Confronting the Challenges of Student Engagement: A Case Study of a School-Based Intervention


Publication Date: March 2007

Publisher: Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Hilary J. Rhodes

Research Area: Education

Type: Report


While policymakers can insist that every child attends school, they cannot legislate the positive attitude, motivation, and behaviors that are integral to students’ learning. This dissertation follows the Valued Youth Program, a cross-age tutoring program, from its conception through its adoption in the Santa Monica-Malibu School District, which is facing marked achievement differentials across ethnic groups. The author evaluates the program’s effectiveness in influencing intermediate student engagement outcomes, including attendance, school attitudes, disciplinary issues, and achievement (e.g., grades, standardized test scores) over the course of one year. Each step of the implementation is examined with a critical eye to how the process and the actors, both internal and external to the school system, facilitate or impede the program’s final form and its ability to affect student engagement. The analysis concludes with lessons learned that provide guidance for educators and community members to implement and sustain student engagement