators indicate student's level of connection with school and learning. Facilitators are those contextual factors that influence strength of the student’s connection.
There is an increasing interest in the study of the student's engagement. There is a significant relationship with numerous variables of the school context. It is presented as a variable aspect, dependent on the educational environment, which influences the processes of improvement of school results: low levels of performance, school climate, demotivation, student-teacher relations, disaffection, failure or school dropout (Fredricks, Blumenfeld & Paris, 2004; González 2010; Finn & Zimer, 2012).
We understand the improvement process as the school change that increases their educational quality. His interest focuses on transforming the reality of a school. Contributions from the field of effective school have great implications when it comes to promoting change (Murillo, 2011).
To carry out this study I used the PRISMA protocol (Liberati, et al.,2009) for creating systematic reviews. I adapted the methodological process in three phases: In phase 1, a documentary search was carried out in selected databases such as WOS and SCOPUS, given their relevance in the field of scientific research. The search was conducted using the following terms: “learner engagement" OR "student engagement" AND improvement AND school.” I used the following search filters: - Year of publication: from 2000 to 2018. - Type of publication: Article or review. - Research area: Education Educational & Research, Education Scientific Disciplines and Social Science. Once the search was complete, I eliminated the duplicate documents and defined a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. For inclusion, the documents needed to 1) relate to the object of study, 2) belong to the field of study, and 3) relate to the educational level of primary and secondary education. Documents were excluded if 1) they did not relate to the object of study, 2) they were studies carried out at the university level (except those related to teacher training and school involvement), and 3) the complete text was not available. For Phase 2, I organized the documents in a table with the following variables: Title, year, author, source, country, level and type of school, methodological design, study-topic, findings and future lines of research. Then, I carried out two different analyses. First, I described the main characteristics of the documents, including year, country, level and type of school and methodological design. I represented this information in a graphic. Second, I performed a content analysis, including study-topic, definition of engagement, findings and future lines of research. I identified the study topics through the keywords of each document to group the works by common themes. Then, I identified the facilitators related to the development of student engagement in the results of the articles analyzed. Once the factors that influence school engagement were identified, I linked them with the factors of school effectiveness according to an Ibero-America research study (Murillo, 2011, p. 62-63). This allowed me to determine the relationship between factors improving student engagement and factors improving schools. In Phase 3, I summarized the evidence according to descriptive characteristics and topics of the articles analyzed. I explain the factors that influence school engagement and how they relate to school improvement. Finally, I offer conclusions of this study.
Descriptive characteristics of the studies. The total number of selected documents is 40. The results indicate an increase in this topic since 2012. United States is the country with more scientific production in this area (50%), followed by Australia (12%), pioneering countries in the study of school engagement. Regarding the methodology, there is a predominance of quantitative studies (35%), followed by mixed design (30%), qualitative studies (25%) and reviews (10%). More studies were at the high school (44%) than the elementary school (31%). Several studies emphasize educational contexts of low performance or social disadvantage (58%). Content analysis. I identified seven study-topics: management and leadership, teachers, students, school climate, curricula and educational practices, ICT and theoretical reviews. Studies in school leadership predominated (20%), followed by studies focused on the curricula and the educational practice (18%) and ICT (18%). I find factors at school, classroom and related to the teaching role Of all the factors exposed in the results, the factors have the greatest relevance are the relations between the teacher and the student, the methodology used in the classroom, use technological resources and lidership. An effective teaching practice is a relevant factor and demonstrates the influence the teacher can have on the students. Teacher is a facilitator of student engagement. Studies conducted in socially disadvantaged educational contexts are important. We need to improve learner engagement to avoid low performance, failures and dropout. Students’ involvement is one of the most important challenges in the education system. Understanding the factors to promote student engagement can help educators.
Finn & Zimer, (2012). Student Engagement: What Is It? Why Does It Matter? In Christenson, S.L, Reschly, A.L. & Wylie, C. (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Student Engagement (pp. 97-131). DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_5 Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59-109. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543074001059 González, M.T. (2010). El alumno ante la escuela y su propio aprendizaje: Algunas líneas de investigación en torno al concepto de Implicación. REICE: Revista Electrónica Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 8(4), 10-31. Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, Gøtzsche PC, Ioannidis JPA, et al. (2009) The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration. PLoS Med 6(7): e1000100. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100 Murillo, F.J. (2004). Investigación temática. Un marco comprensivo de mejora de la eficacia escolar. RMIE. Revista Mejicana de Investigación Educativa, 21, 319-359. Murillo, J. (2011). Mejora de la eficacia escolar en Iberoamérica. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 55, 49-83. Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, Jangle, and Conceptual Haziness: Evolution and Future Directions of the Engagement Construct. In Christenson, S.L, Reschly, A.L. & Wylie, C. (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Student Engagement (pp. 3-19). New York: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_1 Sinclair, M. F., Christenson, S. L., Lehr, C. A., & Anderson, A. R. (2003). Facilitating school engagement: Lessons learned from Check & Connect longitudinal studies. California School Psychologist, 8, 29 – 41.
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