School Engagement Scale (SES)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The School Engagement Scale (SES) measures behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects of school engagement and was designed to be used with elementary school students.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies; Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Elementary school

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

Approximately 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
  • Emotional
  • 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 was collected from elementary school students from Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit, and sampled in two waves. Wave 1 (N=661) consisted of children in 55 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms. Wave 2 consisted of students in Chicago and Milwaukee (N=294).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) estimates ranged from 0.72 to 0.86. Reliabilities were similar for male and female students (Fredericks et al., 2005).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Several items were drawn from existing measures (Wellborn & Connell, 1987; Finn et al., 1995; Pintrich, Smith, Garcia, & McKeachie, 1993).
Evidence based on response processes
Items were pilot tested to ensure they were clear and comprehensible (Fredericks et al., 2005).
Evidence based on internal structure
Exploratory factor analysis was used to find support for the three distinct subscales. There were gender differences in engagement (female students reported significantly higher engagement than male students) and also age differences (engagement decreased from 3rd to 5th grade) (Fredericks et al., 2005).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Engagement was positively related to perceived teacher support and perceived peer support. Engagement was also correlated with work orientation, task challenge, and teacher reports of behavior (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, Springer Science and Business Media, 2005.

"Manual for the Rochester Assessment Package for schools," Vol. Wellborn, J. G., & Connell, J. P. University of Rochester, 1987.

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., F., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. "Reliability and predictive validity of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)," Educational and Psychological Measurement, Vol. 53, 1993, pp. 801–813.

Finn, J. D., Pannozzo, G .M., & Voelkl, K. E. "Disruptive and inattentive-withdrawn behavior and achievement among fourth graders," Elementary School Journal, Vol. 95, 1995, pp. 421–454.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.