Measuring engagement in classroom learning among Western Australian students using Rasch Analysis

Year: 2010

Author: Kennish, Penelope, Cavanagh, Rob

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper is part of a larger research study into measuring classroom engagement among secondary school students in Western Australia.  This paper reports on one aspect of the study; that of instrument development.  Cavanagh, Kennish and Sturgess (2008) reviewed the prominent literature and proposed that the understanding of student engagement in classroom learning could be advanced by using Flow Theory (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). The model proposes 11 facets of engagement: five relating to student capabilities for learning; and six relating to expectations of student learning for understanding.  These were researched empirically to determine if it was possible to quantify student engagement using Rasch Analysis (Cavanagh and Kennish, 2009).  The refinement of the instrument from being interviewer administered to a self-report survey is described in this paper.  A sample of 553 students from two Perth metropolitan senior high schools Years 8 to 10 completed the survey and the resultant data was analysed using RUMM2020.  The relationship between learning capabilities and expectations of learning was examined by plotting the scores of each student for learning capabilities and expectations of learning. The distribution of scores shows a direct relation between the two constructs consistent with the hypothesised model of engagement.  A measurement scale of the phenomenon of engagement in classroom learning has been developed and can be used by pedagogic practitioners.  In cases where resources are being channelled into increasing student engagement or re-engaging disengaged students, the instrument will be of benefit in measuring the impact of efforts made.