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Factors that influence student engagement

When students feel valued by their teachers and peers, believe their current learning is important and relevant, and have the self-belief, learning, feedback and self-regulation strategies to make progress, they are more highly motivated and engaged in learning.

What the research says

A range of factors impact on how well students relate to and are engaged by what they are learning at school. These include:

  • the nature of relationship with the teacher and other students in the class
  • the perceived relevance of the learning material
  • the level of knowledge and skills that students bring into each learning situation
  • the intrinsic interest of the subject or activity to a particular student
  • the extent to which there is variety in the teaching approaches
  • the nature and extent of teacher feedback on students’ progress
  • the extent to which students are able to take responsibility for their own learning.
Outram School students.

This diagram outlines the factors that influence student engagement:

PDF icon. Factors in Engaging Students in their Learning at School (PDF, 13 KB)

Read more information on supporting student engagement:

PDF icon. Chapter 6 - Supporting student engagement (PDF, 109 KB)

Project on learning (1997–2004)
A long-term research project looking at how students, during middle school years (9–11), learn from their classroom experiences. The focus of the project was on how students’ knowledge and thinking are progressively shaped by classroom activities, and how teachers influence this development.

Read more information on supporting students at school:

PDF icon. Chapter 4 - Beyond the immediate transition: supporting students over the longer term (PDF, 43 KB)

Read the literature review on student engagement in the middle years of schooling:

PDF icon. Student Engagement in the Middle Years of Schooling (years 7 to 10): A Literature Review (PDF, 2 MB)

Published on: 18 Jan 2012