Students who are engaged in the classroom are more likely to participate and retain more information, but what exactly keeps kids engaged? Researchers from Ohio State University surveyed 20,000 high school students across the US and discovered that education classes related to specific careers, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, were correlated with higher student engagement.
These STEM career courses were particularly effective in boosting engagement for low-income students and held true even when researchers accounted for variables like student attitudes and academic histories. When classes centered around how the subject matter relates to a future career, students were more likely to show up to class, come prepared, and participate.
During the pandemic, the challenges of remote learning, like the digital divide, left many students disengaged from academics. This issue was particularly prevalent among low-income families where students didn’t have the resources or space to dedicate themselves to remote learning. As students head back to the classroom, these issues linger, and it can be difficult to recapture the attention of a student who lost interest in academics for over a year.
This research indicates shifting class organization towards career and technical education could be an effective strategy for getting students motivated to learn once more. Although the specifics of what makes career classes different from traditional one still needs to be explored, the researchers hypothesize that the ability to connect learned material to real work applications and potential job prospects is what attracts so many more students to the subject matter.
Source study: AERA Open – Do Career-Engaging Courses Engage Low-Income Students?
This story is part of our ‘Best of 2021’ series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring education solutions.