The association between high school students' perception of teacher-influenced variables and students' perception of engagement

Date of Completion

January 2007


Education, Administration|Education, Secondary




The lack of student engagement in high school classrooms is a serious problem. The purpose of this study was to examine how four teacher-influenced variables (sense of justice in the classroom, appropriate use of power in the classroom, teacher-student relationship, and the use of effective instructional strategies) were associated with the student's level of engagement at the high school level. The basic premise of this study was to determine the degree to which these factors were associated with self-reported levels of student engagement after student ethnicity, socio-economic status, and self-efficacy for self-regulated learning were taken into account.^ This study employed a quantitative correlational research design to answer the research questions. The data for the study were collected from 287 freshmen in six Connecticut high schools using a student survey. The 67-item instrument underwent a pilot study to ensure that it was both valid and reliable. This study employed two-stage sampling. The first stage involved the purposeful and convenient selection of high schools, and the second stage involved the random selection of students in those schools.^ This study found that the variables that measured justice, power, teacher-student relationship, and the use of effective instructional strategies were all significantly associated with student engagement. This study also found that self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, the teacher-student relationship, and the use of effective instructional strategies came together to create the most concise and powerful hierarchical multiple regression model to explain the variance in perceived student engagement (F(3, 283) = 183.60, p<.001).^ The findings of this study support the need for school systems to develop appropriate professional development opportunities that provide teachers with the necessary training to develop caring teacher-student relationships and utilize effective teaching strategies. The use of accountability systems and evaluation procedures are suggested to ensure that teachers implement the intended practices. The findings also suggests that school systems could develop interview questions and/or use behavior surveys to ensure that new hires possess behaviors that are consistent with developing positive teacher-student relationships. ^