School Engagement Measure-MacArthur (SEM)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The School Engagement Measure-MacArthur (SEM) is designed to appraise school engagement in elementary school students.

Main constructs measured

Cognitive competencies; Intrapersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels


Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Five-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

30 minutes

Available languages

English, Spanish

Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

No overall scores are reported.

Subscore reporting

There are three subscores:

  • Behavioral engagement
  • Emotional engagement
  • Cognitive engagement
Scoring procedures

The measure is self-scored.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Evidence has been collected from urban, low-income, primarily minority students in grades 3-5 (N=641) (Fredericks et al., 2005).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) estimates ranged from 0.55 to 0.86 for the three subscales (Fredericks et al., 2005).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on response processes
No information is available in the references reviewed (Fredericks et al., 2005).
Evidence based on internal structure
Factor analysis was used to confirm three distinct subscales. Consistent with theory, there were score differences across grade levels (Fredericks et al., 2005).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Scores correlated with students perceptions of school attachment and school value, as well as with interview-based data of engagement (Fredericks et al., 2005).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Fredericks, J.A., Blumenfeld, P., Friedel, J., & Paris, A. "School Engagement ," What do children need to flourish?: Conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development by K.A. Moore & L. Lippman (Eds.), New York, NY: Springer Science and Business Media, 2005.


The SEM was developed for a study for the MacArthur Research Network on Successful Pathways Through Middle Childhood.

Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.