Date of Award

Summer 2016

Degree Type

Certificate of Advanced Study


Educational Leadership


Michael K. Barbour


The purpose of this study was to assess and outline major factors influencing student engagement in the middle school context. In order to contribute to the existing body of research and to benefit students by outlining the particular aspects of learning experience that are related to engagement, a case study has been carried out, which sought to analyze the students’ schooling experience as a source of valuable data. Qualitative methods of data collection were applied during the study. The survey, focus-group interview, and observations allowed classifying the factors influencing the levels of engagement among the study participants into five major clusters: 1) communication, collaboration, active involvement into learning activities, and enriching educational experiences; 2) interactions between students and teachers; 3) levels of academic challenge; 4) supporting classroom environment; and 5) supporting family environment. These clusters unite factors that were found to produce the greatest influence on students’ eagerness to participate in in-class activities and on students’ perception of the importance of education, as well as desire to succeed academically.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the coursework required for the post-masters' Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Educational Leadership.



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