Evaluating and analysing student engagement measures

Student engagement refers to the extent to which students identify with and value schooling outcomes and participate in academic and non-academic school activities. Measures of engagement may include affective dimensions such as enjoyment of school and relationships with teachers and peers; cognitive measures such as academic performance or attainment and behavioural dimensions such as attendance and participation in school activities. Research over the last 30 years has increasingly shown that student engagement is not only an important outcome in itself, but is also directly related to academic performance and future outcomes.
Student engagement and wellbeing in NSW (CESE publication)

Scout provides a number of information reports which can be utilised to ascertain the extent of student engagement and wellbeing in your school.

The Daily Attendance report can be found in the Enrolments app.

Daily Attendance report

The Daily Attendance report provides an overview of attendance at a whole school and year group level, with attendance grouped into areas of Leave, Sick, Suspended and Unjustified.

Graph showinig daily attendance report grouped by type of absence.
Image: Screenshot of a daily attendance report.

Use the report to:

Identify trends in attendance at your school on a day to day basis. This information can be used to develop strategies to improve learning culture and student wellbeing that are appropriate to your school’s context.

Key questions

Why are there tall peaks? What was happening on these days? (e.g. last day of term? Athletics Carnival? Swimming Carnival?) How does this impact overall attendance?

What can we do to reduce the level of Unjustified leave?

Scenario: Evaluation of programs in place to improve student engagement – whole school focus

You are the principal of a large High School. A key focus of one of your Strategic Directions has been improving student engagement across the school. As part of the evaluation of your school plan, you could use data from a number of Scout reports including Attendance, Suspension, and Tell Them From Me.

Focus: Have our student engagement programs impacted student attendance?

  1. Open the Daily Attendance report (found in the Enrolments app).
  2. By hovering over peaks in the chart a pop up will appear with the break-down of types of leave and the date.
  3. Keeping key dates (large peaks) in mind, choose the second tab at the bottom of the page named ‘Year on Year’. The black line shows 2019, the blue line shows 2018.
  4. Open the Official Attendance Census report (found in the Enrolments app).
  5. Choose the second tab at the bottom of the page named ‘Attendance Rate SSSG and State’. This shows your Attendance rate compared to your Statistically Significant School Group (SSSG) and State.
  6. Use the slicers on the left-hand side (Gender, Aboriginal, Scholastic Year, School Term) to determine whether specific groups of students require further tailored intervention.

Consider

  • Has attendance on key days improved over the last year? Has day to day attendance improved over the last year?
  • Can we anticipate key days of low attendance in the coming year based on last year?
  • What might we do to improve engagement on those specific days?

Consider

  • How does your overall attendance rate compare to your SSSG?
  • How has your attendance rate changed over time?
  • How does your student engagement program implementation relate to any changes you can see?

Focus: Have our student engagement programs impacted student suspension rates?

  1. Open your Suspension report (found in the Suspensions app).
  2. In the top left table look at areas such as ‘Persistent or Serious Misbehaviour’ and ‘Continued Disobedience’.
  3. Choose the third tab at the bottom ‘Suspension by Scholastic Year.
Screenshot showing the information visible in a suspension report.
Image: Screenshot of a suspension report.

Consider

Has there been a change in the number of suspensions (by type or year group) in line with the implementation of Student Engagement programs? Be aware that if you are halfway through the current year and your suspensions are half of the previous year you are likely on track to have a similar number of suspensions year on year.

Focus: Have our student engagement programs impacted students’ wellbeing self-reports?

Open your Tell Them From Me Quadrants report (in the Tell Them From Me app).
This report compares the percentage of students responding positively to questions about Advocacy at School and Expectations for Success on the first tab and Belonging and Expectations for Success on the second tab. Both reports provide a point of comparison to the SSSG and State.

Screenshot showing the pecentages in the Advocacy, Expectations, Beloning Quadrants.
Image: Screenshot of a Tell Them From Me Quadrants.

Consider

  • How have our students responded compared to SSSG and State?
  • Using the slicers on the right-hand side (Sex, Aboriginal, Scholastic Year) consider if there is a specific group of students who have responded lower than others.
  • Use the Year slicer to follow a cohort of students (e.g. Year 7 2016, Year 8 2017, Year 9 2018). How has the engagement of these students changed over this period of time?

Triangulating the data

  • Are there groups of students who have been identified across multiple reports who may require further support?
  • How might the information across these reports be impacting on the student’s capacity to engage with their learning?

Once you have the data

You can use this information to contribute to an evaluation of student engagement programs implemented at your school. We highly recommend using Scout data in conjunction with internal data sources.

Where to next?

You can access resources, information and support relating to Secondary student engagement here:

NSW Quality Teaching Framework

CESE Publication: Student engagement and wellbeing in NSW

CESE Publication: Improving high school engagement, classroom practices and achievement

CESE Publication: Capturing and Measuring Student Voice

CESE Publication: Tell Them From Me: Gender and Engagement

CESE Publication: The role of student engagement in the transition from primary to secondary school

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