Techniques Magazine Techniques January 2011 : Page 52

R ESEARCH R E p OR t Teaching to Improve Student Engagement in Ag Ed PHOTOS COURTESy OF THE NATIONAL FFA ORGANIzATION By Curtis R. Friedel WHY StUDY StUDENt ENGAGE-MENt? Nine years after the passing of No Child Left Behind of 2001, many students are still disengaged in learning, and the national dropout rate continues to increase. Why is this? One answer may be student boredom. Findings from the 2009 High School Survey of Student Engage-ment (HSSSE) determined that two out of three students were either bored every day, or every class (Yazzie-Mintz, 2010). When students were asked why they were bored, 81 percent responded that the con-tent was not interesting, 42 percent stated that the content wasn’t relevant, and 35 percent indicated that they had no inter-action with the teachers (Yazzie-Mintz). How can this be improved? To address this issue, current educa-tional policy has been fixated on the topic of student performance on standardized tests, which does provide a measure of stu-dent achievement. However, standardized tests have done little to determine which components of the teaching and learn-ing process lead to student achievement (Yazzie-Mintz, 2009). If teachers are to be held accountable for student learning, they should not only be informed on what con-cepts need to be taught more effectively, but also informed about how to teach these concepts for improved learning. Student engagement is a multifaceted construct that has high correlations with academic achievement, but instead of measuring the learning outcome of concept attainment, 52 Techniques JANUAR Y 2011

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