Survey reveals how teachers engaged with students in 2022, offers insights for 2023

GoGuardian and USC Rossier School of Education Center EDGE partnered on the 2022-2023 State of Engagement Report

GoGuardian and USC Rossier School of Education Center EDGE are proud to announce the release of the 2022-2023 State of Engagement Report — an in-depth look at the factors influencing student engagement in K-12 classrooms. As educators know, students learn best when they’re engaged and motivated to learn. But what engagement methods are most effective in capturing the attention of learners? GoGuardian and researchers at USC Rossier School of Education went to the source and asked more than 1,400 teachers from all across the U.S. — their responses will likely both validate preconceived notions, and really surprise you.

Our 2022 Research Focus

The State of Engagement research is a part of our ongoing commitment to help integrate the best of learning science into the classroom. In 2021, GoGuardian’s survey of teachers reported that the foundation of effective learning experiences is building meaningful teacher-student relationships and bringing students in at every step of the learning process. To build on this insight, our 2022-2023 study aimed to discover:

In partnership with Dr. Erika Patall, her team at USC Rossier School of Education, and GoGuardian, we designed a new survey to address these aims and conducted a comprehensive review of student engagement literature and its theoretical underpinnings in the education psychology space.

Key Takeaways

From our survey of 1,449 current K-12 educators across the United States, we found the three most used engagement practices are:

A ninth grade teacher shared, “…students live up or down to what is expected of them,” adding “by communicating that I hold them responsible for giving their best effort and that I will help them, they learn that they can be successful and do much more than they thought they could.”

Other Factors Influencing Engagement

To give educators and administrators a further look at these trends, researchers also analyzed the data by subject matter, instructor experience, student population, and other factors to understand how and when engagement-supportive practices — and engagement-thwarting practices — were used.

They found:

Why do teachers use these strategies more or less often — and what are the other factors that come into play in these scenarios? This is what researchers dive into in this year’s State of Engagement report.

Looking Ahead

When asked about predicted engagement in 2023, teachers in this year’s survey say they believe upholding high expectations will be the most important strategy for classrooms next year.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we’re at a historic inflection point for education, where vital research like this is crucial for informing (best) teaching practices and learning outcomes,” said Alan Arkatov, the Founding Director of Center EDGE and the Katzman/Ernst Chair in Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation at the USC Rossier School of Education. 

“We know teachers give their all to help every student comprehend and retain the knowledge vital to their success — and we also know that teachers routinely

report student engagement is an ongoing concern that has only increased in the wake of  the pandemic. That’s why the State of Engagement was created; our hope is this information helps educators meaningfully engage every student, every day,” said Mariana Aguilar, Vice President of Education at GoGuardian.

Center EDGE and GoGuardian partnered on this edition of the State of Engagement to bring together the best insights from academia and industry. They will continue to work with educators and education leaders over the next year to help them understand and implement findings for the survey.

“At a moment when many teachers are struggling with burn out, this report offers educators a way to reflect on their practice and think about how they might connect with students in new ways,” said USC Rossier Dean Pedro Noguera. “At USC Rossier, faculty experts like Dr. Patall are committed to developing actionable research like this that will help narrow the educational equity gaps that have grown during the pandemic.”

To build on the data in this report, Center EDGE is creating a resource depository where teachers like you can share examples and reflections of effective engagement practices to learn from one another. To share your best engagement strategies, click here.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, LA’s Philanthropic Leadership, and the State of Education

On March 9th, USC Center EDGE hosted a small in-person convening with Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, distinguished education experts, and over 50 guests from the education-focused philanthropic community. 

This important program aimed to harness the individual and collective capacity needed to reimagine and improve PK-12 education throughout the Los Angeles region.

Education Experts and Guests Included:


The GoGuardian Research and Insights Team State of Engagement Report for 2021-2022

In the midst of a pandemic and ongoing fluctuations in K-12 learning environments, understanding what drives student engagement is more critical than ever. We hope this report gives you insight into how teachers perceive engagement in their classrooms — and how certain instructional practices might improve teacher-student relationships and engagement in the future.

After conducting a survey of thousands of educators from all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, we’ve found that teachers value learning experiences that address the whole child creatively, cognitively, and emotionally.

Furthermore, and perhaps even more importantly, teachers believe that the foundation for effective learning experiences is a strong and meaningful relationship with their students. Once that relationship is formed, engagement becomes much more achievable.

This report synthesizes the perspective of teachers overall, by grade level and by subject taught, and explains how teachers might implement these findings in the classroom.

GoGuardian and USC Partner to Deliver Insights and Best Practices for Student Engagement and Educational Equity

“Understanding how to best engage students with innovative and high-quality teaching practices and resources is now more critical than ever given today’s rapidly changing socio-educational landscape. This is core to the work of Center EDGE, and we’re excited to be partnering with GoGuardian to advance this critical knowledge base.”

