The methodology used in LearningFREQUENCY’s engagement survey is based on the Seventh Level framework. The framework, adapted by renowned educators, Bangert-Drowns and Pyke, and originally developed by Amanda Slavin, has a proven track record enhancing and evaluating engagement.
In collaboration with the Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy (CBEA) in Aurora, CO, we conducted extensive research to measure and understand engagement in the classroom with The Seven Level Engagement Framework.
LearningFREQUENCY sought to better understand the role of engagement in Elementary/Primary education, specifically:
1. How (or if) it’s measured and monitored
2. How to better equip both teachers and students with the tools and awareness needed to increase engagement.
We hypothesized that measuring engagement as a metric of success, rather than solely measuring learning outcomes, can transform the process of learning. Changing the way we measure success in learning will allow educators to utilize this understanding to further invest in programs that help students to be good learners and not just good students. This path has the potential to take us beyond outdated standardized tests as the only benchmark for how we measure what is working. From these insights, we developed the FREQUENCY-BOT questionnaire in collaboration with the teachers and students as a tool to understand and increase learning engagement.

Our Research Approach

Understanding and enhancing student engagement is a top priority in education, yet it remains a complex and multifaceted challenge. "It’s become even more obvious to me that we’re not getting anywhere unless the kids are engaged. It doesn’t matter what the subject is or even if they’re on recess, if they’re not engaged it’s all a complete waste." - Teacher
Our investigation into engagement in the classroom leveraged a multi-pronged research approach working with 108 students in grades 1-3 over the course of the 2022-2023 school year.

Quantitative Data Colletion

  • Momentary time sampling of student behaviors over the course of a semester
  • Conducting weekly online surveys of students throughout the school year
  • Nearly 12.5 hours of classroom video used for time sampling
  • 886 total survey responses (3 questions per week)
  • Weekly surveys for 23 weeks

Qualitative Data Collection

  • In depth one-on-one interviews with teachers and students alike to gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing engagement
  • 11 teacher interviews
  • 6 student interviews

Key Insights

We began by leading workshops to train educators on the engagement framework before conducting research in their classrooms. This initiative contributed to their professional growth and enabled them to apply the framework in their teaching practices. Our strategy session also included a brainstorm with the teachers to uncover behaviors associated with each of the seven levels of engagement. We then conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with both teachers and students, captured hours of classroom video footage to track student behaviors and conducted weekly surveys with the students.
Student Advocacy
Understanding Learning in Different Contexts
Measuring Engagement in the Classroom

Student Advocacy

As the school year progressed, students demonstrated increased self-awareness of their engagement levels and learning preferences. Teachers shared that students have become more proactive in advocating for their own learning preferences, such as requesting to work in specific settings that suit their needs. Teachers spoke of seeing a transformation in students' perceptions of engagement in the classroom, shifting from mere compliance to deeper cognitive understanding by the end of the research program.

5 Key Findings on the
Power of Personalized Learning

There is no singular definition of engagement in the classroom.
As teachers identified in their one-on-one interviews, it can occasionally be counterintuitive to differentiate between engaged and disengaged students. On the surface, a student can be fidgety and moving around a lot but still be engaged in the lesson or task at hand. On the flip side, a student can be sitting quietly and appear to be paying attention while actually disengaged and zoned out. This is why it’s critical to mix measurement methods when assessing engagement.
In the first interviews, the teachers mentioned that engagement did not play an obvious role in measuring student success. However, by the second round of interviews, there was consensus among teachers emphasizing the significance of engagement and its impact on student achievement. In the earlier interviews, the teachers mentioned focusing on engagement as an external marker, such as sitting still and paying attention. However, in the follow-up interviews at the end of the school year, the teachers expanded their definitions to include active participation, understanding the purpose of the lessons, self-accountability, ownership of work and excitement in learning as indicators of engagement.
Engagement became a must-have metric of success in the classroom for teachers.
Recognizing the importance of personalized learning experiences
Teachers and students alike need tools for implementing personalized approaches
Self-awareness and self-advocacy increases student engagement

Want to learn more?