Engagement is one of the hottest research topics in the field of educational psychology. Research shows that multifarious benefits occur when students are engaged in their own learning, including increased motivation and achievement. However, there is little agreement on a concrete definition and effective measurement of engagement. This special issue serves to discuss and work toward addressing conceptual and instrumentation issues related to engagement, with particular interest in engagement in the domain of science learning. We start by describing the dimensional perspective of engagement (behavioral, cognitive, emotional, agentic) and suggest a complementary approach that places engagement instrumentation on a continuum. Specifically, we recommend that instrumentation be considered on a “grain-size” continuum that ranges from a person-centered to a context- centered orientation to clarify measurement issues. We then provide a synopsis of the articles included in this special issue and conclude with suggestions for future research.

Controversial issues have been established within the larger framework of civic education as an effective pedagogical approach to developing critical thinking in the classroom, preparing students with intellectual habits necessary for participation in scholarship, civic life and democracy. In this study, we found that a pedagogical intervention, Teaching for Transformative Experience in History, in some cases led to significantly higher engagement with political concepts beyond the classroom, and in other cases, the intervention led to significantly improved conceptual change. The study addresses some of the challenges presented by the research on civic education, providing a potential framework for developing pedagogical practice in history and social studies education that grounds a participatory, meaning-making process in curriculum design and assessment framed by controversial issues.

The Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science (TTES) model was designed to facilitate the application of academic learning in students’ everyday experiences. In the current study, we describe a 2-year design- based intervention that aimed to further develop and evaluate the TTES model. In the first year, a teacher implemented the TTES model in two of his four classes. The findings indicated enhanced engagement and learning, but primarily among students with higher prior engagement and learning. Insights led to revision of the TTES model. In the second year, the revised TTES model was implemented in all the teacher’s classes, with another teacher’s classes used for comparison. Intervention students demonstrated significantly greater learning and reported significantly higher levels of transformative experience than the comparison students.

Achievement Emotions Questionnaire--Teachers (AEQ-T) measures teachers' anger, anxiety, and enjoyment related to instruction. The purpose of this research is to revise and validate AEQ-T to include pride and frustration. Also, this study aimed to replicate previous research on anger, anxiety, and enjoyment and validate this expanded measure in an Asian context. The revised AEQ-T was tested using Exploratory Factor Analysis for 150 Japanese teachers, and then cross-validated with 208 Korean teachers using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. Results showed that four emotions of anger, anxiety, enjoyment, and pride had acceptable levels of internal consistency and clear factor structure. However, frustration items had low reliability and cross-loaded with anger factor. This study provides empirical evidences to include pride to measure teachers' emotions, and suggests the need to develop a more refined understanding and distinction between anger and frustration.


In an investigation with 133 undergraduate students, we measured affective, cognitive, behavioral engagement, and self-regulation with a pre-survey, a post-survey, and in the moment of studying using experience-sampling methodology (ESM). We compared within these self-report techniques and also between self-reports and objective measures afforded by ESM. We found similar patterns that differed in detail. Furthermore, the ESM surveys allowed for a more fine-grained exploration of engagement related to studying behavior. Importantly, we compared fixed sampling and event-based sampling and found that the latter significantly improved sampling accuracy. Finally, we posit that a new and useful way to assess student self-regulation is the relationship between when students predict that they will study and when students report actual studying in the moment using ESM, which we call implementation rate. We were able to capture and examine all three dimensions of engagement (behavioral, cognitive and affective engagement) and self-regulation in authentic settings and in the same study, allowing us to examine the relationships among these variables exactly when learning occurs, which has several theoretical and practical implications.