How is your teen motivated to learn in school?

Boredom is a common complaint in high school—but when does it lead to serious disengagement and potential risk of dropping out? Teens are engaged in school in many different ways. The Fordham Institute’s recent report—"What Teens Want from Their Schools"—characterizes and quantifies such differences by examining what motivates high school students to do their best. How is your teen motivated to learn in school? Answer this five-question quiz to find out!

Thomas B. Fordham
On Jun 26, 2017

What is your teen’s favorite thing about high school?

Which statement below best describes your teen?

My teen is...

If given a choice, what type of high school would your teen prefer to attend?

Overall, how satisfied is your teen with his/ her current school?

Your teen is a Subject Lover

Your teen is a Subject Lover

Subject Lovers love to learn and feel engaged when they perceive school subjects as useful, interesting, and relevant to their daily life. They are more likely to report that academic classes are their favorite thing about school; tend to gravitate towards Advanced Placement (AP), math, science, and technology classes; and are least likely to report being bored in class. To improve the school experience for Subject Lovers, teachers might better draw connections between school and the real world and perhaps provide them with access to dual-enrollment courses, where they can be taught by college faculty or gain exposure to actual mathematicians or scientists. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Subject Lovers.

Your teen is an Emotional

Your teen is an Emotional

Emotionals often feel positive emotions when in the classroom, such as being excited about, proud of, and interested in their school work. While they are not always the highest academic performers, Emotionals often do not want to stop working at the end of class. They tend to prefer smaller schools with more individualized support and attention from teachers, where they can develop close relationships with their peers. One way to support Emotionals is to assign them academic tutors or mentors who provide them with more personalized levels of support. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Emotionals.

Your teen is a Hand Raiser

Your teen is a Hand Raiser

Hand Raisers are students that tend to be engaged, work hard, and participate while in class, but don’t do much outside of it. They do fairly well academically and are generally satisfied with their school, but don’t report spending a great deal of time on homework or being involved in extracurricular activities outside of their classes. One way to improve the school experience for Hand Raisers is to enroll them in schools with an extended school day or year, which provides them with increased opportunities for learning and instruction. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Hand Raisers.

Your teen is a Social Butterfly

Your teen is a Social Butterfly

Social Butterflies generally report being well served by their current high schools. These students tend to value social interactions with peers and adults at their school over academics, and say one of their favorite things about school is lunch period and breaks where they can connect with their friends. They prefer energetic and relatable teachers who facilitate group discussions and opinion sharing. Schools focused on collaborative student projects (and that build time into the school day for extracurricular activities, sports, and clubs) could benefit Social Butterflies. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Social Butterflies.

Your teen is a Teacher Responder

Your teen is a Teacher Responder

Teacher Responders prioritize and value close relationships with teachers and other adults in their schools, and thrive when they feel adults are invested in them academically and personally. They are generally happy with their current school, feel connected to their teachers, and value choice in courses and instructors. Teacher Responders might benefit from one-on-one learning time, individual check-ins with teachers, and after-school tutoring. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Teacher Responders.

Your teen is a Deep Thinker

Your teen is a Deep Thinker

Deep Thinkers are primarily cognitively engaged – they are good students who listen carefully, like to figure things out on their own, and thoughtfully complete individual assignments. They benefit from plenty of time for independent work with teacher monitoring. They are likely to benefit from schools with smaller classes and exposure to adult mentors and coaches to facilitate their learning. Thanks for playing along! Go to https://edexcellence.net/publications/what-teens-want-from-their-schools to read more about the needs of Deep Thinkers.