Alan Arkatov, Founding Director, Center EDGE

LOS ANGELES – May 17, 2022 – GoGuardian, the leading education technology company helping create more effective and safer learning environments, today announced a partnership with the USC Rossier School of Education’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education (Center EDGE) to co-develop research, insights, and best practices for K-12 student engagement and educational equity. Through this partnership, GoGuardian and Center EDGE will collaborate on the annual State of Engagement Report, and continue to expand the Innovation Incubator by convening an advisory group of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) experts to help shape the future of learning.

“The partnership between GoGuardian and USC Rossier School of Education’s Center EDGE helps us both scale our missions to support all learners while also contributing to the greater knowledge and understanding of educational research,” said Advait Shinde, CEO, GoGuardian. “Our organizations are equally committed to expanding the collective understanding of what instructional strategies work in the classroom, and how we can best approach the challenges teachers and students face today, tomorrow, and long into the future.

Now in its fourth year, GoGuardian’s annual State of Engagement report offers insights into teachers’ perceptions of student engagement in their classrooms and how certain instructional practices might improve engagement. The 2022-23 State of Engagement report will be co-authored by GoGuardian and USC Rossier researchers, drawing on the deep areas of expertise at both organizations to better understand how student engagement is being supported in classrooms. This year’s report aims to highlight the engagement-relevant instructional practices teachers use most and least often in the classroom and elucidate the instructional practices teachers find most important.

In addition to the State of Engagement Report, GoGuardian and Center EDGE will expand the Innovation Incubator, a program designed to promote collaboration with key stakeholders across the education community to support the development of educational technologies that are responsive to real-world challenges. The program facilitates opportunities to provide meaningful input from students, teachers, school administrators, university researchers and technology providers in the product development process through interactive workshops, focus groups, interviews, surveys, classroom observations, and user testing. The partnership with Center EDGE will allow GoGuardian to further expand the program to include additional stakeholders in this important work, including alumni educators and current graduate students from USC Rossier School of Education. There are currently over 50 educators from across the country, representing all grade levels K-12, participating in the Innovation Incubator.

“We’re at a crucial inflection point in the history of K-12 education,” said Alan Arkatov, the USC Katzman/Ernst Chair in Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation and the Founding Director of Center EDGE. “Understanding how to best engage students with innovative and high-quality teaching practices and resources is now more critical than ever given today’s rapidly changing socio-educational landscape. This is core to the work of Center EDGE, and we’re excited to be partnering with GoGuardian to advance this critical knowledge base.”

With products serving more than 24 million students — nearly one out of two K-12 students in the United States — GoGuardian holds a fundamental belief in the importance of educational equity and DEI principles that support all learners. With this shared commitment to all students, GoGuardian and Center EDGE are establishing an advisory group of experts to provide insights into best practices for DEI in GoGuardian products. The advisory group will convene later in 2022.

About GoGuardian
GoGuardian provides simple, proven solutions to help create effective, engaging, and safe learning environments. Our award-winning system of learning tools is purpose-built for K-12 and trusted by school leaders to promote effective teaching and equitable engagement, while empowering educators to help keep students safe. Learn more at goguardian.com.

Jeff Gordon
Director, PR and Communications, GoGuardian

About USC Center EDGE

Based at the USC Rossier School of Education, Center EDGE fuels interdisciplinary partnerships to bring relevant, sustainable innovation to scale in the crucial area of educational engagement — research-based activities and techniques used to improve teaching and learning outcomes, with a focus on underserved communities.

USC Center EDGE Convenes Frances Haugen and the USC Community on the Urgent Issue of Accountability & Transparency in Social Media

In partnership with USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC Center EDGE convened a focused discussion with Frances Haugen and close to fifty faculty and students representing nine schools from across USC to discuss accountability and transparency measures in social media. The goals of the program were to:

The discussion was framed by Frances in the context of her professional experience and current advocacy work, including her vision for change in social media. Faculty and students then engaged in a discussion of Frances’ vision, how we have the collective power to drive change and how we can inform that change toward the social media environment we want and need, rather than the one we currently have. Plans to develop a USC program to address outcomes of the convening is in development. If you are interested in becoming involved,

Contact: crwiedem@rossier.usc.edu.

Crowdsourcing Innovative Solutions to Improve Schools via The Education (Re)Open

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the education ecosystem has struggled like never before.  Innovations—old and new—are essential in renewing, reimagining, and rebuilding the ecosystem in timely and equitable ways.

After a year which has radically shifted teaching and learning and left educators and families on the front lines of supporting children educationally, socially and emotionally, we have seen the ingenuity of school communities not only persist, but flourish. On March 23rd, USC Center EDGE, together with IDEO, the Andrew Nikou Foundation, and a series of other partners launched The Education (Re)Open (now known as Education Solutions Exchange) to highlight and scale this innovation.

