Values School Outcomes

How is it defined?

Students who value schooling outcomes and meet the formal rules of schooling are considered institutionally engaged. These students feel that what they are learning at school is directly related to their long-term success, and this is reflected in their school and class attendance as well as their effort in completing homework.

The Learning Bar’s framework on student engagement includes measures of social, institutional, and intellectual engagement. Institutional engagement refers to active participation in the formal requirements for school success, such as attendance, positive homework behaviour, and valuing schooling outcomes.

Why is it important?

  • Students’ academic achievement and well-being is affected by the level to which they value schooling outcomes. Many students do not believe their experiences at school have much bearing on their future and therefore fail to be engaged in their learning (Willms, 2003).
  • Low levels of institutional engagement in some students may be attributed to a lack of intellectual engagement (Dunleavy, Willms, Milton, & Friesen, 2012).
  • Students who feel that school is useful are more likely to have higher reading scores (OECD, 2013).
  • Attitudes toward learning are linked to academic success (Linnenbrink-Garcia & Pekrun, 2011; Voelkl, 1995).

How do we measure it?

In the OurSCHOOL elementary and secondary school surveys, students respond to Likert questions regarding the extent to which they value schooling outcomes. The data is scaled on a 10-point scale, and students with a score greater than or equal to 6 (i.e., slightly higher than neutral) are considered to ‘value schooling outcomes’. The results are reported as “the percentage of students that value schooling outcomes”.


Dunleavy, J., Willms, J. D., Milton, P., & Friesen, S. (2012). The Relationship Between Student Engagement and Academic Outcomes. What did you do in School Today? Research Series Report Number One. Toronto: Canadian Education Association.

Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., & Pekrun, R. (2011). Students’ emotions and academic engagement: Introduction to the special issue. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(1), 1-3.

OECD (2013). "What Do Students Think About School?" PISA in Focus, No. 24, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI:

Voelkl, K. E. (1995). School warmth, student participation, and achievement. Journal of Experimental Education, 63(2), 127-138.

Willms, J. D. (2003). Student engagement at schools: A sense of belonging and participation. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.