School change: Gallup’s engagement survey

by Steve Wyckoff on July 20, 2010

I’ve long preached that the measure we should look at when we talk about school change, is the degree to which our students are authentically engaged in the educational process. That isn’t a new thought by me, W. Edwards Deming said it something like this, every child should leave school loving to learn. If they did everything else would take care of itself. I couldn’t agree more.

The other day Dr. John Burke, my friend and superintendent at Haysville public schools, shared with me a student survey developed by the people at Gallup.The Gallup student poll. Check it out, it’s very interesting stuff. Here is the purpose and the three things the poll measures.

Through years of research, Gallup discovered three true indicators of student success; hope, engagement, and wellbeing. These three key factors drive students’ grades, achievement scores, retention, and future employment.
Hope: the ideas and energy we have for the future. Hope drives attendance, credits earned, and GPA of highschool students. Hope scores are more robust predictors of college success than are high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.
Engagement: the involvement in and enthusiasm for school. Engagement distinguishes between high-performing and low-performing schools.
Wellbeing: how we think about and experience our lives. Wellbeing tells us how our students are doing today and predicts their success in the future.

And it’s free! I don’t know if this is the best survey, but I know if Gallup created it it is completely research-based and valid and reliable.

It is my hope that in the near future when we talk about measures, and evidence, of school change and student success, that we have some measure of student engagement that has equal weight with standardized tests. – Steve Wyckoff

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