'Hope Survey' allows schools to recognize and follow student motivation

This blog post originally appeared on the Education Innovating blog run by Education Evolving from 2010 to 2011. It has now been merged into our main blog.

If learning ultimately depends upon effort put forth by students, then the motivation of a student is central. The Hope Survey is a different way of looking at assessment. It measures student perceptions of autonomy, belonging, and goal orientation—seeking to diagnose whether a school culture has the components that encourage higher levels of engagement in learning.

Yet research shows engagement and motivation decreases as students progress through secondary school. Searching for an explanation, researchers have found through the Hope Survey that school environment—educators’ support, or lack thereof, for students’ autonomy, sense of belonging, and their pursuit of goals—affects motivation.

The Hope Survey is a diagnostic tool, enabling schools to assess their school environment and culture through the eyes of the students. This data shows whether schools are positively or negatively contributing to motivation, student engagement, achievement, resiliency and optimism.

The survey variables include autonomy, belonging, goal orientation, and academic press—factors determined to influence student engagement and hope (thus psychological health). Survey data gives insight to schools about programmatic factors that develop intrinsic (learning for mastery) or extrinsic (learning to receive a grade) motivation in students. The Hope Survey may be used to involve schools in using data to implement interventions, and then measuring again to see if they had a positive impact.

Higher hope contributes to more positives perceptions of the school, creating a positive feedback loop. Those students that have more positive perceptions of their school environment will be more engaged in their learning, and, in turn, have positive gains in hope and academic achievement.

All scales used in the Hope Survey have been used repeatedly in educational research in a variety of different student demographics. All measures have a published background of reliability and validity research behind them.

Information is available on the website HopeSurvey.org.

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