The (Re)Open is an open call for solutions to strengthen school communities as sites welcome students and staff back—and beyond.

Specifically, it seeks responses to a crucial and timely question: How might we bolster school communities by highlighting solutions that reconnect people and enhance collective wellbeing, teaching, and learning?

Crowdsourcing Reveals Insights About Communities

To effectively strengthen a school community, it’s essential to understand your audience.

Los Angeles is home to the nation’s second-largest school district, and its diverse cross-section of families have been affected by the pandemic in vastly different ways. We wanted to better grasp the challenges, needs and hopes of various communities across the region and elsewhere, so we hosted a series of listening circles, where we heard from students, parents, teachers, and administrators about what this last year has meant to them.

The process has underscored an important point: Inclusion opens the door to creative solutions. It empowers a variety of stakeholders in education who are affected by the decisions of school leaders, but may be excluded from the decision-making process.

Additionally, as a school of education located in the heart of a sprawling urban school district, we felt a responsibility to contribute.

USC Rossier’s internal community of faculty, staff, alumni and students has a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and areas of interest. By inviting them all to participate, we can access a greater range of ideas. Crowdsourcing is not a new concept, but it is rarely, if ever, applied to educational policy. We believe it has great potential.

At a moment when schools are making decisions that will impact districts for years to come, we are eager to elevate and spotlight the expertise and experience of educators, students and families from the most underserved communities.

Overcoming the Challenges of Implementation

For all of crowdsourcing’s potential benefits, it also poses a number of challenges, such as how do you identify submitted solutions that are both effective and appropriate for the community at large?

When strategizing this phase of our initiative, we created the Solutions Exchange. At the end of the school year in June, crowdsourced solutions will be featured in a searchable repository for use and scaling, and starting in August will be implemented inside and outside of Los Angeles.

All solutions featured in the Solutions Exchange will receive a share of funding (we’re planning to give up to 100, one-thousand-dollar awards) and selected submitters will receive professional coaching and technology support.

Ultimately, The Education (Re)Open is a chance to crowdsource innovative solutions and reconnect school communities by those that know it best–educators, parents and students–in this moment and beyond.

Join The Education (Re)Open, and show us your solutions

Calling everyone with a stake in K-12 education as school sites navigate the pandemic and reopen in-person! Join The Education (Re)Open, and show us your solution to the question: 

How might we strengthen school communities, as sites reopen, by highlighting solutions that reconnect people and enhance collective wellbeing, teaching, and learning? 

As we socially distanced to keep each other safe, other gaps grew — in learning losses, inequities, between communities and individuals. Isolation and overwhelm became familiar states for too many. Yet, the ingenuity of school communities not only persisted — but flourished.

Help us spotlight, share, and scale this ingenuity! IDEO, in partnership with USC Center EDGE and Andrew Nikou Foundation, is launching a five-week sprint. While we’re especially interested in solutions for the Los Angeles area — a region rich in diversity and imagination, but also severely impacted by COVID-19 — we’re also focused on ones with nationwide impact.

Have you discovered something that helps everyone be more connected or empowered, despite social distancing or remote learning? Do you have a brilliant idea for helping people feel better, learn better, or teach better? Could your solution help all types of learners, in all zip codes? Have you made exciting partnerships across sectors that inspire revolutionary approaches?

Selected solutions will be featured in a searchable repository, the Solution Exchange, for global sharing, and may be implemented as early as August across Los Angeles and beyond. In addition, select submissions receive a share of funding, professional learning, and technology support through TED Masterclass. All education professional participants receive a 3-month Heartbeat subscription. The Education (Re)Open is a chance to reconnect school communities for the better — in this moment and beyond. 

The Open Call for solutions launches March 23rd! Share your solution here before April 23rd. Sign up here for updates.

USC Center EDGE Announces Awardees of the Education Solutions Exchange

LOS ANGELES – The USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education (Center EDGE), Andrew Nikou Foundation, and IDEO announced 56 selections, as part of a first-of-its-kind initiative to crowdsource solutions from educators, parents, and students to help schools navigate the many challenges they face returning this fall. These solutions, which came from across the world, will be featured on the Education Solutions Exchange — a public repository of ongoing, high-quality, achievable, and scalable ideas that can be implemented for free in schools as early as fall 2021.

Amidst the pandemic, entire education ecosystems have been upended locally, regionally, and globally. Fundamental defects and structural issues have been exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19, whether it be on teaching and learning, equity, or social-emotional fronts.

