Not just Chicago

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Poor student motivation is a key educational issue for the National
Research Council (NRC), the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences,
National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine.

Last spring, the NRC proposed a 15-year study focusing on four questions
central to school reform. Among them, “How can student engagement in the
learning process and motivation to learn be increased?”

The existing research on student motivation lacks both an agreed-on set
of principles and an understanding of how to apply them systematically
to the everyday lives of teachers and students, the NRC reports.

Meanwhile, the agency points to national surveys revealing widespread
disengagement with schooling. One conducted by Public Agenda found two-thirds
of teenagers agreeing that they could do much better in school if they
tried, and half of teens reporting that their schools fail to challenge
them to do their best.

Elizabeth Duffrin