Various explanations and solutions have been proposed over the last decade in relation to the implications of students’ apparent lack of engagement with middle years schooling in Australia. In this article we report on responses to a questionnaire by 333 Year 8 students (aged about 13, the second year of high school) on perceptions of factors relating to their engagement with the academic curriculum. We found that while the majority of students reported a strong sense of the importance of, and opportunities in, schooling, and saw English, mathematics and science connected to those opportunities, this orientation was not matched by corresponding positive engagement with these same subjects. We also found that there was diversity in the responses of students, and recommend that schools take steps to identify individual students’ perceptions of factors influencing their engagement, and where appropriate, address those perceptions.


Peer-reviewed, self regulation, engagement, secondary schooling

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