“From the digital divide to the massive learning losses due to the pandemic, the education system is being confronted with a host of challenges on a scale not seen in modern history,” said Alan Arkatov, founding director of Center EDGE. “The Education Solutions Exchange is an exciting outgrowth of what we learned early in the pandemic — that creative, relevant, and relatively simple solutions can bring a quantifiable voice to those on the frontlines of education, and can have impact in timely, effective, and efficient ways.”

In response to the historic challenges facing students, Center EDGE and its partners formed The Education (Re)Open this spring, an online challenge to prioritize the voices of key stakeholders, and solicit ideas from students, teachers, parents, and leaders from the public, independent and parochial school sectors, along with experts from across the globe. The Education (Re)Open not only solicited new ideas, but the submission of ideas that were working in classrooms, schools, or homes that could be effectively scaled across broader education ecosystems.

Through these partnerships and IDEO’s human centered design platform for The Education (Re)Open, the need for what started as a unique crowdsourcing opportunity for time-sensitive solutions has created a demand for a new type of education clearinghouse — the Education Solutions Exchange — that can provide high quality and implementable recommendations in simple and accessible ways.

The Education (Re)Open received hundreds of submissions from 42 states in the U.S. and 34 countries. After a vigorous two-month submission, vetting, coaching, refinement and judging process (more information can be found here), 56 solutions were identified to be part of the Education Solutions Exchange. Innovators whose solutions are featured on the site each received $1,000 for their participation and dedication to strengthening school communities.

Winning entries, chosen in part for their simplicity and ability to immediately impact students’ needs, include:

Mental Health Check In: A simple, low-cost, easily implementable system for students to communicate their emotional wellbeing and give teachers insight into how the class is feeling overall, and in particular to students who may need extra support.

The 3 M’s: Media, Middle School, Mindfulness: A curriculum that teaches students to become more discerning with information seen on the internet, and to determine if it’s coming from a trustworthy source, which is especially critical in light of the disinformation surrounding the pandemic and vaccines.

Core Values in the Community: A program designed to reward students who demonstrate the values of Gratitude, Responsibility, Integrity, and Tenacity, and are given “GRITcoin” that can later be spent on things like raffles and pop-up shops at their schools. The program recognizes that students are anxious about returning to school, and yet they can be inspired to turn those feelings into something positive.

A Trusted Space: a free, cutting-edge, research-based film and curriculum for educators on how to help mitigate the effects of the grief, trauma, anxiety, and other emotional stressors that so many students are facing.

“The L.A. County Office of Education and the Greater L.A. Education Foundation are excited about crowdsourcing innovative solutions from those that know education best — our educators, parents, and students,” said Dr. Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools. “We’re looking forward to working with our 80 superintendents and other district leaders throughout the country to give a real voice to our stakeholders, by curating and implementing selections from the Solutions Exchange that can improve teaching and learning outcomes.”

Lead funding and strategic support was provided by the Andrew Nikou Foundation with additional support provided by Great Public Schools Now, Joseph Drown Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Annenberg Learner, the Johnny Carson Foundation, Shmoop, Eva Stern, the Khayami Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

To see all 56 selected solutions and learn more about the mission and future of this project, visit www.EducationSolutions.net.

About Andrew Nikou Foundation

Driven by core values of connection, collaboration, and scale, the Andrew Nikou Foundation serves as a resource for big ideas that can improve the lives of people who are disconnected, oppressed, and left-behind. A network of partnerships with diverse experts inform ANF’s approach to social inclusion, education innovation and financial inclusion.

About IDEO

IDEO is a global design firm creating positive impact through design. We are a community of designers, entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, and researchers. Early leaders of human-centered design, we design for people first, always adapting to complex challenges. We build to learn, and learn as we build—through inspiration, ideation, and implementation.

The Internet, Pandemic, Education and Society

On March 2, 2021, Dean Noguera and Alan Arkatov spoke with Jeff Cole, Director of the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, about his startling research findings with COVID-19 impacts to life, and especially impacts to education and communications. 

A Trusted Space

The non-profit organization All It Takes, founded by Lori Woodley and Shailene Woodley, partnered with educators from USC Rossier School of Education, PBS, and several other organizations to produce the docu-training video titled A Trusted SpaceClick here to access the film.

The docu-training film includes experts in trauma-informed education weighing in to address the overwhelming anxiety and fear many have about being in school, whatever the setting. By learning about and understanding the complex issues and feelings that they and their students are coping with, teachers will be able to help redirect grief into growth by building a safe and trusted emotional space. This will ultimately create a better environment for learning and more resilient students.

All It Takes, producers of the docu-training, also created a trailer to preview. www.allittakes.org

With PBS, support materials for teachers are made available here. For a preview of the trailer, please scroll down further. USC Rossier also hosted a panel discussion on the docu-training.

A panel of experts discusses the docu-training video A Trusted Space about the state of social-emotional learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access and download A Trusted Space’s 2021 report here: