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2021-2022
State of Engagement Report

In the midst of a pandemic and ongoing fluctuations in K-12 learning environments, understanding what drives student engagement is more critical than ever. We hope this report gives you insight into how teachers perceive engagement in their classrooms — and how certain instructional practices might improve teacher-student relationships and engagement in the future.

Engagement starts with a strong student-teacher relationship.

After conducting a survey of thousands of educators from all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, we’ve found that teachers value learning experiences that address the whole child creatively, cognitively, and emotionally.

Furthermore, and perhaps even more importantly, teachers believe that the foundation for effective learning experiences is a strong and meaningful relationship with their students. Once that relationship is formed, engagement becomes much more achievable.

This report synthesizes the perspective of teachers overall, by grade level and by subject taught, and explains how teachers might implement these findings in the classroom.

Top 6 Instructional Practices,
according to teachers

Forming Teacher-Student Relationships

Forming teacher-student relationships was highlighted as the top instructional practice for driving engagement across teachers of all grade levels and subjects, with a third of all teachers identifying it as the single most-effective practice.

Making Course Content Relevant to Students

Making course content relevant to students shifts the focus to the student and what energizes them to learn, rather than simply relaying information from a textbook.

Communicating Clear Expectations

When students understand what they need to do and aren't afraid of forgetting directions, they are more likely to take risks in their explorations, which can lead to tremendous growth.

Practicing Hands-On Learning

By giving students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a tangible manner, practicing hands-on learning can provide a deeper learning experience.

Linking New Information to Prior Knowledge

When a student can see new learning as an extension of something they already know, they feel empowered and motivated in their learning.

Facilitating Student Participation

Be it verbal, written, or through another method, teachers emphasize that this instructional practice first and foremost requires intentionality, ensuring that students understand that their participation is both desired and important to the topic at hand.

Our Research & Insights Philosophy

As the world of digital learning accelerates, GoGuardian believes it is critical that we study and understand the impact this shift has on student outcomes. Our research and insights are focused on improving this experience to both maximize student achievement and unleash curiosity in the classroom.

At GoGuardian, we also believe the internet is a learning tool and that education solutions are only as valuable as the impact they provide. So, as researchers, it is our job to conduct studies and gather insights on the impact of the ever-changing digital learning experience on students and schools.

Meet the Authors

Mariana Aguilar

Senior Director, Strategy & Research

Mariana leads the Research team at GoGuardian, a team dedicated to enhancing GoGuardian’s understanding of the digital learning experience and how to drive learning outcomes.

Rachel Ahrens

Manager of Research

With a background in sociology of education, Rachel is passionate about the learning experience for all involved, from students to educators, and the communities in which they are embedded. As Manager of Research, Rachel supports the team as they shape GoGuardian's understanding of the digital learning experience.

Phil Janowicz

Strategic Research Advisor

Phil has over 13 years of experience in education in academia and industry related to online learning as a former tenured professor and director of digital content. He currently focuses on working with partners to understand the many facets of the digital learning experience.

Kayla Sheldon  

Senior Research Associate

With a background in cyberpsychology and social-cognition, Kayla is currently focused on evaluating the impact of GoGuardian’s products on student engagement and well-being.

Earl Turner III

Senior Research Associate

Earl plays a pivotal role in accelerating GoGuardian’s understanding of the relationships between indicators of learning, measures of learning, and student outcomes. He has an interest in understanding teacher and student beliefs regarding schooling, education, teaching, and learning.

Geneva Williams

SEP Summer Fellow

Geneva is a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying political science and has focused on exploring how different stakeholders in education understand the digital learning experience.

The 2021-2022 State of Engagement Report

Powerful insights into student engagement, best instructional practices, and more.