25 Things to Know About Student Engagement

Students sitting on the classroom floor with some raising their hands.

An engaged student is a happy student. They sit forward and listen when you explain new concepts. They ask questions when they need help. They complete their assignments and participate in discussions. But what do the statistics say about student engagement?

Educators work tirelessly to keep students engaged. They add emojis to assignments, turn math lessons into Among Us challenges, and constantly look for new tools and games. Teachers are always chasing the latest student fads to pique their interest in the material. 

What makes students engaged? What pushes them away from learning? We have the insight. Here are 25 statistics about student engagement that highlight what is going well in education – and where there is room for improvement. 


High-Level Student Engagement Statistics

  1. Only 46% of students reported feeling engaged at school in 2021. This was a significant decrease from 53% in 2019 and 65% in 2018. 20% of students report feeling disengaged. (Source: Idaho EdNews)
  2. 92% of teachers say student engagement is a key driver of success. Educators also point to attendance and student learning satisfaction as important for academic success. (Source: State of Teaching & Learning in K-12 Education
  3. 81% of teachers say student engagement increases when educators value social-emotional well-being. (Source: GoGuardian)
  4. California, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. have the highest reported rates of student, family, and community engagement. Wyoming and Florida are the least supportive. (Source: The Education Trust

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Image Credit: Instructure


How the School Experience Affects Engagement

  1. 77% of elementary school children enjoy going to school. However, 43% of kids like going to school because they get to see their friends, and only 34% of kids like school because they enjoy learning. (Source: EducationQuizzes)
  2. 75% of high school students report negative feelings about school. The most common emotions to describe the school experience are stress and boredom. (Source: YaleNews)
  3. In a review of 1,500 classrooms, 85% of them engaged less than 50% of the students. This means that more than half the class paid attention or cared in only 15% of classrooms. (Source: Edutopia)

Teacher Pedagogy Affects Student Engagement

  1. 61% of teachers think hands-on activities would improve the classroom learning experience as opposed to straight lecturing. The same percentage of teachers think developing critical thinking skills can also improve classroom learning. (Source: Understood)
  2. 61% of kids say teachers make difficult subjects more enjoyable by creating fun activities and lessons. Half of students (55%) understand concepts better when teachers use real-life examples. (Source: Sphero)
  3. One of the top reasons why students don’t like school is because they are working on problems that are too easy or too difficult. Some students are bored and can breeze through their classes, while others feel overwhelmed by the material. (Source: Connections Academy
  4. When students say school is boring, they often mean they are over or under-challenged, have limited interest in a subject, or don’t understand the value of what they are being taught. (Source: Michael Furlong)
  5. Individualized learning is becoming more popular. 40% of teachers used individualized learning progressions during the remote learning period caused by the pandemic. This allowed students to take on more advanced work when they mastered existing materials. (Source: Christensen Institute
  6. 79% of teachers discovered new tools and apps that they plan to continue using after the remote learning period is over. (Source: Christensen Institute
  7. Only 29% of educators think standardized tests are important to measure student success. (Source: State of Teaching & Learning in K-12 Education)  
  8. 34% of educators are spending more than $200 of their own money to provide resources for students with learning challenges. (Source: Understood)

Some Subjects Engage Students More Than Others

  1. 56% percent of parents feel overwhelmed by math subjects, while 51% of their kids feel the same way. (Source: Sphero)
  2. 16% of nine-year-olds never read for fun. This jumps to 27% of 17-year-olds who never read for fun. While 46% of girls read for fun almost every day, only 38% of boys say the same thing. (Source: Pew)
  3. Almost half of all children (48%) said they enjoyed reading at the start of 2020. In a second survey in mid-2020, 56% of kids ages nine to 18 said they enjoy reading. The survey found kids read longer books during the pandemic and picked up books with more advanced concepts. (Source: National Literacy Trust)
  4. When asked what subjects they wish were covered in school, kids wanted to learn how to be a YouTube star, how to look after pets, how to cook, and how to be good at video games. (Source: Kingsmill)
  5. 81% of students participate in sports because they want to have fun. Students also play sports to exercise (79%), learn new skills (66%), and to make new friends (66%). Only 39% of students say they participate in sports to earn college scholarships. (Source: Project Play)

Parents Also Impact Engagement

  1. The number one reason why parents relocate their child to a different school is that they want a higher quality education for them (36%). Parents also change schools because of bullying and safety concerns (26%) and because their child wasn’t happy at school (23%). (Source: National School Choice Week)
  2. Half of parents are concerned that their child fell behind in school because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This number jumps to 58 percent of parents of students ages 10 to 14. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
  3. Following the pandemic, 67% of parents feel more connected with their child’s day-to-day education than before. Half of parents are confident their child is well prepared for the next grade. (Source: PTA)
  4. 73% of parents say they are satisfied with the education that their children are receiving. However, 54% of Americans are either completely or somewhat dissatisfied with K-12 education in the United States. (Source: Gallup)
  5. Schools with strong family engagement are 10 times more likely to improve student learning outcomes. (Source: Brookings)

eSpark is Based on Student Engagement

If students aren’t engaged, they aren’t learning, and they won’t remember the material in the long run. This is why eSpark games and activities are based around student engagement. 

When a student completes an activity, they give it either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down based on whether they liked it. Any game that doesn’t keep an 85% student-approved rating or higher gets pulled from our system. This rating challenges our team to constantly improve our resources. 

Not only is eSpark student-approved, but it’s also teacher endorsed. We work to meet and exceed curriculum goals so you present engaging lessons. Try out eSpark in your classroom, school, or district for free today!

Ready to see student-centered learning in action?