Student Engagement Instrument (SEI)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The Student Engagement Instrument (SEI) measures cognitive and affective engagement in schools.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies; Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Grades 6-9

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration

Paper/pencil, digital

Number of items


Item format

Four-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

18-22 minutes

Available languages


Fee for use Fee charged by developer
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

No overall scores are reported.

Subscore reporting

There are six subscores:

  • Future goals and aspirations
  • Control and relevance of schoolwork
  • Extrinsic motivation
  • Family support for learning
  • Peer support for learning
  • Teacher/student relationships
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 is based on an ethnically and economically diverse urban sample of ninth graders (N=1,931).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) estimates ranged from 0.72 to 0.88 for the six scales.

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Item specification frameworks based on comprehensive review of literature from online databases.
Evidence based on response processes
A small group of students (N=31) piloted the survey and provided feedback on item clarity and relevancy.
Evidence based on internal structure
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses substantiated six distinct constructs, consistent with the six reported subscales (Appleton et al., 2006). Measurement invariance was established based on grade level and gender (Betts et al., 2010). There are systematic differences in SEI scores for students with different levels of behavioral engagement (Lovelace et al., 2014). Students with higher rates of disciplinary incidents or absences had lower SEI scores than their peers.
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Scale scores correlated positively with academic variables including GPA and math and negatively with suspensions (Appleton et al., 2006).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Appleton, James J., Sandra L. Christenson, Dongjin Kim, and Amy L. Reschly, "Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the Student Engagement Instrument," Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 44, No. 5, 2006, pp. 427–445.

Betts, J., Appleton, J.J., Reschly, A.L., Christenson, S.L., & Huebner, E.S. "A study of the reliability and construct validity of the Student Engagement Instrument across multiple grades," School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 25, 2010, pp. 84–93.

Lovelace, M., Reschly, A.L., Appleton, J.J., & Lutz, M. , "Concurrent and predictive validity of the Student Engagement Instrument," Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, Vol. 32, DOI: 10.1177/0734282914527548, 2014, pp. 509–520.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.