Effort is a research-based measure from the Tell Them From Me surveys. It is a source of evidence linked to What works best and the School Excellence Framework.

What is it?

Student effort refers to how hard students try to succeed in their learning. Effort is related to students' sense of self-efficacy and is a key component of their intellectual engagement. Students who are intellectually engaged are interested in what is being taught at school, they are motivated to learn, and they exert considerable effort in their school subjects.

The Tell Them From Me surveys ask students about learning behaviours that indicate their effort at school. The results are reported as the percentage of students who are trying hard to succeed.

Why is it important?

Students with high levels of self-efficacy, reflected in high levels of effort, tend to have improved academic results. Levels of intellectual engagement vary from school to school and classroom to classroom. Teachers can influence students' effort through the ways they structure learning opportunities for students.

School improvement links

School Excellence Framework element What works best theme
Learning culture High expectations

Evidence base

Dunleavy, J., Milton, P., & Willms, J. D. (2012). Trends in intellectual engagement. “What did you do in school today?” research series: Report number three. Toronto: Canadian Education Association.

Miller, S. D., & Meece, J. L. (1997). Enhancing elementary students’ motivation to read and write: A classroom intervention study. The Journal of Educational Research, 90(5), 286–299.

Schunk, D. H. (1985). Self-efficacy and classroom learning. Psychology in the Schools, 22, 208–223.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 82-91.

Image: This explainer has been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar

Explainers of the Tell Them From Me measures have been produced in collaboration with The Learning Bar. The Tell Them From Me measures are provided by, and remain the intellectual property of, The Learning Bar. The explainers can also be found online within the Tell Them From Me portal. Tell Them From Me and TTFM are trademarks of The Learning Bar.


  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Tell Them From Me

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
Return to top of page Back to top