Gallup poll: student engagement falls drastically from 5th to 12th grade

January 24, 2013 • Lars Esdal

Gallup has gathered quite a collection of research showing that student hope and engagement are strong predictors of college success. In fact, they’ve shown such constructs to be better predictors than high school GPA or test scores.

Fittingly, the focus of the annual Gallup Student Poll is to measure student hope, engagement, and wellbeing. This year’s poll results show a gradual but steady decline in engagement from 5th through 12th grade – from 76% down to 44%. This is an alarming trend.

A blog post by the director of Gallup Education puts it well:

The drop in student engagement for each year students are in school is our monumental, collective national failure. There are several things that might help to explain why this is happening — ranging from our overzealous focus on standardized testing and curricula to our lack of experiential and project-based learning pathways for students.

Might a deep rethinking of school design, especially for disengaged high school students, be essential to correct this trend?