The Pathway to Student Engagement Report, Emphasizing the Important Links Between Belonging, Student Engagement, and Academic Success in High School

The Pathway to Student Engagement Report, Emphasizing the Important Links Between Belonging, Student Engagement, and Academic Success in High School

The nationwide “Belonging: The Pathway to Student Engagement” report, available as of today, Monday, June 10th, 2024, delves into the critical role of students’ feelings of school belonging in promoting student engagement, especially in advanced coursework.

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), a leading non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring equitable access to advanced academic opportunities for all students, has released a new report aimed at highlighting the connection between student belonging and academic adjustment particularly for those student groups historically underrepresented and underserved in this coursework.

EOS collaborates with high schools nationwide to boost enrollment of underrepresented students in advanced courses like Advanced Placement (AP)™ and International Baccalaureate (IB)™. Through extensive data collection and innovative research, EOS has consistently sought to understand and enhance the educational experiences of these students.

Report’s Key Findings: “Cues and Conditions of Belonging”

The report reveals insightful findings based on data from over 200,000 students of color and lower-income students enrolled in advanced courses, supplemented by focus groups involving 114 students from diverse high schools across the United States. The research identifies five critical indicators associated with student success that EOS has termed the “Cues and Conditions of Belonging”:

  • Expectations, Feedback, and Assessments (EFA)
  • Classroom Community
  • Culturally Relevant Curriculum
  • Culturally Relevant Teaching
  • Conversations About Race

These indicators, EOS summarizes, are significantly associated with students’ feelings of belonging and their academic outcomes, such as GPA in AP/IB courses.

“Student belonging, defined as feelings of being accepted, appreciated, and included in the school community, is vital for academic achievement and engagement,” explains Dr. Alaina E. Boyle, EOS’ Director of Research and one of the report’s authors. “The report emphasizes that fostering a strong sense of belonging among students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, is essential for equitable inclusion in advanced coursework and preparation for college and beyond.”

Research Methodology

EOS utilized a mixed-method approach, combining quantitative analyses of student-reported survey data and qualitative insights from student focus groups. The surveys, completed by nearly two million students to date, offer a robust dataset for examining the conditions that foster belonging. The focus groups provided a deeper understanding of students’ experiences of belonging through students’ discussion, and diagramming of classroom climate.

Implications and Future Directions

The findings underscore the importance of creating learning environments where students feel psychologically safe and valued. Key implications include:

  • Nuanced Assessment of Belonging: Moving beyond one-time measurements to capture the dynamic and varied experiences of students throughout the school day.
  • Subject-Specific Belonging: Addressing the unique challenges in STEM courses, where students often feel less belonging, through targeted strategies and continuous improvement.
  • Tailored Professional Development: Providing educators with clear, practical methods to enhance belonging and engagement, tailored to the needs of underserved students.

“Creating learning environments where students feel psychologically safe is key to fostering a sense of belonging,” said Dr Erin Bogan, Senior Director of Impact and Research. “Our research provides educators with concrete steps to develop equitable learning environments where all students can flourish. We hope this report serves as a roadmap for creating conditions that ensure students feel connected, supported, and ready to thrive.”

For more information and to access the full report, please visit the Equal Opportunity Schools’ website.

About Equal Opportunity Schools

Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) is dedicated to ensuring that students of all backgrounds have equal access to rigorous college and career-prep high school courses. By working closely with school districts across the country, EOS identifies and enrolls students who are ready for advanced coursework, thereby closing the opportunity gap and preparing students for success in college and beyond.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Tomika Anderson
Equal Opportunity Schools
[email protected] 

SOURCE Equal Opportunity Schools

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